Things to do in Wiltshire
The County of Wiltshire is situated at the gateway to the West Country, much of the County is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Few Counties in England can equal Wiltshire's ancient monuments and burial grounds, a unique feature of its mystical landscape.
Wiltshire is well known for the eight white horses carved into hillsides. You can enjoy the Wiltshire countryside by walking the White Horse Trail. Wiltshire offers the gentle pastime of canal boating along the Kennet and Avon Canal, the towpath is excellent for walking and cycling. Historic Churches and homes, beautiful gardens, adventure playgrounds and the world famous Safari Park at Longleat are just a few reasons to visit Wiltshire.
This is an area of wooded river valleys, rolling down land and picturesque villages. Among these are the film locations of Castle Combe, acclaimed as England's prettiest village and the National Trust village of Lacock. Chippenham is an ideal location for touring the area.
Swindon is the largest town in the county, where the history of Brunel's railway has been brought to life at STEAM - Museum of the Great Western Railway.
Tourist information is available in the town hall at Malmesbury, England's oldest borough; its history goes back 1500 years. The magnificent Norman Abbey and its gardens are well worth visiting.
Kennet is the heart of Wiltshire, encompassing many of the counties historic monuments. West Kennet Longbarrow, built around 3,500 BC, is one of Britain's largest Stone Age burial tombs.
Close to Marlborough is Silbury Hill a 132ft high man made hill, its purpose remains a mystery. The monument complex at Avebury is one of the greatest achievements of prehistoric Europe. The great stone circle and inner circles are surrounded by a massive bank and ditch, forming a 'henge' monument built around 2,700 BC. For an overview of the world's biggest stone circle visit the Alexander Kieller Museum on site.
Devizes, the central market town of Wiltshire, can boast of one of the largest castles in southern England. Devizes is home of the Caen Hill locks, a flight of 29 canal locks which rise over 237 feet over a three mile stretch.
Historic towns in the area, stand as a legacy to the era of the cloth trade that provided the varied architecture seen today.
Bradford on Avon is set on the banks of the River Avon, its bridge was constructed more than 400 years ago. The Church of St. Laurence is one of the most complete surviving Saxon churches in the country.
Melksham has a fascinating history; an attempt was made in 1815 to develop it as a spa town, although the enterprise was unsuccessful, some fine Regency building remains in the town.
Trowbridge is the County town of Wiltshire with a good shopping centre. The Courts Garden is a gem of an English country garden, well worth a visit. Nearby is Westonbirt Arboretum, with exotic trees from around the world and 18 miles of walks.
Popular towns in this part of the county include Salisbury, Amesbury and Mere. The massive Iron Age hillfort of Old Sarum is the site of the original City of Salisbury. The fort was used by the Romans, Saxons and Normans and grew into one of the most flourishing settlements in medieval England.
Today Salisbury is a thriving tourist centre, the magnificent Cathedral has the tallest spire in England. The city has many fine historic buildings, the world's oldest working clock and one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta. Visitors are also drawn to the city because of its proximity to the World Heritage site Stonehenge.
Days out in Wiltshire
Avebury Manor and Garden
Known as one of Britain's top topiary sites, Avebury Manor in Wiltshire was built on the site of a 12th-century Benedictine Priory.
Avebury Stone Circle
Famously overshadowed by its better known neighbour, Stonehenge, the Avebury Stone Circle has a great deal to offer. Dating back some 4,500 years it is a thought-provoking structure.
Bowood House & Gardens
People come again and again to rediscover the enchantment of Bowood - a family stately home embracing a whole world of fascination in the splendour of a bygone age.
Buscot and Coleshill Estates
A visit to the Buscot and Coleshill estates nets you not one National Trust property, but two whole working communities.
Castle Combe Circuit
Since its opening in 1950, some of the most famous names in motor racing have left their tyre tracks around Castle Combe's challenging tarmac.
The Courts is a peaceful family garden with its roots in the past. From the bustling high street of Holt, you pass through an unassuming gateway into a quiet corner.
Great Chalfield Manor and Garden
It is hard to find a more delightful example of a medieval manor house than Great Chalfield Manor, surrounded by its seven acres of splendid Arts and Crafts gardens.
Lacock Abbey has frequently been used as the setting for such classic films as Emma, Pride and Prejudice and Robin Hood.
Longleat Safari and Adventure Park is just getting bigger and better with more exciting things to see this year!
Lydiard House & Park
Lydiard Park, the ancestral home of the Viscounts Bolingbroke, lies in beautiful parkland within easy reach of junction 16 on the M4. The Palladian house, church, formal parkland and surrounding pasture are the striking remains of a great estate.
Sharing the Close in Salisbury with the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral overlooking the Choristers' Green, the grand Mompesson House with its Queen Anne facade looks quite at home in this quiet backwater of Old Sarum.
The great earthwork of Old Sarum stands near Salisbury on the edge of Wiltshire's chalk plains. Its mighty ramparts were raised in about 500 BC by Iron Age people and later occupied by the Romans.
Old Wardour Castle
Beautifully sited beside a lake, Old Wardour Castle was built in the late 14th century by John Lord Lovel as a lightly fortified but showy and luxurious residence.
Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
Let Salisbury Museum take you on a journey through one of the most fascinating areas of Britain.
Salisbury Cathedral is a building of world importance. Set within the elegant splendour of the Cathedral Close it is probably the finest medieval building in Britain.
The pre-historic megalithic monument known as Stonehenge stands shrouded in myth, mystery and legend. Stonehenge can be found in Wessex, in the south west of England.
You do not have to travel as far as you might expect to see the Temple of Apollo and the Pantheon - Stourhead has miniature versions of both!
Westwood Manor is a particularly delightful day out for those interested in Gothic and Jacobean architecture, early musical instruments and English Civil War armour.
Wilton house, 450 year old home to the Earl of Pembroke, provides a fascinating insight into British history.
Places to Visit in Wiltshire
set in an area of Wiltshire that's steeped in tradition and mysticism, Alton Barnes has become something of a centre for crop circle spotting in recent years.
The village of Beckhamtpton lies just off the roundabout where the A4 meets the A361. You would be forgiven, should you miss it, buried as it is behind a wall of trees.
Bradford-on-Avon is an unspoilt market town in west Wiltshire, close to the border with Somerset and eight miles southeast of Bath.
Once named the prettiest village in England, Castle Combe is a small and charming village in Wiltshire, six miles north west of Chippenham.
Chilton Foliat is an ancient settlement, going back to Saxon times, and beyond. The village is situated by the River Kennet, some 3 km north west of Hungerford.
Chippenham is an attractive market town that is an ideal base for exploring Wiltshire
Coombe Bissett is a village and Civil Parish in the English county of Wiltshire. It is a village in the River Ebble valley. Coombe Bissett has a pub "The Fox & Goose", and a church "St Michael and All Angels"
The historic Wiltshire town of Devizes is situated 11 miles east of Trowbridge. It is surrounded by stunning countryside and pretty villages.
Set in almost the heart of Salisbury Plain, Figheldean is a quiet tranquil place that offers peace and quiet and unrivalled views of the surrounding plain.
Lydiard Millicent is a small village and parish in the far North-East corner of Wiltshire, it is part of the District of North Wiltshire, but is close to the western edge of the Borough of Swindon.
Market Lavington is a large, friendly and thriving village on the northern slopes of Salisbury Plain, about five miles south of Devizes.
Marlborough is a historic town in Wiltshire, midway between Calne and Hungerford.
Melksham is a historic Wiltshire town, with lots of interesting buildings and enjoyable walks by the River Avon.
Rushall is an ancient settlement set next to the River Avon in Wiltshire's beautiful Pewsey Vale.
Salisbury is an important cathedral city in south east Wiltshire, bordering on the Salisbury Plain. This strategic point beside the confluence of several rivers was the site of Neolithic settlement at the area known as Old Sarum.
Swindon is a large Wiltshire town on the north side of the M4 between Bristol and Reading.
Warminster is Wiltshire, southwest of Salisbury Plain. It sits on the River Were and is a charming leafy town of 17,000 residents.
The Wiltshire town of Westbury is most famous for its White Horse carved into the chalk hillside. Just above the White Horse is the site of an Iron Age hill fort.
Yatebury is now a small village nestling at the foot of the Marlbrogh Downs, betwen Beckhampton and Calne.