Blenheim Palace

This summer, journey along the Great West Way between Bristol and London to embrace the extraordinary, unique and unexpected. Your tour could include iconic sites like Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Clifton Suspension Bridge, or it could take you on a meandering journey from hidden gem to hidden gem. Travel the route over a few days, or take it slow and spend a week or more exploring the highways and byways of the Great West Way. There are ancient forests, tiny tearooms, working windmills, award-winning theatres, Michelin-starred restaurants and more to be discovered. Ready to wave goodbye to the everyday and come with us on a Great West Way adventure?

If you begin your Great West Way journey at the Bristol end of the route, there's plenty to see within the city itself to help you kickstart your escape from the everyday. Explore the streets of this vibrant city to enjoy colourful street art, views over the harbour and all sorts of enticing places to eat and drink. A bracing boat trip in the harbour or a visit to the historic engineering marvel that is Clifton Suspension Bridge will soon blow away those cobwebs!

Next, head out of the city towards Bath – it’s a short journey by train or you could even cycle or walk the 12-or-so miles if you're feeling fit. In Bath, the grand Georgian buildings remind you at every turn that this is the city Jane Austen once called home. Go for afternoon tea, indulge in a spot of shopping or delve into the city's culture at the Holburne Museum or the American Museum. You may want to wait until the evening to visit the city's most famous attractions - the incredibly preserved Roman Baths - as they are open late every day this summer for magical torchlit evening sessions. Discover 2,000 years of stories as daylight fades and flickering torches are lit; there's even a pop-up Prosecco Bar to make the occasion even more special. If you're staying overnight in Bath on your Great West Way journey, head to the handsome Roseate Villa Bath for a night of luxury accommodation. This boutique hotel is conveniently located in the centre of Bath, just around the corner from the iconic Pulteney Bridge.

The Roman Baths in the evening

Continue your journey along the Great West Way by delving into the countryside East of Bath. Here you will find the rolling green hills and shade-dappled canal towpaths of Wiltshire. There are pretty English villages and market towns to explore, including Corsham on the edge of the Cotswolds. Corsham offers everything you would expect from a traditional English town... and more! As well as charming streets, historic buildings, beautiful green spaces, friendly pubs, and independent shops you will also find an arts centre bustling with culture as well as a touch of the exotic; proud peacocks wandering the streets.

After leaving Corsham, head to Swindon for a visit to McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Swindon. Here you will find one of the largest covered designer outlets in Europe housed in the beautifully renovated Grade II listed buildings of the Great Western Railway Works. Escape the Everyday as you enjoy savings on premium fashion, lifestyle and children's brands, before stopping for a bite to eat at one of the many onsite restaurants. To keep the children busy, this summer there is a Animal Trail to follow around the centre, teaching youngsters about the importance of animal conservation. 

Continuing East along the Great West Way route towards London, you'll pass through classic English countryside and picturesque villages before coming across another slice of quintessential England at Alder Ridge Vineyard between Hungerford and Marlborough. The vineyard's Southerly facing land nestled into the chalky slopes of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty makes it both a picture-perfect spot to visit on your Great West Way tour and the ideal location to grow Sparkling Wine. Make sure you leave time to stop for a tour and a taste.

Next up on your quest to escape the everyday is Reading, an unexpected and surprising destination on the Great West Way. Explore the river by kayak or SUP, view the only full-size replica of the Bayeux Tapestry, enjoy incredible shopping opportunities or relax with a swim and a spa session at the recently restored Thames Lido. Plus, visit in summer 2021 to take part in the town's celebrations of the Abbey's 900th anniversary. Stay overnight at the Roseate Reading, a luxury townhouse with individually designed suites you might never want to leave.

The pool at the Lido under a bright blue sky

After vising Reading, take a short detour from the main Great West Way route to visit an English icon; Blenheim Palace. This UNESCO World Heritage site was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill and today is the home of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. You can be sure of a warm welcome. Stroll through 2,000 acres of parkland, admire some of the finest views in England, and enjoy a picnic in the grounds. Tour the palace to find out more about the lives of the family and staff who have lived at Blenheim over the years.

Returning to the main Great West Way route will take you back to the scenic banks of the Thames as it passes through grand Windsor and on into London. The Thames flows serenely past landmarks like Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace until it reaches the capital, which marks the end of your Great West Way journey. Stay overnight at Roseate House, just a short walk from Hyde Park. You can expect stunning interiors, the best afternoon tea around, and service that raises a smile. The perfect way to end a perfect Great West Way holiday.

Table laid with afternoon tea

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