A lovely west country city of world-class Georgian architecture, ancient and modern spas, and an atmosphere of romance and refinement.
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Tetbury, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom (UK)|www.forestryengland.uk|
Westonbirt was originally the private estate of Victorian entrepreneur Richard Holford, a passionate collector and plant hunter at a time when trees and shrubs from across the world were being introduced to Britain.
Today, his collection has grown into the National Arboretum, with 15,000 different species of trees fanning out from seventeen miles of paths, including the National collection of Acers, which flame raspberry, auburn and saffron in the autumn months.
The highlight is the 300m-long Treetop Walkway, which rises gently to a height of 13 metres, giving amazing views over the tree canopy. Younger kids will love the ‘play trail’ and there are several different walking route according to how much time you have to explore.
Getting there & doing it
Westonbirt is around two hours’ drive from London, in the south-west corner of the Cotswolds. There’s free parking if you’re driving, and obviously you can cycle there. The nearest train station is Kemble, located between the towns of Tetbury and Cirencester and is a 15-minute taxi ride away.
Book a ticket in advance on the website. They offer free daily guided walks (about 1.5 hours) – a brilliant way to learn about the history and conservation work. They can be booked up to 7 days in advance, and meet 5 minutes before the start at the Welcome Building.
If you prefer to go it alone, there are several themed walks available on the website, including special ones for kids (spot a Gruffalo anyone?).
When to do it
Westonbirt is open all year round, seven days a week. Guided walks run daily, one in the late morning, one in the early afternoon.
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