Wiltshire is a beautiful county with sleepy villages, thriving market towns and big skies everywhere. At least half of Wiltshire has been designated an area of outstanding beauty and it’s a great place to get up and out and spend the day following trails, walking or cycling along canal tow paths, exploring the Salisbury Plains or the beautiful Savernake Forest.
Wiltshire is full of ancient ruins, the most impressive of which has to be Stonehenge and while you’re kept at a safe distance behind a cordon, it’s still pretty awe-inspiring and worth a visit. Avebury Stone Circle is another one to visit and while you’re there you can take in Avebury Manor and Garden. Close by you’ll find Cholderton Charlie’s Farm, with daily pig racing, soft play, animal handling and horses - if the ones carved into the chalk hillsides aren’t enough for you.
While Wiltshire has a slower pace of life, that doesn’t stop the good shops from arriving and nowhere is prettier to indulge in some retail therapy than the market town of Marlborough. It boasts one of the widest high streets in the UK and is filled twice a week with market stalls. Pop into The Polly Tea Rooms, whose interiors haven’t changed much since it first opened in 1912 and spoil the kids with huge slabs of cake.
Longleat and Monkeyworld remain firmly on the map and Studley Grange Butterfly World near Wroughton is an easy way to spend some time.
Some of the best great houses are here; Stourhead with its stunning vistas, beautiful grounds and house is always worth a trip – it’s run by the National Trust and has a huge café for when you’ve done the rounds. Bowood House and grounds is worth visiting for the fantastic adventure playground alone and for diehard steam enthusiasts, young and old, head to the Steam Museum of the Great Western Railway in Swindon.