The pretty village of Avebury is host to one of the largest and oldest known prehistoric stone circles in the world. So large, in fact, that its wide arc of tall standing stones encircles a large part of the village itself. The site's construction is believed to predate Stonehenge.
This internationally important megalithic monument is easily accessible from the A4361 (main road from Swindon to Devices), which runs through the centre of the site. The Alexander Keiller Museum is located in a 17th century threshing barn, near the middle of the site. The museum contains an exhibition that tells the detailed archaeological story of the monument, using finds from excavations of the site by archaeologist Alexander Keiller.
One mile south of Avebury (on the A4) looms the flat-topped cone of Silbury Hill, the largest artificial mound in Europe, which dates back to around 2500 BC. The purpose of this ancient grass covered mound is still unknown to this day. Also located nearby is the West Kennet Long Barrow, dating from around 2000 BC. It is believed to have been used for burials over a period of 300 years.
For more details visit our page on the Village of Avebury.
Elizabethan manor house set in a beautiful medieval style walled garden, with formal beds, clipped topiary, a dovecote and an Italianate walkway. The interior is authentically decorated with period panelling, ornate plaster work and collections of porcelain and antique furniture. Run by National Trust*
Opening times: House: Apr~Oct,
Sun-Tue, 2pm to 4.40pm, BH Mon 2pm to 5.30pm. Garden:
Apr~Oct daily (ex Wed & Thu) 11am to 5pm. Admission
Location: Avebury High Street - SN8 1RF - Tel: 01672 539250 - Website
An impressive 168ft, 14th century, tithe barn, originally built for Shaftesbury Abbey. The beautiful stone slate root is supported by massive oak beams and a complex network of rafters.
Opening times: all year, daily 10.30am to 4pm (closed Xmas) Free Entry
Location: Bradford-on-Avon (south of town centre) - Website
A fine 17th century house part designed by architect Robert Adam. It was here in 1774 that Dr Joseph Priestley discovered the existence of oxygen. The house is surrounded by elegant terraced gardens, leading to a 40-acre lake and extensive landscaped parkland, laid out in 1760 by Capability Brown.
Opening times: House: mid Apr~Oct, daily 11am to 6pm.
Gardens: 6 weeks during mid Apr to early Jun, 11am to 6pm Admission Charge
Location: Calne - SN11 O1Z - Tel: 01249 812102 - Website
Brokerswood is a beautiful country park, with nature walks that lead through over 80 acres of woodlands, with a lake containing wildfowl, plus a third of a mile long woodland railway.
Opening times: daily 10am to 5pm (closed over Xmas period). Admission Charge
Location: Brokerswood BA13 4EH - Tel: 01373 822238 - Website
Known to the Romans and a favourite hunting grounds for Norman and Medieval kings, this ancient forest once stretched to the eastern edge of Salisbury.
A privately owned Elizabethan manor. Built in 1582, it was later purchased by the Methuen family in the 18th century to house their extensive collection of paintings and statues, which are still on show within. The house also contains some splendid furniture by Chippendale, Adam, Cobb and Johnson. The surrounding parkland was designed by Capability Brown, and the garden contains many flowering shrubs, herbaceous borders, plus a Georgian bath house.
Opening times: 20th Mar~Sep daily
(ex Mon & Fri), includes BHs, 2pm to 5.30pm; Oct~Mar
open weekends only 2pm to 4.30pm (closed Xmas) Admission
Location: Corsham, SN13 OBZ - Tel: 01249 701610 - Website
A charming English country garden, with a network of stone paths, yew hedges, pools and long herbaceous borders. The magnificent arboretum is under planted with spring bulbs. The peaceful water gardens are planted with lilies and irises. Run by National Trust* (House not open to public)
Opening times: 29 Mar to 15 Oct, daily (ex Wed) 11am to 5.30pm Admission Charge
Location: Holt, Wiltshire BA14 6RR - Tel: 01225 782875 - Website
The oldest working steam beam engines in the world, built in 1812 Boulton and Watt and 1845 by Harveys of Hale. The Cornish beam engines are still housed in their original building, the Crofton pumping station, located on the Kennet and Avon Canal. Trips along the canal are available on narrow boats at steam weekends.
In nearby Wilton is a fully restored working windmill, built in 1821. In the working season (Easter to September) milled flour can be bought at the windmill shop, during opening hours.
Opening times: daily 6 Apr-Sep, 10.30 to 5pm Admission Charge
Location: Crofton, Marlborough SN8 3DW - Tel: 01672 870300 - Website
Children's adventure farm, set in 40 acres, with farm animals to feed, ponds, inside (all weather) and outside play areas, exhibitions, tractor rides etc.
Opening times: 15 Mar to 5 Nov, daily 10am to 6pm (wknds only in winter) Admission Charge
Location: Teffont Magna SP3 5QY - Tel: 01722 716338 - Website
A beautiful mellow stone house and out-buildings built in 1410 and restored in the 1920s. A small 13th century church is also located next to the house, all of which is encircled by a moat. Inside the house is a two story great hall with unusual squints (spy holes), hidden behind stones masks. Run by the National Trust*
Opening times: Apr~Oct, Tue-Thu & Sun, guided tours only Admission Charge
Location: Bradford-on-Avon SN12 8NH - Tel: 01225 782239 - Website
The 16th century house and its 8 acres of beautiful gardens, which spread along the banks of the River Avon, have remained unchanged over the centuries. The formal hedged and walled gardens contain a varied collection of plants, shrubs and musk roses. There is also a tranquil Japanese water garden.
Opening times: Feb~Oct, Wed to Sun & Bh Mon, 10am to 5pm Admission Charge
Location: Middle Woodford, Wiltshire SP4 6NT, Tel: 01722 782504 - Website
The Kennet and Avon Canal is a major UK waterway running from Reading to Bristol - joining the navigable sections of the Kennet and Avon Rivers into a single course. The waterway runs for almost 90 miles, with over 100 locks, two aqueducts and a tunnel. The canal passes through some of the most pleasant scenery in Southern England, including the elegant city of Bath. The waterway also has two historical pumping stations, including the Crofton steam pumping engines near Marlborough.
The canal is popular with pleasure craft and there are several boatyards where boats can be purchased, serviced or hired for short breaks. For example, the Boatyard at Hilperton operates a self-drive dayboat.
Location: The Boatyard, Hilperton. Tel: 01225 710017 - Website.
Lacock Abbey is a secular building, built from the remains of a major monastery. The monk's cloister in particular has been adapted to make a charming country house. The abbey also houses a museum, which retells the story of the father of modern photography 'William Fox Talbot'. Run by National Trust*
Walking around the tiny village of Lacock is like taking a step back in time, as many of the medieval buildings have changed little over the centuries. The village and abbey buildings have been used as film locations for many years - most recently for 'Harry Potter'.
Opening times: Mar~Oct, daily 11am to 5.30pm (Abbey closed Tuesdays and Good Fri)
Admission Charge to museum
Location: Laycock SN15 21G - Tel: 01249 730227 (abbey) 730459 - Website
Created as a Victorian public pleasure park in 1880, by General Pitt Rivers. The gardens contain an eclectic mix of ornate buildings, temples, statues and other unusual structures, set in a lush garden of magnificent trees, luxurious shrubs, lawns, meadows, ponds and wooded glades.
Opening times: times vary see website or call for details Admission Charge
Location: Tollard Royal, Wiltshire SP5 5PT, Tel: 01725 516971 - Website
One of England's most beautiful Elizabethan style stately homes. This ancestral home of the Thynne family was built by Sir John Thynne circa 1580. The internal decor is mainly 19th century, with Flemish tapestries, fine French furniture and elaborate ceilings by John Dibblee Crace. The 900 acres of grounds and parkland were famously landscaped by 'Capability' Brown.
The main visitor attraction is the safari park - the first of its kind in Britain. The park is home to hundreds of wild animals that roam in the natural woodland and parkland surrounding the house, including Longleat's famous pride of lions. Other attractions include a Hedge Maze, Adventure Castle, Jungle Kingdom, narrow gauge Railway, Pet Zoo, children's rides and a boating lake.
Opening times: daily Apr till 5 Nov, from 10am (closing times vary) Admission Charge
Location: Longleat BA12 7NW - Tel: 01985 844400 - Website
Ruins of an early Normal castle. The medieval earthworks still remain topped by the crumbling flint walls of a later royal hunting palace. The stump of a medieval cross still stands in the main village street.
Opening times: at any reasonable time Free Entry
Location: Ludgershall SP11 9QR - Run by English Heritage - Website
A 56 acre hill fort (2 miles north of Salisbury) containing the abandoned medieval town of Old Sarum. This once bustling town was occupied from the Iron Age up until the 16th century. Visitors to the site can view the ruins of a Norman castle, old cathedral and bishop's palace. The site was abandoned due to water shortages and the occupants moved further south to build the city of New Sarum (or Salisbury). Spectacular views are available from the forts ramparts across the Wiltshire countryside to the 'new' cathedral in the centre of Salisbury.
Opening times: times vary see website or call for details Admission Charge
Location: 2 miles north of Salisbury SP1 3SD, Tel: 01722 335398 - Website
The romantic ruins of this 14th century castle stand in landscaped grounds within a beautiful lakeside setting. Scenes from Robin Hood, Price of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner were filmed here. The castle interior can be explored and visitors can climb the turrets for breathtaking views over the Wiltshire countryside. Run by English Heritage*
Opening times: times vary see website or call for details Admission Charge*
Location: Tilsbury SP3 6RR - Tel: 01747 870487 - Website
A beautiful 19th century Italianate garden with terraces, statues and ponds, situated in an idyllic setting in the Frome Valley. Concerts and Operas are often performed in the gardens and cloisters on Sunday afternoons from mid-summer to August.
Opening times: May~Sep, Tue-Thu, Sat & Sun. Apr & Oct open Sun only 2pm to 5pm.
(closed Mon & Fri ex BH Mons) Admission Charge
Location: Iford Manor, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 2BA - Tel: 01225 863146 - Website
Located 12 miles (19 km) north of Salisbury City, the plain is a vast area of chalk grassland that supports a broad range of wildlife, many species of which are on the endangered list. A large area of the plain has now been designated as a Special Area Conservation (SAC) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The area is owned by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and used for military maneuvers. Access to many areas is therefore restricted and visitors and walkers must stick to the way marked routes.
Stretching over 4,000 acres, Savernake Forest just to the east of Marlborough, is a lovely place for nature walks. It was once the largest forest in Britain, covering some 40,000 acres, and a favourite hunting grounds for Norman kings. The ancient woodland is still privately owned and was restored and partly landscaped in the 18th century by Capability Brown, who created several grand tree lined avenues through the forest. Also scattered among the deep woods are green glades and open scrubland, laden with wildflowers such as primrose, anemone and wood sorrel. Among the forest's fauna are fallow, roe and muntjac deer, which can often be seen feeding at dusk in quiet places.
Located in the centre of Swindon, in the old Brunel workshops, this railway museum provides a fascinating day out for both children and steam train enthusiasts alike. The various exhibits tell the story of Britain's Great Western Railway, including several world famous locomotives, archive film footage and a reconstructed station platform that recreates the glamour and excitement of the golden age of steam.
Opening times: daily 10am to
5pm (closed Xmas) Admission Charge
Location: Kemble Drive, Swindon SN2 2TA - Tel: 01793 466646 - Website
Probably Britain's best known and greatest prehistoric monument. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. What remains on the site today are the substantial remains of the last in a series of henges erected between around 2000 BC. Run by English Heritage*
Opening times: times vary, see
website or call for details Admission Charge*
Location: SP4 7DE - Tel: 01980 624715 - Website
Stourhead was one of the first great houses to be built in the Georgian style. The magnificent Palladian mansion was designed by Colen Campbell and completed in 1722. Stourhead's beautiful landscape gardens are some of the most visited in England. Designed by Henry Hoare II and laid-out in the 18th century to represent the idealised landscapes seen in the paintings of Claude Lorrain and Gaspar Poussin. The garden contains various classical temples, statues and stone bridges set around a central sweeping lake, providing a series of magnificent vistas that change as you walk around its pathways. Much of the original garden layout still survives, to which has been added an even larger collection of exotic trees and shrubs. Run by National Trust*
Opening times: Garden open all year 9am to 7pm (or dusk) Admission Charge*
Location: Stourhead BA12 6QD - Tel: 01747 841152 - Website
Located in the charming village of Stourton, the Stourton House boasts more than four acres of beautifully maintained flower gardens. Visitors can follow the many grass paths that lead through unusual plants and exotic flowers. The garden provides spectacular colour in every season from collections of daffodils, to delphiniums and hydrangeas. The grounds are a haven for a wide variety of birds, butterflies and other wildlife.
Opening times: vary, call for details Admission Charge
Location: Stourton, Warminster, Wiltshire BA12 6QF - Tel: 01747 840417
Packed with lots of fun and family friendly attractions. Including a tropical Butterfly World with hundreds of free flying butterflies, crazy golf, model railway, children's soft play area and a Craft Village that provides regular workshops for children.
Opening times: daily from 10am (closed Xmas) - Admission Charge
Location: StudleyGrange Garden and Leisure Park, Hay Lane, Wroughton, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN4 9QT - Tel: 01793 852400 - Website
Originally built in the late 15th-century, this fine small stone manor house was updated in the early 17th century. It has late Gothic and Jacobean windows and fine decorative plasterwork. Within there is much fine period furniture and some 17/18th-century tapestries. It is adjoined by a beautiful topiary garden. Run by National Trust*
Opening times: Apr~Sep, Tue, Wed & Sun, 2pm to 5pm Admission Charge*
Location: Westwood BA15 2AF - Tel: 01225 863374 - Website
The chalk hills in Wiltshire have several horses (and other shapes) carved into the grass surface of the hillside so that the underlying chalk shows through. The oldest is located on the north-west scarp of Salisbury Plain. There are also two in Pewsey Vale, one on Hackpen Hill, one on the downs above Broadtown, one on hill above Cherhill and one near Marlborough.
Once home to the Earls of Pembroke for some 400 years, this fabulous Palladian mansion is rich in historic associations, with visitors such as Shakespeare and Charles I. Built in 1540 by 1st Earl of Pembroke, its magnificent south front was added in the 17th century with designs by Indigo Jones, who also designed the 8 splendid state rooms. However, it's piece de resistance is the exquisite Double Cube Room, whose decorations and proportions have never ceased to amaze visitor.
The traditional and modern gardens remain fabulous throughout all seasons and are a delight to visit at any time of year.
Part of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, woodhenge is an ancient Neolithic monument dating from approx 2300 BC. The site consisted of 6 concentric oval rings of timber posts (marked today by concrete posts). The long axis of the site points to the rising sun on Midsummer Day. Run by English Heritage.
Opening times: all reasonable times Free Entry
Location: 1.5 miles north of Amesbury - Website
Please note that the above information was accurate at the time this page was last updated. This information is subject to change at any time (opening times in particular), therefore if you plan on visiting any of the above attractions, please check the owner's website first or phone them for the latest details.