You’ll be spoiled for sustainable choice on the Great West Way between west London and Bristol, where the oh-so-English countryside with its gently rolling hills beckons outdoor adventurers this summer.
Far from being just an A–B route between two great cities, the Great West Way is blessed with a myriad of meanders (500 miles of them in fact), many of them car-free. Choose from long-distance walking and cycle trails, the Kennet & Avon Canal (fondly known as the K&A), the Great Western Railway and the River Thames – plus there’s always the main A4 road. Eco-friendly explorations will lead you through, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Berkshire, as well as on short forays into south Oxfordshire. There’s an extraordinary variety of experiences along the route: you can visit ancient woodlands and thriving market towns, admire historic houses and gardens, sup locally brewed ale and SUP along gentle waterways – before getting a great night’s sleep anywhere from a boutique hotel, to a houseboat or a working farm.
Finally, in the affluent west London suburbs is the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, a stunning garden that’s home to the world’s largest and most diverse plant collection. Don’t miss the Victorian glasshouses: Palm House, with its rainforest climate and the Temperate House, home to 1500 plants, some of which are extinct in the wild.
There are also quality sparkling and white wine producers on the Great West Way – some even produce red wines like Pinot Noir. Stop at the cellar door or take a vineyard tour at a’Beckett’s just outside Devizes, Aldwick Estate & Vineyard south west of Bristol or Alder Ridge near Hungerford. For more, see www.greatwestway.co.uk/see-and-do/food-and-drink/breweries-and-vineyards.
To book your Great West Way trip, go to www.greatwestway.co.uk
Top image: Kennet and Avon Canal, Newbury © greatwestway.co.uk