The Palladian Way is a 125 mile walk linking some of England's finest Palladian estates in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire which provide the theme for this long distance path. Palladian architecture, though often forgotten, is a popular classical style responsible for one of the world's most famous buildings, The White House. Here in Middle England, we are lucky enough to have some of the finest examples of Palladian style.
From Buckingham the walk first passes magnificent Stowe House, a grand Palladian edifice which for many years has been a school. Stowe Landscape Gardens are in the safe hands of the National Trust who have delightfully restored over 40 temples and monuments perfectly set amongst lakes and valleys.
The route then continues through Brackley to reach Tusmore House, a modern example of Palladian architecture only built in 2004. Next, a short diversion takes you to Kirtlington and the Palladian manor house designed by James Gibbs set in parkland laid out by Capability Brown. However both of these houses are dwarfed by the grandeur of the next - Blenheim Palace near Woodstock.
From Blenheim the route makes its way across the lovely Oxfordshire Cotswolds countryside to Burford and then on to Cirencester, passing Palladian Barnsley House. The route then passes through Malmesbury, Castle Combe and Box before finishing at the beautiful Georgian city of Bath where the Palladian Bridge at Prior Park provides a suitably impressive final example of Palladian architecture.
There is a lot to explore along this beautiful and fascinating route and to get the most from the journey it is best to allow 10 days to complete the full distance. Since the route passes through several large towns it is quite feasible to break much of the walk into smaller weekend sections to be completed at different times.
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