The famous and iconic road from London to the South West, and from work to holidays for many millions of people over the years, the A303 is bound up in British culture with ideas of summer, surfing, festivals and fun. For much of the year its alignment means it seems to carry traffic straight into the rising and the setting sun. It passes right by Stonehenge. There's at least one whole book about it and there are mentions in countless others. It even appears in song.

You can find your way home on the 303
You can let somebody know on the 303, on the 303

303 by Kula Shaker

Strictly speaking, the A30 is the road from London to the South West, running from Hounslow in West London to Land's End. In the early 1930s, it was already struggling to handle the holiday traffic every summer, so in 1934 a collection of back roads and B-roads running slightly to the north were reclassified as a new main road, the A303, to provide an alternative. The choice of route wasn't as arbitrary as it sounds - it was actually the route of a centuries-old road to the South West called the New Direct Road.

Over time, the A303 became the more important of the two roads, as it took a straighter line and passed through fewer towns. In the 1950s it became a trunk road, and in the early 1960s with the introduction of primary routes, it was the A303 that got green signs, relegating the A30 to a backwater where the two ran parallel. Today the A303 is the obvious choice from Hampshire to Devon and only local traffic uses the A30 to hop from town to town.

Unfortunately, the other thing the A303 is known for is chronic congestion. It's the fate of any road towards a summer holiday destination (M5 and A64, we are looking at you) to suffer congestion when everyone heads for the seaside at the same time. The A303 suffers this as much as any road, but the situation is made much worse by the inconsistent standard of the road. At various times in the twentieth century, contradictory decisions were taken. Sometimes, the A303 was to become a fast new expressway between the M3 and M5. At other times the motorway network was supposed to carry the traffic. Sometimes the upgrades to the road had to be high-standard dual carriageway. At other times a single-carriageway bypass would do. In the early 1970s the Government confidently expected the whole route would be dualled by the mid-1980s, but today the job remains half-done. As a result, for the whole of its route, the A303 switches between different types of road, widening and narrowing again, causing traffic jams wherever a lane ends and a set of traffic lights suddenly hold things up.

For a long time work on the A303 was completely stalled. Stonehenge - one of the road's most striking landmarks, and one of the world's most precious historic sites - made it politically too difficult to upgrade the road between Amesbury and Winterbourne Stoke, and if one part couldn't be turned into an expressway there was no point in doing the rest. Upgrade schemes elsewhere, long since put on hold, were fed slowly into a shredder and money was spent elsewhere.

But, as ever, contradictory decisions continue to be taken and the plan continues to change. As of 2015, the Stonehenge Tunnel plan has been resurrected, and if a dual carriageway will be dug under the sensitive landscape around Stonehenge then upgrades to the other "missing" sections suddenly become worthwhile again. There are now plans afoot to complete nearly all the parts that are still single-carriageway, with the dual carriageway branching off the A303 to follow the A358 to the M5 at Taunton. And just like before, it remains entirely possible that the plan will change, that the tunnel will be called off, that the A303 will be dualled to Honiton instead of the A358 to Taunton, or indeed that something else contradictory and unexpected will come along.

In the meantime - while we wait for news on what the latest plan might be, and whether money will be spent before someone else has another good idea - the A303 remains an entirely enjoyable and special road just as it is. It's not just famous and culturally important because of the places it links; it's also a memorable and interesting drive in its own right. It can feel more like a part of the holiday than part of the journey. So treasure the hills and the valleys, enjoy the sunrises and the sunsets, marvel at Stonehenge while it's still by the side of the road, grit your teeth through the traffic jams, and take pleasure in one of Britain's most remarkable A-roads, the A303.

You're not looking at the whole A303

This page is about the parts of the A303 that are designated a motorway or that have motorway characteristics. Other sections of this road will not be featured here and will not count towards the length of the road as shown below.

Start
Basingstoke
End
Ilminster
Passes
Popham, Salisbury, Yeovil
Connects to
Length
78 miles

Exit list

Junction   Eastbound               Westbound  
M3 J8
85.5 km
London
Basingstoke
M3 Link
M3 EAST
M3 N/A
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1 mile, 2 lanes 1 mile, 2 lanes
87.5 km Crematorium
A30
A30
LanesLanesLanesLanes Signs Signs
2 miles, 2 lanes 2 miles, 2 lanes
91 km Micheldever Station
Overton
Micheldever Station
Overton
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.2 miles, 2 lanes  
93 km Micheldever Station
LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.9 miles, 2 lanes 3.1 miles, 2 lanes
96.1 km Norton Norton
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
0.7 miles, 2 lanes 0.7 miles, 2 lanes
97.1 km Newbury
Winchester
A34 Link
A34 A30

A34


Newbury
Winchester
A34 Link
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.5 miles, 2 lanes 1.5 miles, 2 lanes
99.6 km Barton Stacey Barton Stacey
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.5 miles, 2 lanes 1.5 miles, 2 lanes
102.2 km Longparish
Wherwell
Harewood Forest
Industrial Estate
B3048
B3048 B3048 Longparish
Wherwell
Harewood Forest
Industrial Estate
B3048
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
2.1 miles, 2 lanes 2.1 miles, 2 lanes
105.7 km Andover
A3093

A3093
Andover
A3093
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.4 miles, 2 lanes 1.4 miles, 2 lanes
108 km Stockbridge
A3057
A3057 A3057 Stockbridge
A3057
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.2 miles, 2 lanes 1.2 miles, 2 lanes
110.1 km Salisbury
A343
A343 Salisbury
A343
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
0.7 miles, 2 lanes 0.7 miles, 2 lanes
111.3 km Andover A343
Devizes A342

B3402
A343

A342
(A346)
Andover
Newbury A343
Devizes A342
Marlborough
(A346)
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.9 miles, 2 lanes 1.9 miles, 2 lanes
114.4 km Sarson Lane Amport
Monxton
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
0.9 miles, 2 lanes 0.9 miles, 2 lanes
115.9 km East Cholderton
Thruxton Village
Kimpton
Fyfield
East Cholderton
Thruxton Village
Kimpton
Fyfield
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
0.5 miles, 2 lanes 0.5 miles, 2 lanes
116.7 km Industrial Estate
Thruxton
Kimpton
Fyfield
Local traffic
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
3.8 miles, 2 lanes 0.9 miles, 2 lanes
118.1 km Grateley
Quarley
Industrial Estate
LanesLanesLanesLanes
  2.7 miles, 2 lanes
122.8 km Hungerford
Salisbury A338
Marlborough (A346)
A338
(A346)
B3804

A338


Hungerford
Salisbury A338
Marlborough (A346)
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.6 miles, 2 lanes 1.6 miles, 2 lanes
125.6 km Amesbury Road Amesbury Road
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.6 miles, 2 lanes  
128.2 km Tidworth Garrison
Bulworth Camp
A3028


LanesLanesLanesLanes
0.6 miles, 2 lanes 2.2 miles, 2 lanes
128.9 km Amesbury (E)
Bulford (A3028)
Services Solstice Park
(A3028) Amesbury (E)
Bulford (A3028)
Services Solstice Park
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.1 miles, 2 lanes 1.1 miles, 2 lanes
130.7 km Marlborough A354
Salisbury
Amesbury
A345
A345
(A342)
A345 Salisbury
Amesbury A345
Pewsey A345
Devizes (A342)
LanesLanesLanesLanes Signs LanesLanesLanesLanes Signs
1.2 miles, 2 lanes 1.2 miles, 2 lanes
132.5 km
A303
LanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
   
A303 is below standard for 6 miles
 
141.3 km A303
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanes
2.2 miles, 2 lanes 2.2 miles, 2 lanes
146.3 km Salisbury
Warminster
A36
A36 A36 Salisbury
Warminster
Wilton
Codford
A36
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
0.5 miles, 2 lanes 0.5 miles, 2 lanes
147.1 km Wylye
Chilmark
Teffont
Stockton
Wylye
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1 mile, 2 lanes 1 mile, 2 lanes
148.8 km
A303
LanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
   
A303 is below standard for 11 miles
 
167.2 km A303
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanes
1.8 miles, 2 lanes 0.2 miles, 2 lanes
167.4 km B3095 B3095 Mere
The Deverills
B3095
LanesLanesLanesLanes
  1.6 miles, 2 lanes
170 km Mere
Frome B3092
Gillingham
The Deverills
(B3095)
B3092 B3092
(B3095)
Frome
B3092
Gillingham
(B3095)
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
3.4 miles, 2 lanes 3.4 miles, 2 lanes
175.5 km Shaftesbury
B3081
Blandford
(A350)


B3081
B3081
(A350)

Bruton
Shaftesbury
B3081
Blandford
(A350)
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
3 miles, 2 lanes 3 miles, 2 lanes
180.5 km Wincanton A371
Blandford (A357)
A371
(A357)
Wincanton A371
Blandford (A357)
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
3.2 miles, 2 lanes 3.2 miles, 2 lanes
185.7 km Bruton (A359)
Yarlington
(A359) Blackford
Compton Pauncefoot
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.8 miles, 2 lanes 1.8 miles, 2 lanes
188.8 km Corton Denham
Sutton Montis
Compton Pauncefoot
North Cadbury
South Cadbury
Yarlington
South Cadbury
North Cadbury
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.3 miles, 2 lanes  
190.9 km Bruton
Frome
A359

A359
LanesLanesLanesLanes
0.8 miles, 2 lanes 2.1 miles, 2 lanes
192.2 km Hazelgrove House
Andover
London A303
Sparkford
Sherborne A359

A303
A359







Sparkford
Sherborne A359
Honiton
Exeter A303
Hazelgrove House
LanesLanesLanesLanes Signs LanesLanesLanesLanes Signs
   
A303 is below standard for 3 miles
 
196.9 km A303
Podimore
LanesLanesLanesLanes Signs LanesLanesLanes Signs
1.2 miles, 2 lanes 1.2 miles, 2 lanes
198.8 km Langport A372
Bristol A37
Podimore
Services Podimore
A37

A372
Podimore
Services Podimore
Langport A372
Bristol A37
LanesLanesLanesLanes Signs LanesLanesLanesLanes Signs
2.2 miles, 2 lanes 2.2 miles, 2 lanes
202.4 km Yeovil
Ilchester A37
Yeovilton (B3151)
A37
(B3151)

Ilchester
Yeovil
A37
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.7 miles, 2 lanes 1.7 miles, 2 lanes
205.2 km Bearley
Tintinhull
Tintinhull
Bearley
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
0.7 miles, 2 lanes 0.7 miles, 2 lanes
206.2 km Tintinhull
Ash
Kingsbury Episcopi
Ash
Tintinhull
Kingsbury Episcopi
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
0.7 miles, 2 lanes 0.7 miles, 2 lanes
207.4 km Rest Area Cartgate Picnic Area
Yeovil A3088
Dorchester
Weymouth (A37)
A3088
(A37)
Yeovil A3088
Dorchester
Weymouth (A37)
Rest Area Cartgate Picnic Area
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
0.7 miles, 2 lanes 0.7 miles, 2 lanes
208.6 km Stoke sub Hamdon
Martock
Stoke sub Hamdon
Martock
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
1.1 miles, 2 lanes 1.1 miles, 2 lanes
210.3 km Crewkerne
A356
B3165


A356 Crewkerne
A356
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
0.7 miles, 2 lanes 0.7 miles, 2 lanes
211.6 km Bridge Way Drayton
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
0.6 miles, 2 lanes 0.6 miles, 2 lanes
212.6 km South Petherton
Andover
London A303
Yeabridge
Lower Stratton
Lopen
Ilminster

A303 (A358, M5)
WEST
Yeabridge
Ilminster
Lopen
Honiton
Exeter A303
Taunton (A358)
(M5 Link)
South Petherton
LanesLanesLanes Signs LanesLanesLanesLanes Signs
Routes

Picture credits