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Located at the centre of road and rail networks, travel is easy in any direction.
Heading further west will take you into another country, Wales. Cardiff is a short train ride away and, when it comes to culture, has all one might expect from a grand capital city - museums, galleries, theaters, plus a castle in the city centre.
Rugby aside, singing is surely the best expression of Welsh identity - experience it at the world famous Millennium Centre with the resident company, Welsh National Opera, or in the buzzing grassroots music scene.
Northwards takes the traveller into a truly outstanding area of natural, and manmade, beauty: the Cotswolds. Nestling in rolling hills, its chief attractions are the charming market towns built in warm honey-colored stone. Chipping Camden was the centre of the Arts & Crafts movement founded by William Morris; Cheltenham has its four major arts festivals - jazz, classical music, literature and science; while Tewkesbury has a fine example of Norman architecture in its abbey.
A day trip eastwards takes the visitor to the ancient university city of Oxford. And to the south east lies the prehistoric wonders of Stonehenge, and the lesser known but just as fascinating Avebury Rings. Nearby, take in Salisbury Cathedral with its breathtaking spire and original copy of Magna Carta, as well as the medieval city centre and town walls.
The journey south west will take the traveller to the sublime landscape of Cheddar Gorge and the Mendip Hills for some breathtaking walks. Further south is the fabled Isle of Avalon, Glastonbury. Now more famous for its music festival, this legendary spot has been a well-established tourist destination since the Middle Ages, with medieval and now modern pilgrims continuing to be drawn by the myths created by the Abbey’s monks.
More unique history can be found in England’s smallest city, Wells, with its exquisite Gothic cathedral whose fan vaults and flying buttresses are lauded as ‘poetry in stone’.