Wiltshire Travel Guide

Wilton House, Wiltshire - © John Goodall

Introduction & Overview

The Wiltshire Travel Guide looks at visitor attractions, places of interest for travellers and offers useful tourist information. The area guide includes travel information on local entertainment, sites, transport and travel, events, facts & figures, maps and accommodation.

The county of Wiltshire is located in south west England and is known for offering a bit of everything, from impressive historic homes to landscaped gardens, churches, countryside, world heritage sites and more.

The county is a scenic one and its landscape is likely to please visitors, the countryside here is a delight and known for being a walkers and cyclists paradise. There is a peaceful air to the beautiful countryside here and the calm atmosphere makes it very conducive as a place to enjoy a break.

The huge stone circle at Avebury is one of many ancient sites in Wiltshire, add to this the famous Stonehenge and Silbury Hill the largest man made mound in Europe and you have a place that is a history fans paradise. Few places in the UK have such a variety of ancient sites for tourists to visit.

Salisbury is the only city in Wiltshire, located in the south of the county the historic city includes a number of attractions for visitors to explore. The city was once famous for the cloth trade and as a major market town of the area; markets are still held on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Located at the confluence of five rivers, the city is well known for its historic cathedral.

Salisbury Cathedral is one of the best known and loved cathedrals in the UK. The 13th century cathedral building is noted for its English gothic architecture, whilst the spire is one of the best known sights in Salisbury, standing at over 400 feet high.

Other attractions include Mompesson House, The Wardrobe Military Museum and the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum.

The compact nature of Salisbury means it is convenient for visitors to explore many city attractions by foot. There are a mix of high street retailers and smaller independent shops, many of the shops are housed in historic buildings adding to the character and charm of the city.

One of the great things about shopping in Salisbury is the compact nature of the city centre – from major high street names to specialist independent retailers; nothing is ever more than a short stroll away.

Many of Salisbury’s shops are housed in historic half-timbered buildings, while the thriving Charter Market has been coming here every Tuesday* and Saturday for almost 800 years.

There are a choice of traditional pubs and inns in the city serving a choice of reasonably priced food and drinks. There are a choice of restaurants serving everything from traditional British to international cuisine.

The Market Square in the city has a number of pavement cafés and inviting tea shops where visitors can enjoy hot and cold drinks and a choice of tempting pastries and cakes.

The city has a thriving arts scene with the Salisbury Arts Centre and Playhouse hosting a number of productions throughout the year including dance, drama and music of different genres.

Salisbury is known for its gardens visitors can see a number of hanging baskets during the summer months, the city includes plenty of parkland with colourful gardens and quiet riverside settings offering a tranquil place for visitors to enjoy a walk or relax.

For those that like to explore and wonder around, there are many attractive villages in the area, including Castle Combe which is thought of as among the prettiest villages in England and was the setting for the film Doctor Dolittle.

Lacock is another pretty village; the village has been purchased by the National Trust and is now maintained aimed at conservation.

Stonehenge is a truly world famous site located in Wiltshire, this impressive prehistoric monument is of outstanding importance, has been designated a World Heritage Site. Stonehenge is surrounded by remains of ceremonial and domestic structures some of these are thought to be older than the monument.

Most of these features including earthworks, burial mounds and the other circular 'henge' monuments are accessible both by road or footpath.

Swindon is located 40 miles north of Salisbury; originally a Saxon settlement Swindon was a small market town up to the industrial revolution. During the industrial revolution and with the advent of the railways the town expanded.

The Old Town includes a number of historic buildings along with courtyards and alleyways maintaining the character of the area. The New Town is where modern day Swindon town centre is located.

Shopping facilities include the Parade and Brunel Centre in the town centre and the Swindon Designer Outlet located on the outskirts of the town. Shoppers can choose from a choice of well known names along with smaller independent stores and boutiques.

Swindon includes a number of eateries, bars, cafes and restaurants offering visitors a wide choice of food and drinks. Local attractions include the Museum of Computing, Swindon Art Gallery and Swindon Museum, the Swindon Arts Centre is an arts venue where visitors can see dramas, comedies and films.

Chippenham is located 35 miles north of Salisbury, the historic market town is thought to date back to pre Roman times. The town is surrounded by countryside and woodlands, providing a tranquil environment from which visitors can explore the town and its surrounding areas. Over the years the town has been home to the wool, cloth and agriculture industries.

Local attractions include the Buttercross located in the pedestrianised area of the town centre; visitors can find markets held here on Fridays and Saturdays. The town centre includes St Andrew's Chippenham Parish Church noted for its variety of features from different eras.

The Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre outlines the local history of the town from pre-historic times up to the present day with a range of interactive displays and artefacts.

Trowbridge is the county town of Wiltshire, located 30 miles north west of Salisbury close to Bath. The town developed as a centre for woollen cloth production during the 18th and 19th centuries leading it to be dubbed the ‘Manchester of the West’.

Local attractions include Trowbridge Museum showcasing the social and industrial history of the town and its people. The Shires Shopping Centre includes over 50 shops; it is housed inside the historic Salter’s Mill. The Civic Centre includes a multi-screen cinema and runs a number of arts programmes.

The town hosts an annual arts festival along with a biennial Cloth Road Arts Event. Trowbridge Park is located in the heart of the town and is the scene of a number of community and musical events and festivals.

Warminster is located 20 miles from Salisbury in the west of the county. The town dates back to the Anglo-Saxon period and historically was known for the cloth and wool industries along with a thriving corn market. The river Ware runs through the market town, in the town centre there are a number of historic buildings and impressive Georgian architecture.

Warminster town centre includes Market Place and the High Street where visitors can find a range of shops and amenities. There are a choice of traditional pubs, cafes, tea shops and restaurants catering for a range of tastes.

Lake Pleasure Grounds includes a boating lake, tennis courts, play area and the Smallbrook Meadows Nature Reserve provides a great place to enjoy a leisurely walk.

Royal Wootton Bassett is located in north Wiltshire 40 miles from Salisbury. The compact town has historically been a market town known for farming and agriculture. The town still holds weekly markets, farmers markets each month, includes a number of eateries and restaurants and a choice of independent shops.

Local attractions include the Wootten Bassett Museum, housed inside the historic timbered town hall that is a Grade II listed building. Inside visitors can see collections covering life in the town in the 19th and 20th centuries including a photographic collection, artefacts and geological items.

Other attractions include St Bartholomew and All Saints church, Wilts & Berks Canal that hosts boat events and Jubilee Lake located close by known as an area rich in bird life and is a nature reserve.

Wiltshire has plenty of attractions for visitors from historical to modern there is much to see and do in this historic part of England. Perhaps most famous for Stonehenge, the world heritage site, Wiltshire does have some charming places to visit in addition to its attractive countryside.

The county is well known as a beautiful county and a visit here will confirm why, there are a number of villages with their own character in the region and visitors can enjoy exploring the area and experiencing the friendly atmosphere.

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