The Great West Way, a route that can be travelled by bike, road, rail, canal or on foot, was declared officially on the first day of WTM London (November 5).
The new touring route travels through six counties from London to Bristol and encompasses 500 miles of navigable routes along the Thames, Kennet & Avon Canal, the Great Western Railway, the A4 and numerous walking and cycling trails.
The Great West Way takes travellers through some of England’s most picturesque countryside, market towns and villages.
It covers three Unesco sites – Kew Gardens, Stonehenge/Avebury and Bath – and three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: the Chilterns, the Cotswolds and North Wessex Downs.
The route also passes key attractions, including Hampton Court Palace, Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath’s Roman Baths.
David Andrews, Great West Way director, said: “This new touring route, the first of its kind, joins up many of England’s most iconic attractions, but also enables and encourages visitors to venture off the beaten track, explore more of the region and discover a whole gamut of quintessentially English experiences, all within one trip.”
There are bookable itineraries offered by official Great West Way tour operators, such as a four-day guided cycling/walking tour with Active England, from £1,209 for three nights’ four-star accommodation, bike hire and coach transfers.
The itinerary includes Windsor Castle, Avebury and Stonehenge, the Kennet and Avon Canal, Bath, Highgrove and The Cotswolds.
Visitors can also create their own itinerary by visiting greatwestway.co.uk, which offers an interactive map, insider tips, an events calendar and a planning tool to generate bespoke tours.
This includes the option to add day excursions to other places of interest that are accessible from the route, such as Salisbury, Stourhead and Cheddar Gorge.
Bristol Airport and Great Western Railway are partners in the project and will ensure the route is as accessible as possible for those travelling by train or air.
Home page image: Charlie Ross/Great West Way