Have you heard of England’s Great West Way? It links London and Bristol following a 125 mile route based on one of the first Great Roads commissioned by the Kings of England. If you follow the route along the Great West Way you can see great examples of the English way of life as well as visiting some famous places such as Royal Windsor, the historic city of Bath, the World Heritage Site at Stonehenge and the city of Bristol and many others. Along your journey you can meet typical English people in their towns and villages, enjoy the culture and heritage, as well as the local food and drink. It will truly give the international student an experience of the English way of life today, developed over hundreds of years. We can help you plan your own journey by any means of transport with suggested itineraries, or we can direct you to tours from travel operators, and suggest places to stay, eat and drink, so you get to experience the real everyday England as well as the culture and history.
Travelling Great West Way
By car: If you plan on hiring a car or you have bought your own whilst studying in the UK and plan on using that, you need to check that your driving license from your home country entitles you to drive in the UK with having to take a driving test. You can check if your license gives you permission on the UK Government website HERE.
By rail: The Great Western Railway Main Line runs from London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads station. Engineered during the Industrial Revolution by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1833, it is a great opportunity to travel this historic railway line. With stops at the Great West Way places of interest it makes planning a day trip or a longer tour so easy. Keep the cost down with a Great West Way Discover Pass.
By bus and coach: If you prefer to travel by bus or coach there are extensive services along the Great West Way which can also be a very cost effective choice, useful for budget travel.
There are multiple coach services between London and Bristol by companies including National Express, Megabus, Stagecoach and Eurolines. Journey times are dependent on traffic and departure point (some depart from the airports, others from London Victoria bus station) but most take between 2 hours 30 minutes and 3 hours.
You’ll also find coach connections to other cities and towns along the touring route from London Victoria, including Marlow, Reading, Swindon, Chippenham, Bath and more. Once you’ve reached your destination, you can access various local bus services – some travelling to fairly remote rural locations. Visit your nearest bus station and/or tourist information centre for the most recent bus timetable. You can also take in the route on a private coach tour, from the royal sights of Windsor to the charming villages of the Cotswolds. Many of these depart from central London.
Here are some of the highlights as you travel the Great West Way. You can also check out our suggested itineraries, plan your travel and places to stay. Click on the name to go to our page giving details of things to do and places to stay.
Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and the place the Queen considers "home". Spend some time in this historic place and visit the State Apartments and Chapel and watch the Changing the Guard ceremony for the best of British pageantry. Stay for lunch or take a leisurely cruise along the river. If you prefer to stay on land, how about a horse drawn carriage tour through Windsor Great Park, hearing the stories and about events, passed down through the generations of coachmen and shared with guests of Windsor Carriages by license since 1849. Enjoy the spectacular approach to Windsor Castle on The Long Walk, featured at The Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.