The BEST (northern bits) of Southwest England

Our favorite parts of a 6 day road trip through the northern region of Southwest England. We visited the Cotswolds, Bath, Stourhead, Stonehenge, Jane Austen’s home, Windsor Castle, and more! Spring is a wonderful time to explore England. Flowers are blooming and the hills are blankets of green. England is famous for its rain but we were lucky and had lots of sun. At the end of the post I included an interactive map and a video of our adventure. Thanks for following!

My Mom and me!

Day 1

When we road trip with three kids (and a very active Granny) in tow, we incorporate many stops for walking and exploring. Our first “active” break was The Broadway Tower. Like so many sites in England, there is a lovely gift shop and cafe, beautiful walking trails, and wonderful views. I only have videos of the tower so please click the link above or watch our video for more views. . The picture below was a view from the walking trails.

From the Broadway Tower we made our way to Snowshill Manor. On our drive we passed cottages draped in Wisteria, cobblestone streets, little shops and pubs… I loved it! To see more please check out our video. Charles Wade, the owner of Snowshill Manor, has a tremendous collection of rare and unique objects. I love historical homes and the Snowshill gardens were stunning. 

On our way to the hotel in Birdlip we stopped at Cleeve Hill for a hike. Our family needs lots of driving breaks so finding places to hike and wander is essential. 

That night we stayed at the Royal George Hotel in Birdlip. As much as I enjoy a luxury hotel, that is not how we regularly travel. We prioritize seeing sights and being on the go more than we do expensive hotels with fancy amenities. We typically arrive at our hotels just before dinner and leave after breakfast so as long as it’s clean and quiet, we are happy. The Royal George was very comfortable and had everything we needed, including a pub in the lobby.

Day 2

The next day we set off for Newark Park. I loved this home. Another beautiful historical home with heaps of walking trails and a lovely cafe. You can even have lunch with their peacocks! The recent history of this home is a wonderful love story. To learn more about the love and dedication Robert Parsons and his partner Michael Claydon had for this property and all the work that went into restoring it, you can check out our video or click on the National Trust link in the name above.

After a few hours walking the trails and exploring Newark Park we arrived in Bath. We booked an Air BnB in the suburb of Larkhall. There was enough room for all of us, toys for the children, and a large garden. Larkhall was also a great place to exercise. The area has many steep hills so I snuck out one morning and went for a walk. The views incredible! Larkhall was close enough that we could walk into the heart of Bath but we also took the bus, which was easy. 

What We Did In Bath

We visited the Thermae Spa to use the thermal baths. (check before you visit because when we booked, children were not allowed) I wasn’t as impressed as I wanted to be. It was clean and the roof top view was lovely but it was crowded and the water wasn’t hot. I was chilled and wishing the temperature was more like a jacuzzi. However my body did feel great after our soak so perhaps the healing properties of the water was worth it after all : ) I couldn’t take any pictures but the website has lots of information. 

The next day we walked into the city, found croissants and pastries at the Bridge Coffee Shop and enjoyed them on the Pulteney Bridge.

Peter took the children to a playground while my mom and I enjoyed the Jane Austen Center.

I didn’t book a visit for our 9 year old daughter but I wish I had. The guides are in costume and tell the story of Jane’s life with so much character! It was a taste of live theater and I loved it. 

We checked out the Georgian ring of townhouses called the Circus (see video for more on this)

We booked a visit to the Assembly Rooms and The Fashion Museum, both were great. 

Day 3

On our third day, we visited the Ancient Roman Baths which were incredible. There is a wonderful audio guide for adults and children. We learned so much! I highly recommend a visit to this museum.

After the Roman Baths, it was time to run around. We took a bus to Prior Park where our youngest napped in the stroller while the older kids played, picnicked and wandered. It’s a beautiful park. The trees and the Palladian bridge are stunning. 

We also visited Bath Abbey. The Abbey is beautiful and I was impressed to see an exhibit on the Abbey’s relationship with slavery and their commitment to telling the whole truth regarding the human impact of the British Empire. I hope more sites follow the example of Bath Abbey. Many of the places we visit and admire, were only possible because of the harrowing treatment of others.

Day 4

We left Bath and drove to Stourhead. Stourhead was on my list because the garden was a filming location for Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice. When I learned how large and beautiful the garden was, I had to visit. This place did not disappoint! It’s incredible. I love English gardens and have visited many but this one is my absolute favorite.

Fairlawn House was our next hotel. It was simple and clean, the staff was kind and it was conveniently located to our next stop, Stonehenge.

Day 5

I have wanted to visit Stonehenge for as long as I can remember. Stonehenge fascinates me. I was so impressed by the visitors center and the knowledgeable staff, I could have stayed and learned all day.

I am a Jane Austen fan so when I learned she was buried at Winchester Cathedral, I knew I had to visit. My husband double parked (with one child asleep in the car) while my Mom and I ran in for a quick peak. Another place I wish I could have stayed longer

Because I love Jane Austen so much, a visit to her home was a must. I love homes like this and the staff does a lovely job sharing all about her life and work.

Unfortunately on our way from Jane Austen’s home to The Queen Hotel we got a flat tire. That added extra stress and delay to our day but luckily the Queen Hotel was very comfortable. This hotel was the cushiest of all the ones we stayed in. The area around the hotel isn’t very appealing but the rooms were very nice.

Day 6

On our way home we spent the fist half of the day at Windsor Castle. Unfortunately photos and videos are not allowed in the chapel, the rooms, or galleries. I strongly recommend a visit but like most big tourist attractions, if you can come here on a weekday during the off season, it will be so much more enjoyable. We came on a Saturday and it was very busy!

Check out the map below to see our stops.

Map thanks to Wanderlog, a road trip planner on iOS and Android
And here is our video for more information on each place we visited. 

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