Wiltshire Attractions

Wiltshire offers visitors a choice of local attractions in the county, visitors can see a range of interesting and charming places to discover. The county includes a number of historic houses and buildings, world heritage sites, gardens and parks, galleries, theatre, concerts and events. Wiltshire’s location in south west England means the tranquil English countryside and the great outdoors are all within reach located close to local towns and villages with a range of things to see and do in the county.

We have outlined a number of interesting attractions and places to visit for visitors to Wiltshire, these include:

Longleat House is set within 900 acres of parkland landscaped by the famous Capability Brown. The house is thought of as one of the best examples of high Elizabethan architecture in Britain and among the most beautiful stately homes in the UK. In 1949 the house became the first to open its doors to the public on a fully commercial basis, a very radical idea at the time. Then in 1966 Longleat opened the first Safari Park outside of Africa, at the time there was a huge furore caused by this, nonetheless it went ahead, another pioneering move. The drive through safari park has proved to be a big hit and the Longleat Safari Park remains one of the country’s leading wildlife attractions.

Longleat has a wide array of attractions to suit visitors of all ages these include the Safari Boats for a sea-lion escorted cruise, enjoy a fun-packed ride on the Longleat Railway, Longleat Hedge Maze and the Adventure Castle with these attractions in addition to the impressive house and safari park, it does represent a great day out for the whole family to enjoy.

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.

Stonehenge's orientation on the rising and setting sun has always been one of its great features and there has been much debate and discussion this. Some feel those that built it came from a sun-admiring culture, whilst others say the circle and its banks were part of a huge astrological calendar, this is open to debate and interpretation. There is a gift shop for those souvenirs. An audio tour available is available in several languages.

The world heritage site at Avebury has been a world heritage site since 1986 along with the Stonehenge site. The site at Avebury has a lower profile than its counterpart at Stonehenge; however it is an impressive site in its own right and could be argued to be the more complex of the two, both sites are well worth a visit.

It is thought the Avebury site was built around 2850 BC to 2200 BC; the site has been altered several times over the years. There is a museum located close by that displays archaeological collections and a number of galleries. The site includes six key prehistoric monuments, the key monuments are, Avebury Henge and Stone Circles, Silbury Hill, Windmill Hill, West Kennet Long Barrow, West Kennet Avenue and the Sanctuary. The true meaning of these large prehistoric sites covering a large area in what may have been considered a sacred landscape has fascinated and baffled many experts and visitors in equal measure over the years and as yet there is still no definitive answer.

Salisbury Cathedral is one of the UK's best loved cathedrals and its traditional sight is a majestic one evoking thoughts of all that is good of traditional buildings and the ancient towns. The cathedral building is noted for the use of dark purbeck marble in its columns. The cathedral has a sparse, uncluttered elegant feel to it, a highlight are the 13th century cloisters that exhibit a Geometric style. The spire is one of the best known sights in Salisbury, standing at over 400 feet high.

Lacock is a scenic village located in rural Wiltshire close to Chippenham. The village has been purchased by the National Trust and is now maintained aimed at conservation. Lacock also has an abbey and is home to Francis Fox-Talbot, one of the innovators responsible for the modern photography. There is also a museum of photography outside the gates of the Abbey. Highlights include Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum and the Abbey Grounds where visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll among seasonal flowers, trees and borders. This charming village makes for an enjoyable trip.

Stourhead Gardens are located close to the town of Mare in Wiltshire; they were made by a well to do English banker who had been buying artworks in Italy when he inherited the Stourhead estate. The Temple of Flora at Stourhead was made in 1745 and the grotto subsequently in 1748. In 1754 the lake and the Pantheon were made. The Pantheon is based on the one in Rome whilst the planned walk through the estate is based around the journey of Rome's founder, Aeneas. Thus the Italian influence is there to see, Gothic features were added, and the Stourhead woods were given more exotic species in the twentieth century.

The Palladian Mansion includes impressive collections of furniture and paintings, the large imposing rooms are ornately designed and decorated. A tour through the gardens will lead visitors to many attractions on the estate including the Palladian Bridge, Rock arch, The Ice House, the Grotto, the Pantheon and the Temple of Flora. The Stourhead estate is 2,650 acres in size and includes plenty of attractions for visitors to explore in a scenic setting.

Visitors an interest in the arts can visit the Salisbury Playhouse that is located in the Grade II listed St Edmunds Church building in Salisbury. The arts centre provides a welcoming environment presenting to the public the best touring theatre, family events and dance, it also has regular film screenings and music gigs for fans of music. There are workshops throughout the year, these are popular and include sessions in dance, drama, pottery and visual arts and crafts among others. The gallery space contains a wide range of exhibits and there is a café and bar on site too. This provides an ideal meeting and eating point throughout the day.

Walkers will enjoy the excellent walks that can be done along the Kennet and Avon Canal; here the towpath has been turned into a waterside trail. For those in search of longer walks the Ridgeway Path that starts near Avebury and stretches north-east into Buckinghamshire is worth a look. The Ridgeway has been used as a trail for many years and it passes close by to a number of ancient sites.

It is recommended that prior to visiting Wiltshire; visitors do their research and ensure any sights and attractions they plan on visiting are actually open on the days you intend on coming. The transport is also worth checking as maintenance and engineering works can mean a restricted service on public transport and the road network.

Wiltshire is a county that offers visitors with a mix of towns and historic market villages including a number of picturesque locations in the rural Wiltshire countryside. The city of Salisbury along with Swindon and Trowbridge offer an ideal place from which to explore the county, local attractions and charming market towns and villages ensuring visitors can enjoy both the urban and rural when visiting the county.

The county includes a number of well known attractions including the World Heritage Sites at Stonehenge and Avebury, Longleat House and Salisbury Cathedral. Wiltshire’s attractions ensure visitors can enjoy a short break, weekend away or a longer stay here.

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