Swindon is a privileged location with an enviable Wiltshire hinterland and after 18 months of lockdowns what better antidote than beautiful places. Travel website Global Grasshopper has lifted the lid on the fifteen “most beautiful places” in the county, confirming that Swindon is the ideal base camp for a West Country break.
The village of Lacock is almost entirely National Trust owned and almost entirely unspoiled. At the centre of the village is Lacock Abbey (as seen in Harry Potter films), which was founded in the 13th century and dissolved several centuries later. The village is also home to the Fox Talbot Museum, which pays homage to the photography pioneer and former resident William Henry Fox Talbot.
Castle Combe is often referred to as the prettiest village in England and is a haven of tranquillity and natural beauty. Given its charming time warp status, it’s not surprising the village has been used as a location for Hollywood movies War Horse, The Wolfman, and Dr. Doolittle, among others.
The Vale of Pewsey is a beautiful and ancient area in Wiltshire that forms part of the Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A fabulous place for those who love to walk and explore, the area has lots of charming and attractive villages dotted around, with Pewsey at its centre.
The stunning family home of the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne, Bowood House in Wiltshire has been opening to the public for close to half a century. Discover the rich and fascinating history of Bowood House and the Lansdowne family, set within 100 acres of beautifully landscaped ‘Capability’ Brown parkland.
Stourhead is a stunning National Trust estate comprising gorgeous landscape gardens, fascinating walks around the lake, and a Palladian mansion. Stonehenge is perhaps the world’s most famous prehistoric monument. It was built in several stages: the first monument was an early henge monument, built about 5,000 years ago, and the unique stone circle was erected in the late Neolithic period about 2500 BC. In the early Bronze Age many burial mounds were built nearby.
A Site of Special Scientific Interest, Calstone and Cherhill Downs are both truly stunning areas to visit that enable you to take in incredible views. Managed by the National Trust, the area is also a haven for wildlife, so anyone who loves natural beauty will be delighted when they visit. There are also other fascinating features to explore including the Cherhill White Horse.
Easily one of the best places to visit in Wiltshire, at the heart of Salisbury is the stunning Salisbury Cathedral. The medieval city that surrounds the cathedral also has plenty of attractions and sights. This includes Harnham Bridge, one of three medieval stone bridges in the city.
Often referred to as Britain’s oldest road, the Ridgeway National Trail has been used for thousands of years by traders, travellers, and others passing through the area. In all, the trail spans 87 miles and follows a chalk ridge, enabling those following the trail to enjoy outstanding beauty. It also passes near to many historical sites, including the Avebury Stone Circle, Liddington Castle, and Barbury Castle.
Built in the 14th century, Old Wardour Castle is situated in beautiful countryside surroundings close to a lake. Visitors to the castle can climb the spiral stairs to the top from where there are incredible views. There are also many exciting and fascinating rooms to explore within the castle, such as the Great Hall and the Great Parlour.
The market town of Bradford-on-Avon is nestled on the fringes of the beautiful Cotswolds and is known as being one of the most beautiful places to visit in Wiltshire. The town faces the River Avon, and visitors can look forward to incredible natural beauty and chocolate box houses.
Located around the village of Avebury, Avebury Henge is a monument made up of three stone circles. This prehistoric site is home to the world’s biggest megalithic stone circle. It dates back thousands of years but is remarkably well preserved. A few miles away is Silbury Hill, which is a prehistoric man-made hill. This also dates back thousands of years and is the largest of its kind in Europe.
The market town of Chippenham has a rich history as well as a lively atmosphere. The town is on the banks of the River Avon and is a great place for those who want to relax, explore, and enjoy the natural beauty. You can even enjoy the great nightlife in the town, which has been awarded a Purple Flag for its vibrant night scene.
With its fascinating medieval history and beautiful architecture, Devizes is a delightful market town. There are hundreds of listed buildings in this town as well as the large and thriving central Market Place. You will also find many attractions here including the Wiltshire Museum and its fascinating exhibitions. Another attraction is Caen Locks, which comprises 29 locks of the Caen Hill flight on the Kennet and Avon Canal.
Last but not least, with its rich archaeology and wildlife, the historic landmark of Cley Hill attracts lots of visitors. It used to be part of the Longleat Estate but is now part of a National Trust site. While the walk up the hill is a steep one, most find that it is well worth it for the views.
So there you have it, fifteen beautiful places that are all close to Swindon, making the town a great location for a weekend break or even a week’s holiday!