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Take the Great West Way this Summer


Stretching 125 miles from London and Bristol, the Great West Way, is a touring route devised to enable travellers to visit some of Britain’s great iconic sites and many lesser-known ones.

The Great West Way is based on the Great West Road (latterly the A4), the building of which was originally commissioned by Charles 1. This “multi-modal route” can be explored by road, rail, bicycle, foot, narrow boat and even horseback – if galloping across the Marlborough Downs is your cup of tea.

From Stonehenge to Freddie Mercury
Stonehene is not the only rock in Wiltshire - The Avenue, Avebury by Chris Lock
Stonehenge is not the only rock in Wiltshire – The Avenue, Avebury by Chris Lock

Travellers can marvel at Stonehenge, paddle-board through Bath and take a narrow boat down the Kennet and Avon Canal. They can visit the boyhood home of the late Queen singer Freddie Mercury in Feltham, dine at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck restaurant in Bray and swim in the infamous Cliveden swimming pool, the backdrop to the Profumo Affair. Alternatively, mountain-bike through ancient woodland in Swinley Forest, poke about Windsor Castle or go orchard spotting in Hartslock Nature reserve.

There are hundreds of things to do and the Great West Way website is the place to see what’s on offer. To get a more detailed breakdown of what’s available, Rough Guides has partnered with Visit Wiltshire to launch a new book The Rough Guide To The Great West Way. This also has plenty of honest, first-hand recommendations from travel experts.

Great West Way Discoverer Ticket

West Wood bluebells
West Wood bluebells by Anna Stowe

If you would rather adventure car-free, there are Great West Way Discoverer travel passes available for bus and rail. The first ticket provides three or seven-day trips on train routes including Bristol to Bath, Swindon to Paddington, Westbury to Waterloo, the TransWilts line and a network of around 250 bus routes.

The other options might be more suited to domestic travellers. Three passes – East, West and Global – give an opportunity to explore an area in one-day instalments over the duration of a week. Tickets prices start from £24 for a one-day pass, up to £239 for a seven-day pass and there are discounts available too.

While you are in the area, why not stay at Whatley Manor – a Gourmet’s Delight.

Further information on The Great West Way and Wiltshire.

Click here for more ideas of what to do. For ideas of what to do in the area, visit the Visit Wiltshire tourist information website. All photos provided by Great West Way. Cover photo of the Roman Baths at Bath, credit VisitBath.

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Rob Spellman

Robert Spellman

A former Fleet Street music journalist, Robert’s love of jazz spurs him around the globe in search of it and any related or indigenous sounds. More likely to be scribbling about Herbie Hancock in the southern Med than held aloft at a Taylor Swift gig – although you never know. His stories can also be found in France Today and Reach titles such as the Daily Mirror. London based, Robert is a subeditor at News UK and the Guardian.

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