Malmesbury is rightly called the "Queen of Hilltop Towns" being England's oldest borough with a rich history over 1000 years. Set on a hill, circled by the River Avon, the skyline is dominated by the imposing Norman Abbey. St Aldhelm found a monastery in the 7th century which became a place of pilgrimage and learning and in the 10th Century Athelstan, first King of all England, made Malmesbury his capital.
In 1010 Monk Eilmer made wings and "flew" from the abbey. He glided for 200 yards before landing and breaking his legs, blaming the lack of a tail for the short flight.
The town flourished in the 15th, 16th and 17th Centuries as a weaving centre and became known for its fine silk and lace.
The historical sites of the town, the fine 15th century Market Cross, the Old Courtroom and Almshouses, narrow medieval streets, quaint alleyways and the riverwalk with amusing tales of the town's colourful past and personalities, can easily be discoved on foot.
Internationally renowned, Abbey House Gardens offer a romantic and unique oasis in the centre of town.
Many of the town's restaurants and shops serve succulent, locally produced produce in atmospheric surroundings. Unusual, independent retail outlets offer plenty of shopping opportunities.
A varied range of events are hosted by the town, from Farmer's Markets to the Summer Carnival in August, and frequent conerts in the wonderful surroundings of the Abbey.
Parking & Transport
- Car Parks
Towns & Villages
- Information Centre
- Village shop
Map & Directions
North of M4 Junction 17 on the A429.
Public Transport Directions
Nearest Railway stations at Chippenham or Kemble, with direct services from London. Local bus services, and taxis available.