The county of Wiltshire is crammed full of pre-historic sites. Most notable are the Neolithic stone circles of world-famous Stonehenge and atmospheric Avebury, which partially encircles the pretty village of the same name (home also to the recently restored sixteenth century Avebury Manor). Other signs of ancient history can be found all over the area, including the remains of iron-age hill forts, ancient tombs, burial mounds and chalk carvings.
Pretty, traditional villages with houses made of local stone, beautiful churches and historic country pubs can be found throughout the county, including in the northern area which forms part of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (see ‘Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds’).
A pleasant mixture of old and new, the small city of Salisbury is Wiltshire’s largest settlement. Its skyline dominated by the impressive thirteenth century cathedral, Salisbury contains architecture from across the ages – medieval city walls, Tudor cottages, and Georgian and Victorian town houses. However it is also home to a good range of modern cafes, bars and restaurants and maintains a lively feel.
Wiltshire also contains some impressive stately homes – Stourhead with its stunning eighteenth century gardens; the unusual combination of Elizabethan mansion surrounded by a drive-through safari park at Longleat; and the beautiful sixteenth century Wilton House, home to the Earls of Pembroke since that time and regularly used as a film location.
Image © VisitBritain / Stephen Spraggon