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Visit Wiltshire Blog

Walking in Wiltshire

9 reasons to go walking in Wiltshire

Wiltshire is blessed with many walking routes, suitable for those who prefer a short ramble in the countryside to those who are looking for a challenge. Here, we give you nine reasons why you should walk in Wiltshire.

Roses at Abbey House Gardens

Roses, Ruins and Royalty – A summer’s walk around Malmesbury

Wanting to make the most of the Great British summer, I decided to head off and discover the historic market town of Malmesbury and explore the beautiful Abbey House Gardens.
From the very moment I walked towards St John’s Bridge on the entrance to the town, I sensed this place had many of tales to tell. The architecture of the Avon Mills building, former cloth and silk mills built in 1793 by a clothier named Francis Hill and the surrounding Cotswold stone townhouses lining the High Street, clearly reflecting Malmesbury’s trade and industrial heritage.

John Blake

A spotlight on John Blake, Marlborough College

I joined Marlborough College as the Director of Enterprise in July 2014. I am responsible for revenue generation from events such as Summer School and our new School of English and Culture for unaccompanied overseas teenagers, our retail operations and the hiring out of our sports facilities.

West Amesbury

Exploring Amesbury and villages

Many people know of Amesbury due to its close proximity to Stonehenge. In fact, the town is only two miles from the iconic site and in addition to the World Heritage Site, there is an interesting history to be found in and around the town.

Cosy Club dessert

7 totally scrummy-looking desserts to try in Wiltshire

Who doesn’t love a dessert? After watching far too much MasterChef over the past few months, it’s got us inspired to find out more about some of the tantalising desserts that are on offer around the county. Take a look at these beauties…

Castle Hill, Mere

An exploration of Mere

Mere is often one of those places I’ve been meaning to stop by at but haven’t had the time. Like many people, I’ve passed it plenty of times on my way to and from the West Country and to nearby Stourhead. I decided that I was going to change this, particularly as from the passing bits of the town that I have seen I have been very impressed.

Red Lion Freehouse

Top spots to enjoy some alfresco dining

When the weather’s fine, there’s nothing better than sitting outside with a glass of wine in your hand and enjoying the fresh air over some food.

Here’s a handy guide giving you some of the top spots to enjoy alfresco dining in Wiltshire and reasons why you should book a table now!

Bowood

Spring in Wiltshire: from our fans’ perspective

You may have seen that we are currently running a competition on Instagram and Twitter to win a break to Wiltshire. The competition runs until the end of June and is encouraging our visitors to use #timeforwiltshire and #wiltshirespring in their social posts.

Corsham (C) Andy Rose

A photographic treasure hunt of Corsham

When visiting our historic towns and villages it’s always worth taking time to stop, pause and look up at some of our buildings. Often you’ll see a wealth of features that you could quite easily miss.

Stars

Top spots for stargazing in Wiltshire

On a clear evening, there’s nothing better than a spot of stargazing. Wiltshire being a predominantly rural county lends itself to stargazing with the advantage of less light pollution than more urban areas.

Chalke Valley History Festival

9 summer scorchers this June

June makes a great time of year to make a Wiltshire escape and with some fantastic events taking place this month, there are even more reasons to visit.

Alton Priors (C) Diane Neale LRPS

Top 10 churches to visit in Wiltshire

Like many parts of the UK, there are plenty of historic churches here in Wiltshire. These sometime overlooked buildings are often heritage gems in beautiful locations with their stories of the past to tell. We’ve teamed up with The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) to give you the top 10 of their Wiltshire-based churches to visit and reasons why…

Hillbrush

Fun for all the family this half term

Wiltshire’s May half term will this year take place from 29 May until 2 June. If you are looking for things to do with the children over this week and the weekends either side then this handy guide will be able to help you.

Paul McLean

A spotlight on: Bowood Golf Pro, Paul McLean

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Bowood I am originally from Middlesbrough and started working at Bowood in 1997 having moved back to the UK from Bahrain where I learned to play golf o..

Wildflowers

A tour of the wildflower meadows at Clattinger Farm

Clattinger Farm forms part of the Lower Moor Farm complex of nature reserves owned and managed by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. 

I joined the Trust for one of their guided walks, highlighting the Snakeshead Fritillaries which dominate some of the meadows here in April. Many people flock to nearby Cricklade to see these delicate flowers but Clattinger Farm is another fine example of wildflower meadows.

Salisbury Cathedral Graffiti

Salisbury Cathedral Graffiti Tour

If you’ve ever joined Salisbury Cathedral for one of their Tower Tours then you will have probably seen a fair bit of ancient graffiti as you approach the base of the spire.

Cathedral guide, Steve Dunn (with his team of approximately 60 volunteers) has recently launched a three year project aimed at recording the various marks left on the building over the centuries which will soon be able to be explored on a guided tour.

Breakfast

What makes the perfect breakfast?

It’s claimed to be the most important meal of the day so we asked some of our local bed and breakfast providers here in Wiltshire what they think makes the perfect breakfast. Warning – reading on might make you hungry!

Iford Manor

A spring visit to The Peto Garden

I always love visiting Iford Manor’s Peto Garden, it’s a great place to enjoy some tranquillity and every time I make the descent into the village down the narrow country lane I am in awe of the views.

Lamb

A lambing tour at Church Farm Country Cottages

Guests staying at Church Farm Country Cottages, near Bradford on Avon are in for a treat! If you are staying during spring there’s the opportunity to join one of the farm’s lambing tours to see a bit behind-the-scenes on this working farm.

Christine Wallace

Perfecting pastry, and discovering some Bake Off secrets at Vaughan’s Cookery School

I have enjoyed several courses at Vaughan’s Cookery School in the past and have always come away having had a great time and learnt some new skills, so when I had the opportunity to join the Perfect Pastry course Mr H decided it was time he broadened his culinary skills, and join me. Vaughan’s Cookery School is located in the lovely town of Devizes, and we took the opportunity to stop off in town first, as the range of independent shops there offer some lovely different gifts, and I had a few birthday presents to get. Mr H used the opportunity to call into Wadworth Visitor Centre Shop and pick up a few souvenirs for himself!

Chris, Wyvern Theatre

A spotlight on: Chris Husseyin, Wyvern Theatre

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Wyvern Theatre My name is Chris and I have worked at the Wyvern for many years in several different departments. I am currently the Ticket Office Manage..

Painting

A Painting Class with a difference in Bradford on Avon

Bradford on Avon is always a pleasure to visit, with its lovely independent shops, great range of eating places, and fabulous selection of place to stay, I am often to be found there enjoying the canal and river walks, or a bit of shopping and coffee culture! However, Friday night was an opportunity to try something completely new to the town – painting and cocktails – how could I resist? So on a beautiful spring evening my daughter and I headed to The Boathouse.

Vintage Classics

A spotlight on: Phil Rowe, Vintage Classics

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Vintage Classics I have always had a love of classic cars staring with my very first car a 1959 Frogeye Sprite and when the opportunity presented itsel..

Downton Cuckoo Fair

10 reasons to visit Wiltshire this April

In addition to the Easter holidays and lots of Easter-related events, there’s plenty more to keep you entertained on a visit to Wiltshire this April. Here we’ve selected ten things to see and do but don’t forget to check out the rest of our website for other ideas too!

Avebury Stone Circle

Exploring Avebury World Heritage Site with Oldbury Tours

Visitors to Wiltshire may have been to Avebury Stone Circle, however how many of you have explored the wider landscape at this World Heritage Site?

I went on a trip to discover more with Laurence Davis from Oldbury Tours. Accompanying us for the half day tour were Ellie and Gillian Farago from Heritage B&B in Calne. The three of us had all visited Avebury previously and had various different levels of knowledge about the history and spirituality of the area.

Pewsey Vale Riding

A ride across the Pewsey Vale

We arrived at the Pewsey Vale Riding Centre on Sunday morning just before 10am, as the three of us Justine, Angela and I, had been booked in for a two hour hack across the beautiful Pewsey Vale in Wiltshire as a birthday treat for me! All of us can ride but we had not been out for a hack for a while so we were a little out of practice.

Hillworth Park, Devizes

A winter’s walk around Devizes

After starting off my morning in Devizes by joining the Wadworth Shire horses on their deliveries (see my previous blog) I decided to explore more of the historic town.

Wadworth Shire Horses

Wiltshire from a Shire horse’s perspective

When visiting Devizes it’s always a pleasure to see Wadworth Brewery’s Shire horses out and about making their deliveries. It’s a tradition that has been kept alive by this brewery in a time when many breweries use more conventional forms of vehicle for their deliveries.

Blood Brothers

West End quality production in Wiltshire

We are very lucky, in Wiltshire, in having several great venues and events which attract artists of national, and international, renown. The Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival, Playhouse and City Hall in Salisbury all offer a wide selection of top class productions, and in other areas the Wiltshire Music Centre, Pound Arts Centre and Chippenham Folk Festival offer a diverse range for all tastes.

Royal Signals Museum

Signalling a royal visit – a family day out at The Royal Signals Museum

When my 3 year old son (nearly 4 as he keeps on reminding me), asked if we could go an “army museum“ I knew just the place to take him. George loves creative role play and can often be found attacking and defending his castle with his toy soldiers, knights and action figures, so we planned a visit to the Royal Signals Museum at Blandford Camp, home of The Royal Corps. Of Signals, a short drive from the Wiltshire border.

Lamb

12 photos to show why you should visit Wiltshire this spring

Oh how we love spring, it’s so beautiful to see the blossoms appearing on the trees, the daffodils popping out along the verges and the bluebells begin to emerge in our woodlands.
We’ve put together a selection of some of our favourite spring photos that we have here at VisitWiltshire, we hope you enjoy them!

Chippenham

A Chippenham Treasure Trail

I have done several Treasure Trails in the past and know how good they are at helping you to discover new places. So this time I decided to use it to find hidden treasures in a town I know very well, Chippenham.

Roman Baths

A day trip to Bath

Wiltshire makes a great base for a day out to the World Heritage Site of Bath. Bath is just a short hop across the border into Somerset and there’s easy access by train from Salisbury, Bradford on Avon, Trowbridge, Westbury, Warminster, Chippenham and Swindon (to name just a few places!).

The Laverton, Westbury

Victorian Westbury and the Blue Plaque Trail

When you think of Westbury you probably think of the Westbury White Horse. It certainly dominates the landscape and is always a welcome sight when I’m passing through the town on the train.

However, Westbury is not just famous for its White Horse, it also has a rich Victorian heritage which is now being celebrated in a new Victorian Westbury exhibition in The Laverton.

Snowdrops

A shower of snowdrops at Lydiard Park

Towards the end of January I made a trip to the tranquil setting of Lydiard Park. The morning had been cold and blustery but luckily by the time I pulled up at the car park the weather was beginning to turn for the better. I’d heard that some of the snowdrops were already making an appearance here so I went for a bit of an investigation.

Spring Flowers

Fast forward into February: 17 ways to beat the winter blues

If, like me, the start of the year has left you feeling all a bit ‘January-ish’, it helps to have something to look forward to. So here are 17 great ideas for things to see and do around Wiltshire that are sure to brighten up the first few months of 2017.

Beatons tearooms

A winter’s walk in Tisbury

I love getting the opportunity to don my walking boots and explore the county and I had the opportunity to do just that on a recent visit to Tisbury.

Monkey World

Monkeying around - a fun day out across the Wiltshire borders

About an hour across the Wiltshire border into Dorset you’ll find Monkey World – Ape Rescue Centre. Monkey World started off in 1987 (I remember seeing it on the Challenge Anneka programme in the early nineties and that was the last time I had visited and it has really grown since then).

Corsham

A Corsham Instameet

What better way is there to spend a sunny, frosty morning in January then getting together with a group of likeminded photographers and exploring some of Wiltshire’s treasures?
 

Salisbury Cathedral's Library

A tour of Salisbury Cathedral’s Library

Given I grew up in Salisbury and the nature of my job here at VisitWiltshire I’ve always felt that I have known the Cathedral pretty well however one place I’d never ventured to was the Cathedral’s library.

Buttle Farm

Learning about the slow food movement at Buttle Farm

Nestled on the edge of the village of Compton Bassett in north Wiltshire lies Buttle Farm. I met with the owners, Robert and Sara Buttle, who took me on a tour of the farm so I could learn more about what goes on here and the diversification of the farm.

The Old Mill, Salisbury

A winter’s walk in Salisbury

Last Saturday was exactly the kind of winter’s day I like best – cold and crisp but with plenty of sunshine. Perfect walking weather. This route is one of my favourites as it starts and finishes in the city centre and includes some of Salisbury’s best-loved views.

Wiltshire Museum

11 ideas for some family fun this February half term

It may feel like it’s not been that long since the children went back to school but before you know it it’ll be half term! If you are stuck for ideas on what to see and do with the children this February half term we’ve put together a handy guide to some of family-friendly activities you can do in and around Wiltshire.

Charity Colbourne

A spotlight on... Charity Colborne, Pound Arts

I’ve been working at Pound Arts for just over four years now and I truly love it. The small team here achieve so much, producing a year round artistic programme of events from The Pound arts centre, two festivals a year (The Blue Sky Festival in June and Magic & Mayhem Festival in November), as well as a Rural Arts Touring programme for Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire. My role is to oversee and manage all marketing for these three creative strands, helping to raise our profile as an arts organisation as well as give marketing support to the many artists that come all year round.

Lambs

10 reasons to visit Wiltshire this January

Once the mayhem of Christmas and New Year’s Eve passes, it’s sometimes hard to think of ideas for what to do during the colder time of year. We’ve put together this handy guide for you giving you ten reasons to visit Wiltshire in January 2017.

Museum of Army Flying

Flying across the Wiltshire border

Just a few miles from the Wiltshire border, into Hampshire, you’ll find the Museum of Army Flying at Middle Wallop.

The museum is dedicated to the Army’s involvement in flight and includes gliders, planes and helicopters and on a grey December’s day I made a visit to see what there was on offer.

Louise Tunnard (C) Vicky Slater

A spotlight on... Louise Tunnard, The Salisbury Museum

I am Marketing & Admin Offer at the museum, which means I have the pleasure of promoting The Salisbury Museum, planning and running the events we stage throughout the year, and welcoming group visitors to the museum. The museum is housed in The King’s House, which dates from the early 13th century. Part of my role is to look after this beautiful building, the site and the team. My background is in Economics and Fine Art, which is a very unlikely combination of interests, but strangely perfect for the job I do.

Longleat Festival of Lights

Longleat Festival of Lights, a magical start to Christmas

On an unseasonably warm and clear December evening I was delighted to have an opportunity to visit the Longleat Festival of Lights. Having visited and loved it last year there was a concern that they couldn’t possibly improve on that… but I should have known, being their 50th anniversary year that Longleat would do something even more impressive!

 

Calne

A pre-Christmas visit to Calne

As I arrived in Calne on a cold but sunny November’s day, armed with a GoPro, smart phone and SLR camera I was keen to explore some of the town’s historic quarter on such a pretty day.

Corsham

Walking in the footsteps of Poldark in Corsham

If you’ve watched any of the BBC’s most recent adaptations of Poldark then you may see a familiar street scene make an appearance, Wiltshire’s very own Corsham.

I headed to the town on a glorious winter’s day. The sun was beaming down and the frost was sparkling on the grass as I began my walk through some of Corsham Court’s parkland towards the Pound Arts Centre.

Caen Hill Locks

Top places for winter walks in Wiltshire

Don’t let the colder months stop you visiting Wiltshire. Some of our attractions keep their doors (or gates) open over the winter months – making a great choice for a walk after any festive excesses. Here are some of our suggestions for great places for a Wiltshire walk this winter.

Julie Cooper, Skydive Netheravon

A spotlight on Julie Cooper, Skydive Netheravon

Working for the Army Parachute Association (APA) certainly puts a different perspective on life! My name is Julie Cooper and I am the Marketing & Media Manager at Skydive Netheravon. Being a Naval wife, I spent about thirty years moving around the country before coming to live permanently in Corsham in the early 90s.  The last twenty five years have been spent working in the event and tourism sector, so moving to the APA at Netheravon two years ago gave me a brand new challenge.

Wellies

Don those wellies and explore Wiltshire this autumn

Ok so when I plan a day out exploring I don’t expect the weather to misbehave for me! However, this week it did just that as Storm Angus made its appearance. Sporting my new stripy wellies and wrapped up warm I decided to embrace the weather and explore some more of the county.

Marlborough at Christmas

Money saving ideas for Christmas in Wiltshire

We all know that Christmas can be an expensive time of year but it doesn’t have to be. Here in Wiltshire there are plenty of suggestions of things to do, events to check out and low cost activities you can do to help save the pennies over the coming weeks. Here are some of our suggestions…

Christmas in Wiltshire

Unique gift ideas for Christmas presents from Wiltshire

We know what it’s like, there’s always someone in your family who’s tricky to buy for. In previous years we’ve written articles on some unique gift ideas for Christmas and we are doing the same again this year. So here we have it (and don’t forget to let us know if you have any other suggestions as well).

Dog walking in Wiltshire

Wiltshire from a dog’s perspective – top dog walks

Wiltshire is home to lots of walks, from brisk walks along the Ridgeway through to shorter ambles along the riverbanks. If you like to bring your four-legged friend on holiday with you, we have some great suggestions of top places to walk your dog here in Wiltshire gathered from some of the VisitWiltshire team and people who work closely with us.

11th Hour Escape Room

Escape in Wiltshire - a visit to the 11th Hour Escape Room

11th Hour Escape Rooms are one of Wiltshire’s newest activities, located above the Audi car showroom, on the Chippenham to Devizes road; you soon forget where you are as you head up stairs to be greeted by Tim and Lizzie, the team behind this great activity. It opened in July and offers a challenging hour of problem solving. The Escape Room concept now has a huge following worldwide, with enthusiasts travelling long distances to try the latest. 

Salisbury Arts Centre

A night of comedy in Salisbury

If you fancy a giggle and are looking for a reasonably priced thing to do on a weekend then it is worth checking out Salisbury Arts Centre’s regular Barnstormers Comedy Night.

Meadowbank House B&B

10 places to stay with toasty fireplaces

As the winter draws in, we often dream about snuggling up on a comfy chair in front of a fireplace. With lots of cosy cottages, grand hotels and country inns you can do just that. We’ve put together a selection of places you can stay in Wiltshire where you can get toasty…

Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa

A Very Special Night at the Cinema

Back in July I was delighted to open a birthday present to discover a beautiful folder containing a voucher for the cinema at Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa, near Malmesbury.

Bradford on Avon

A walk around Bradford on Avon

After a successful first ever golf lesson (see my previous blog) I made the short drive from Cumberwell Park to Bradford on Avon. Parking up by Timbrell’s Yard, along the river, I made a leisurely walk along the footpath towards one of my favourite parts of Bradford on Avon, the Tithe Barn.

Golf

A beginner’s golf lesson

When I told my friends that I was going to have a beginner’s golf lesson they laughed at me. Not because golf isn’t a good hobby to take up but more because I’m not particularly well known for my coordination! (Charming I know!).

Salisbury Playhouse

A behind the scenes visit to Salisbury Playhouse

Whilst I have enjoyed many brilliant performances at Salisbury Playhouse over the years, I had never before ventured behind the scenes, so when the invitation popped into my inbox to join PR & Communications Officer Gemma Twiselton and Digital & Communications Officer Holly Tomkins on their first ever bloggers and vloggers event, I jumped at the chance.

Salisbury Christmas Market

Ten reasons to visit Wiltshire in November

You may not think of November as being a particularly interesting time to travel in the UK however you’d be wrong! There is a great variety of colourful events that are taking place in Wiltshire this November that can help brighten up the greyest of winter’s days.