Great West Way Travel Magazine

Ways to travel the Great West Way



A road trip adventure along the Great West Way allows you to linger as long as you want in each destinatio­n, and even venture off on a complete tangent if the mood takes you – take a look at our suggested itinerarie­s to help you make a start.

The main road between London and Bristol is the A4 Great West Road, based on an ancient horse track and later, one of King Charles I's Great Roads, which facilitate­d the establishm­ent of the British postal service – The Royal Mail.

The A4 cuts a fairly direct path between the two cities, allowing you to travel the distance in less than 2 hours 30 minutes if you wanted to. Of course, if you're travelling by car, half the pleasure is being able to pull off and explore whenever you like.

Wherever you decide to base yourself along the touring route, there'll also be charming country lanes and winding rural roads to enjoy. Jump in the car and see where you end up.

You may find the AA's Route Planner tool useful for planning your road trip. Also, our pages on car hire and travel tips could be of interest – especially if this is your first time driving in the UK.

If you want to hire a car for your Great West Way adventure, you'll find plenty of car hire companies in just the places you'd expect – airports, larger train stations, cities and towns, for example Auto Europe and Practical Car & Van Rental.

Did you know? The first mail coach was introduced between Bristol and London in 1784.


Making tracks on the Great West Way can point you at endless amounts of history and fun facts to be discovered along its length from London to Bristol. In one go the journey is just 1hr 40min, but by stopping off you can explore the route in your own time turning it into a holiday adventure of a lifetime.

Relax and journey along the Great West Way using the Great West Way Discoverer pass. It includes unlimited Off-Peak train travel from London Paddington with Great Western Railway along the route to Bristol Temple Meads via Reading and Swindon, or Newbury and Pewsey, with options to branch off towards Salisbury via Westbury (or London Waterloo to Salisbury with South Western Railway). It also includes unlimited travel on listed bus services along the routes. The rail route is marked on the map with a green line. Choose from an East, West or Global one-day or seven-day ticket to enjoy your Great West Way adventure.

You can purchase the Great West Way Discoverer pass online at or from your local station. They come in the form of a standard orange ticket, clearly showing the route you have purchased and whether it is valid for one day or seven. If you are travelling from overseas, internatio­nal passes (similar to a BritRail pass) can be purchased online at or via your travel agent, where discounted internatio­nal rates apply and with no offpeak travel time restrictio­ns.

Did you know? The Great Western Railway runs along the full distance of the Great West Way – from London's Paddington station to Bristol Temple Meads.

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