A4 road (England)

A4 road (England)

UK road routebox
road= A4
direction= East - West (London Radial)
start= City of London
destinations= Westminster
Kew Bridge
Heathrow Airport

end= Avonmouth
junctions= ukroadsmall|40
A4208 road

The A4 is a major road in England, portions of which are known as the Great West Road and Bath Road. It runs from London to Avonmouth, near Bristol. Historically the road is the main route from London to the west of England, and has formed the second main western artery from London, after Western Avenue A40. Much of the route has been paralleled by the M4 motorway.

Starting at Holborn Circus at a junction with the A40 in the City of London, it runs west into Westminster through Fleet Street, the Strand, Trafalgar Square, Haymarket, Pall Mall, Piccadilly Circus, past Green Park to Hyde Park Corner. At this point it leaves the congestion charging zone and continues through Knightsbridge, South Kensington, Hammersmith and Chiswick. The road runs past some of London's most famous buildings and institutions, including the Royal Courts of Justice, King's College London, London School of Economics, St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, Bush House, Nelson's Column, the National Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts, Ritz Hotel, Harrods, the Victoria and Albert and Natural History Museums and Heathrow Airport. The road is one of London's main western arteries - along with the A40 Westway towards Oxford - , forking into the old A4, M4 motorway, A316 and A30 in the suburbs.

Outside London the road runs through Slough, Maidenhead, Reading (past Cemetery Junction), Newbury, Hungerford, Marlborough, Calne, Chippenham, Corsham, Bath and Bristol. Near Calne, the road runs a short distance from the Cherhill White Horse. In Bristol the road forms an inner city ring road, runs along the Portway through the Avon Gorge, and terminates at the M5 motorway and Avonmouth docks. In the original 1922 road numbering list, the section from Bath to Avonmouth was classified as the A36, but before long this length became part of the A4. [http://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/roadlists/1922.shtml]

The road was formerly classified as a trunk road, but since the 1960s the M4 motorway has relieved it of much long distance and freight traffic, and it has been de-trunked. Lengths in Bath, Bristol and central London remain designated as trunk roads, and on most of these traffic is segregated by dual-carriageways.The A4 is a combination of roads old and new. The Bath Road, the original road from London to the west, ran through Hammersmith, Turnham Green, Brentford, and Hounslow. There. the Staines Road forked off to the left at the Bell Corner, and the Bath Road continued onwards to Colnbrook and Maidenhead. Between the two world wars, the Great West Road was built as a bypass to relieve traffic congestion in Brentford and Hounslow. This ran across farmland from what is now the Chiswick Roundabout, rejoining the Bath Road where the Traveller's Friend pub near Cranford was once situated; the building still exists, but is now a McDonald's Fast Food Restaurant. when it was opened in 1925 by King George V [http://www.igg.org.uk/gansg/00-app1/roads.htm] .

Continued rising traffic levels forced the construction in the early sixties of the first length of the M4 - between the Chiswick Roundabout and Maidenhead Thicket roundabout - to wholly bypass the A4, although the roads actually cross three times; first at the Chiswick flyover (M4 J1), next just east of Slough (M4 J5) and finally to the west of Reading (M4 J12).

Park and Ride

Two park and ride sites situated on the Portway, and in Brislington provide frequent services to and from Bristol city centre.


The A4 appeared in the 1996 film "Trainspotting" when the main characters (Renton and Sickboy) moved into a flat on the Talgarth Road (the stretch of the A4 between West Kensington and Hammersmith). The film contains a specific shot of the junction of Talgarth Road with North End Road.

External links

* [http://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/roadlists/f99/4.shtml Society for All British Road Enthusiasts entry for the A4]

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