This 87 mile route takes you through four counties from Bristol, a buzzing creatively spirited city with a rich maritime history to the seaside town of Weymouth, on the Jurassic Coast.
Soak in the cityscapes, classic English villages, lush rolling countryside, and sea views along your journey. There is some awesome history to find out about and exciting attractions to discover along the way.
Bristol Temple Meads is the start of the line, boasting an international arts centre and gallery Arnolfini, a picturesque harbourside, the historic SS Great Britain and plenty more to explore.
Continuing along the line you'll reach Bath Spa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that's famous for its hot springs, Roman Baths and medieval heritage.
Explore a timeless English town, with cobbled streets, waterways and charming tearooms at Bradford on Avon.
Yeovil Country Park and the beautiful area of Ninesprings can be accessed from Yeovil Pen Mill station. Be sure to check out the Yeovil Railway Centre at the station before you leave.
Keen walkers will enjoy access to the Macmillan Way and Wessex Ridgeway long distance paths from Maiden Newton Station and the next stop at Chetnole will provide walkers with access to the village of Cerne Abbas, famed for its ancient Saxon naked giant figure sculpted into the chalk hillside.
Further along the train line at Dorchester West, you can visit National Trust Max Gate, former home of Thomas Hardy, walk to one of the largest Iron Age hillforts in Europe and explore rich grassland, ancient hedgerows and the wet woodlands of Kingcombe Meadow.
At the end of the line, you'll come to Weymouth. Here you can spend a day on the golden beach or walk along the 17th century Weymouth Harbour lined with sailboats and fishing boats, a perfect spot for crabbing too. Nothe Fort Musuem is a must do and you'll be rewarded with panoramic views across Weymouth and the peninsula.
Explore the M Shed and enjoy lunch at trendy eatery Cargo Wapping Wharf in Bristol
Discover traditional tearooms and charming cobbled streets of Bradford on Avon
Step back in time with Anglo Saxon and Roman history in Dorchester
Find out more
Check train times at www.gwr.com
Plan your journey by bus and train at https://journeyplanner.travelwest.info/directions
Time from London
Plan your trip
Dorchester - romantic literature day
In Dorchester immerse yourself in history, its museums & literary romance, for this is after all the town where the heart of author Thomas Hardy lies (literally). Take a gentle walk via the well-kept Borough Gardens to pay a visit to the imposing Keep Military Museum, designed to resemble a Norman Castle, you cannot miss it. It tells a fascinating history of local regiments.
Stroll Ratty’s Trail a charming short, accessible & circular riverside walk inspired by The Wind in The Willows story. Interested in the Romans? Visit the country’s only fully exposed Roman Town House located in Colliton Park. Dorchester offers plenty of foodie options, from Brewery Square, to several parks - ideal for a picnic, or the weekly indoor and outdoor market for local foodstuffs.
Frome - the ultimate market town day
Full of character and packed with historic buildings. This welcoming town is abundant with charming independent shops and host to some fantastic street markets that take place three times a week. Not to be missed though is the big one - Frome Independent Market which brings together the best local food and drink, artists and designers, produce, plants, flowers, retro, vintage, collectables, home wares and street entertainment. This important market takes place once a month.
Spend the day ambling and browsing, then a nice lunch somewhere. Walk off your lunch with a walking guided tour or/and a visit to the Frome Museum to learn about this towns past.
Frome hosts a well-established calendar of events, so do look up what’s on before you go.
Bradford on Avon – rivers and canals day
Bradford on Avon is a convenient base to spend a day on the waterways, whether you are walking the rivers and canals or having a boat ride on them. Take a picnic with you or visit one of the pubs along the river, or complete your day in one of the many traditional tearooms and treat yourself to a well-merited cream tea.
The walk follows a pleasant footpath along canals and river to Avoncliff where you’ll pass the striking aqueduct. The moored boats along the path bring a brilliant splash of colour. Extend the walk to Freshford which is part of the beautiful Limpley Stoke Valley, some idyllic picnic spots around here.
As for wildlife you might get lucky and spot a darting kingfisher.
Head back to Bradford on Avon, which is definitely worth exploring, quintessentially English, this picturesque village has retail, food and drink and plenty of history to soak in.
Bristol – city day
Whatever time of day you arrive, there is somewhere to eat and drink in Bristol. We suggest Cargo on Wapping Wharf – a very hip quarter alongside the trendy pedestrianised harbour, offering a mixture of shipping containers and bricks and mortar, housing independent eateries, shops and more. And handy too as it’s only a few minutes walk from Bristol Temple Meads.
Just around the corner you could visit the free to enter M Shed museum, which offers a fascinating and interactive narrative on the places and the significant people of Bristol historically and to current times.
Walking the harbour edge, you’ll soon spot the majestic SS Great Britain, Bristol’s no. 1 attraction.
The Arnolfini an international arts centre and gallery is opposite M Shed. It has a programme of contemporary art exhibitions, artist's performance, music and dance events, poetry and book readings, talks, lectures and cinema. There is also a specialist art bookshop and a café bar.
Walk or hop on a bus to Clifton Village and visit the Clifton Suspension Bridge, take a walk across the downs, and visit the 1776 Clifton Observatory, yet another local iconic site.
Clifton Village, deserves a visit and is packed full of shops and places to have some food or have a drink.
Bristol’s free City Museum is in Clifton on Queens Road and is well worth a visit.