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The prettiest towns and villages to visit on the Kennet & Avon

PUBLISHED: 13:44 10 May 2016 | UPDATED: 15:25 10 May 2016

Locals invited to crowdsource ideas for the Kennet & Avon Canal

Locals invited to crowdsource ideas for the Kennet & Avon Canal

Claudio Gennari

The K&A is home to some of the prettiest towns and villages in the UK. Starting in Bath and moving on through the country to Reading, we’ve picked eight of the prettiest towns and villages that every boater must visit.

Kintbury: Tucked away between Newbury and Hungerford, Kintbury was named by the Sunday Times as one of the ‘top ten most sought after villages in England’ in 2007. The village forms part of a very large Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ the North Wessex Downs which extends from the River Thames at Streatley to West Wiltshire. The K&A runs through the village at Kintbury Lock. A horse drawn widebeam narrowboat runs public trips from Kintbury, either towards Newbury or towards Hungerford. Kintbury is home to three wonderful pubs; The Blue Ball, The Dundas Arms and The Prince Of Wales.

'Kintbury Vicarage' Gillie Rhodes, Flickr CC 2.0'Kintbury Vicarage' Gillie Rhodes, Flickr CC 2.0

Don’t miss: The Dundas Arms is a grade II listed Georgian inn, believed to have been providing travellers with food and drink since the end of the 18th Century. When the first “Navvies” began construction on the K&A in 1794 the project was led by Charles Dundas who marked the completion of the first section of the canal with a ceremony in Kintbury. It is thought that the Dundas Arms takes its name in his honour. A winner of many prestigious awards the pub is well known for its good food and fantastic beer and ales.

Honeystreet: A small and picturesque hamlet that straddles the banks of the Kennet and Avon, Honeystreet is a part of the Alton parish with a population of less than 250. The village is overlooked by the famous White Horse chalk hill figure that has been carved into the landscape. Honeystreet is known to some as ‘crop-circle central’ due to the large amount of crop circles that have ‘appeared’ in recent years.

Honeystreet. 'Dining Al Fresco' Allan, Flickr CC 2.0Honeystreet. 'Dining Al Fresco' Allan, Flickr CC 2.0

Don’t miss: The Barge Inn is a magnificent Georgian building constructed in 1810 and it sits directly on the towpath of the canal. Due to the popularity of UFO’s and crop circles in the area, a lot of the beers and ales are in keeping with this theme – there is even a green beer brewed specifically for The Barge, called ‘Alien Abduction!’

Devizes: A charming, historic market town that is at the heart of Wiltshire. Devizes is home to an abundance of small, independent shops, quaint coffee shops and a wonderful selection of pubs and restaurants. The weekly farmers’ and collectors’ markets are vibrant and colourful and always worth a visit.

Don’t miss: The fabulous Caen Hill Locks between Rowde and Devizes are arguably one of the best attractions that Devizes has to offer. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk along the 29 locks, finishing up with a drink at the Caen Hill Café.

Bradford on Avon: Situated in the Avon Valley Bradford on Avon has something for everyone. To stroll through the town is akin to walking through time, with Romans, Saxons, Normans, Georgians and Victorians all having left their mark on the town. There is also an excellent selection of pubs, cafés, shops and restaurants that are all well loved by tourists and locals alike. The town is also fast becoming a popular walking and cycling destination, especially on a sunny day.

Don’t miss: The Poplars Inn is a family run, country pub that offers delicious home cooked food and a fantastic atmosphere. The restaurant overlooks the gardens and cricket pitch – a wonderful sight on a warm summers evening. The menu is made up of locally sourced ingredients as well as a selection of fine wines and cask conditioned real ales.

Chilton Foliat: Chilton Foliat is a village on the River Kennet in Wiltshire; the parish is in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The village is an ancient settlement, going as far back as Saxon times, and beyond. It is small with a population of roughly 300 adults. A quintessential British countryside village, with ancient houses and picturesque, rolling landscape, Chilton Foliat is beautiful.

Chilton Foliat. 'Sheep graze on Stag Hill above Chilton Foliat in Wiltshire' Anguskirk, Flickr CC 2.0Chilton Foliat. 'Sheep graze on Stag Hill above Chilton Foliat in Wiltshire' Anguskirk, Flickr CC 2.0

Don’t miss: The Wheatsheaf Public House always offers a warm and friendly welcome to both visitors and locals alike. New owners Ollie and Lauren do an outstanding job providing delicious locally sourced and organic fresh food and drink, live music and an art gallery that can host gigs and parties.

Froxfield: Froxfield village lies on a stream that is a tributary of the River Dun. The road between London and Bristol follows the valley of the stream and passes through the village, having followed this course since at least the 13th century. The K&A follows the Dun valley through Froxfield parish, passing within a few hundred yards of the village. The canal has a series of locks in the parish, from Oakhill down Lock to Froxfield Bottom Lock.

Don’t miss: The Pelican Inn is a 17th century public house and a well known local landmark in the village of Froxfield. Following a refurbishment and change of ownership in 2012 The Pelican is quickly developing a reputation for excellent food and service. Five minutes walk from K&A and a spacious garden where walkers, fisherman and boaters can all enjoy their drinks.

Burbage: Burbage is a village in the Vale of Pewsey, the K&A crosses the parish just north of the village. A superb spot for hiking, Burbage is also home to two fantastic pubs, The White Hart and The Three Horseshoes, both classic British pubs serving real ale and great food. For anyone looking to stay the night, the Westcourt Bottom B&B is a large 17th century thatched cottage set in the peaceful Wiltshire countryside.

Don’t miss: The Bruce Tunnel – the famous tunnel on the summit pound of the K&A – is a living testament to the stupidity of British aristocracy. It is named after Thomas Brudenell-Bruce, 1st Earl of Ailesbury, the local landowner, who, when the canal was being built, would not allow a deep cutting through his land, and insisted on a tunnel instead. There is no towpath through the tunnel so walkers and cyclists who wish to cross must walk over the top.

Bath: As many people know the beautiful and stylish city of Bath is the perfect destination whether you’re looking for a romantic break, a family holiday, a foodie getaway, or just an exciting day out. Take in the breathtaking Georgian architecture, incredible tourist attractions such as Longleat Safari Park and Stonehenge.

Don’t miss: The Bath Thermae Spa is home to Britain’s only naturally warm, mineral rich waters that guests can bathe in. Relax in the rooftop pool and take in the incredible views of the city, or enjoy a massage and any number of traditional spa treatments.

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