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Things to do in Warminster, Wiltshire

Market Street © Geoffrey Kneale

Warminster is in Wiltshire, southwest of Salisbury Plain. It sits on the River Were and is a charming leafy town of 17,000 residents. Its origins go back to Saxon times although the remains of ancient hill forts testify to a much older settlement here.

The town prospered in the Middle Ages from its wool trade and consequently it has some fine historic buildings. It had a busy corn market and many of the old buildings in the town would have been built as storehouses for grain. The old inns accommodated the buyers and sellers who visited Warminster to trade corn.

The town has an impressive Minster Church dedicated to Saint Denys which dates back to the 14th century. It is surrounded by yews in the churchyard which were often planted to ward off evil spirits. The trees are so old they probably pre-date Christian times. The church has a splendid organ which was originally intended for Salisbury Cathedral.

Throughout the 17th century Warminster had a bell foundry, run from 1620-1686 by John Lott. Presumably this was a father and son of the same name. John Lott cast bells for Warminster Tower and many other churches in the area. Churchwarden accounts at Frome Church show John Lott certainly worked on the bells there.

Warminster was a major coaching centre in its day and the Anchor Inn, the Bath Arms and the Old Bell Inn date back to that era.

In more recent history the area around Cradle Hill was where many UFO sightings and a spate of crop circles were reported.



Present Day Warminster

Warminster has strong links with the military as it is the base for the School of Infantry, now known as the Warminster Training Centre.

This largely residential town has some beautiful Bath and Chilmark stone buildings in its old town centre which give the town great charm and class. The town centre has an eclectic mix of shops in the old buildings.

The Town Hall is particularly interesting as it was built by the Marquis of Bath in 1837 as a copy of one wing of Longleat House. As well as St Denys Church, the 13th century St. Lawrence Chapel and Warminster School are all worth admiring architecturally.



Things to do in Warminster

The stately home of Longleat is at Warminster and its grounds are a popular attraction. As well as offering a drive-through safari park with roaming lions, other exotic animals such as tigers, hippos, giraffes can also be seen. Longleat has a railway, boat rides, a magnificent house and formal gardens landscaped by Capability Brown

.

Surrounded by beautiful countryside, Warminster makes an excellent base for walkers and cyclists. Energetic hikers will certainly enjoy the climb to the top of Cley Hill to reach the remains of the Iron Age fort. Alfred's Tower on Kingsettle Hill marks where King Alfred the Great raised his standard against the Danes in 878 and also offers excellent local views

.

Warminster is a good base for visiting other interesting towns such as Bath and Bradford-on-Avon, 10 miles away. It is 17 miles from Stonehenge, which is an important place to visit along with the larger stone circle at Avebury.

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Images of Warminster


Masonic Hall © Geoffrey Kneale
Market Street © Geoffrey Kneale
The Hall © Geoffrey Kneale
Warminster Town Hall © Geoffrey Kneale
Baptist Church © Geoffrey Kneale
The Chinns © Geoffrey Kneale
Masonic Hall © Geoffrey Kneale



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Things To Do in Warminster



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