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English University Museums

Jasper James Paintings by British artists at Oxford's Ashmolean Museum

Photo: Jasper James

DAY 4 Oxford to Bath
DISTANCE 74 miles

A side effect of looking at art nonstop is that it soon becomes your frame of reference for seeing the rest of the world. During the 90-minute drive southwest to Bath, every view out the car window brings to mind an image from Art History 101. A herd of barrel-shaped Holsteins moving ponderously across a pasture recalls Stanley Spencer's 1936 Cows at Cookham, on display at the Ashmolean.

After a lunch at Fishworks (6 Green St.; 44-1225/448-707; lunch for two $40), continue on to the Holburne Museum (Great Pulteney St.; 44-1225/466-669; www.bath.ac.uk/holburne), which houses the treasures of Sir William Holburne, a 19th-century Bath collector of fine and decorative art.

Have dinner at Pasta Galore (31 Barton St.; 44-1225/463-861; dinner for two $50), which serves authentic dishes such as tagliatelle all'arrabbiata, and stay the night at the Victorian Tasburgh House Hotel (Warminster Rd.; 44-1225/425-096; www.bathtasburgh.co.uk; doubles from $165), overlooking the Kennet and Avon Canal.

DAY 5 Bath to London
DISTANCE 115 miles

An eastbound sprint on the M4 quickly returns you to London.

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