Tour the best of the west on a road trip behind the wheel of a BMW this summer. Precision engineered and effortlessly stylish, there’s little to beat, taking to the open road in a car designed for your driving pleasure. And where better to experience a BMW road trip than the west of England with its rolling hills and fascinating history dotted along stunning routes and country lanes.
Here are our top picks of the west of England’s most exciting and enjoyable summer days out on the road.
Culture in the Cotswolds – Woodstock to Stratford upon Avon
Thanks to its charming villages and stunning views tucked among the dramatic Cotswold hills, this is a perfect region for discovering by car.
Start your tour in Woodstock, Oxfordshire – not the famous festival site, but an attractive village in its own right with some excellent pubs. It's also the home of Blenheim Palace, the ancestral home of the Churchill family, set in fabulous parkland landscaped by Capability Brown.
Next, set off for Stratford upon Avon via the A44 and A3400; quiet, two-laned roads that meander through honey-gold Cotswold stone villages. Stratford boasts a wealth of Shakespeare-related historic buildings and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
Get your kicks on the A46
For sheer roof down driving fun, hop in the BMW Z4 and head down the A46 to the village of Painswick in Gloucestershire. Pause to admire the architecture and then head north up the valley for some glorious views of Cheltenham and Gloucester. Or head south towards Stroud and Gatcombe Park, much loved by royal-watchers and horse trials enthusiasts.
Explore some of the smaller country roads to find quaint hamlets like Slad, Edge and Bisley, with their traditional pubs and tempting shops. Slad (and The Woolpack pub) is famous for its link to Laurie Lee and his much-loved book “Cider With Rosie”. On a clear day, the panoramic view is breathtaking.
Do it the Fosse Way
In Roman times, the legions could march along the Fosse Way from Exeter to Lincoln without deviation, hesitation or repetition. Today its route is still largely recognisable, in the guise of roads like the A429 from Cirencester to Moreton-in-Marsh.
It slices diagonally across the Cotswolds, taking you from one delightful town to another, with just a touch of the steering wheel between long straight sections. Make a pit-stop at the fascinating Motoring Museum and Toy Collection in Bourton-on-the-Water. If you've got plenty of time, take a detour to the Slaughters, two of the prettiest villages in the area, which are often used as film locations.
The Exmoor factor
Experience the BMW M4 Coupe’s true driving credentials with a road trip around Exmoor. The A39 between Minehead and Barnstaple is perfect for driving.
It's a thrilling combination of hills and curves, rugged moorland and shimmering coastline, with wonderful views and not a single traffic light to interrupt your journey. Just watch out for the occasional sheep or pony wandering across the road. Don't miss Porlock Hill, rising 1,300 feet within just a couple of miles, as well as the views of Lynmouth beach and the Bristol Channel beyond.
For a perfect family outing, jump in the 7 seater BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer and make memories together at the world-famous Cheddar Gorge - a natural wonder, forged by nature around 1.2 million years ago. There's plenty to keep everyone entertained, from its spectacular cliffs and stalactite show caves. To the 274-step walk up Jacob's Ladder and Clifftop Gorge Walk.
When you’re done, head east out of Cheddar on the B3135 towards Ashwick. Drive slowly to negotiate the tight bends and take in the extraordinary views of England's deepest gorge. The road cuts through rocky tors and outcrops as it ascends into the Mendips. Once you reach the top, you can relax, sit back and enjoy the ride.