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South West England by train

Overview

The south west of England is filled with vibrant centres of culture, heritage and ancient monuments that rise up out of sweeping moorland and overlook dramatic coastlines.

This is where England’s tumultuous past shakes hands with its demure present, where tasteful modern architecture sits side by side with the half-timbered heritage of Tudor times, and Georgian elegance complements the inimitable skill of medieval masons. Visitors travelling by train are rewarded with breathtaking views, fresh seafood and independent shops that warmly celebrate English individuality and eccentricity.

By using the First Great Western trains from London-Paddington railway station, you’ll be able to visit several landmarks and towns of South England.

Day 1

London > Oxford

Start in Oxford (1h trip from London), best known for its world-famous university, which is split into a number of architecturally sumptuous colleges, each steeped in history and an impressive roll-call of famous writers, thinkers and scientists. We recommend guided tours of Trinity and Christ Church colleges in particular. Next, spend a little time exploring the city centre’s excellent range of shops before heading to the Cherwell Boathouse for an afternoon’s punting on the River Isis.

Our tip: The delightfully atmospheric Holywell Music Room is the oldest concert hall in Europe, and holds classical concerts year-round.

Day 2

Oxford > Salisbury - Stonehenge > Bath

Catch the train from Oxford and before long you’ll see the spire of Salisbury Cathedral soaring up out of the city of Salisbury (1h48 trip). Be sure to take a closer look when you arrive. However, Salisbury’s star attraction is Stonehenge, a short bus ride away. Spend an hour or two marvelling at the stones, before heading to Bath, where you’ll be treated to a spectacular view of Bath’s honey-coloured Georgian architecture as your train pulls into this remarkable city – a UNESCO World Heritage Site (54 min trip). Take a walking tour around its top sights; the Roman Baths and the Royal Crescent are among the most famous. Be sure to spend some time browsing Bath’s fine selection of markets and boutiques, and then get in touch with your literary side in the Jane Austen Centre.

Our tip: When in Bath, round off the day in Thermae Bath Spa, Britain’s only natural thermal spa, and relax after your hard day of exploring.

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