Tourist Information in Wiltshire
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Wiltshire Tourist Information

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The five bustling market towns of Bradford-on-Avon, Melksham, Trowbridge, Warminster and Westbury, the surrounding countryside and picturesque villages offer a kaleidoscope of attractions, amenities and sporting activities.
With its fabulous country houses, timeless villages and vast expanse of rural open space (not to mention crop circles), it's only to be expected that Wiltshire is one of Britain's most tourist-haunted counties. But its true heartbeat comes straight out of prehistory and the sobering knowledge that its first citizens lived here at least 2,000 years before the birth of Christ.

To find its most-visited places you have only to name its most famous locations – Stonehenge, Avebury, Silbury Hill - all symbols of its longevity and historic significance.

For a more rounded picture you might add Roman relics, a range of picturesque landscapes and Salisbury's magnificent cathedral, arguably the most atmospheric church building in Britain.

The county was once the stronghold of two British tribes, the Attrebates and Durotriges, before the arrival of Romans, Saxons and Vikings.

It is watered by important fishing rivers such as the Avon, Wyley and Kennet.


Wiltshire Slideshow

Covering 3,500 square kilometres it is enduringly picturesque and remains largely unspoiled even in the 21st century. The National Trust has a major presence and large parts of the county are designated Areas of Outstanding Beauty.

Salisbury's vast Plain has hardly altered for hundreds of years and with an average height of 450ft offers extraordinary views as well as astonishing treasures such as Stonehenge and Vespasian's Camp.

Wiltshire's northwest region boasts the tranquil beauty of places like Bradford-on-Avon while the far north has flowery water meadows and the rolling Marlborough Downs.

Wiltshire's key tourist attractions include the safari park of Longleat, the evocative Lacock Abbey – home of photography and a location for the Harry Potter movie 'The Philosopher's Stone – and Swindon's enthralling steam railway museum. Its best-known place-name is Salisbury, founded in 1220 by Bishop Richard Poore who abandoned a Norman cathedral at Old Sarum because of a lack of water and created a brand new one on local meadows, New Sarum. The building was finished in 1280, though its 404ft spire – the tallest in England – was added 50 years later.

Today the building draws huge numbers of visitors anxious to soak up the atmosphere of its ornate, early English Gothic design and study its many unique features. Inside is a dial-less 13th century clock, still in working order, and the largest cloisters of any English church. Its library contains one of only four copies of Magna Carta. The Cathedral Close is an awe-inspiring journey into the past, replete with houses that date back as far as the 13th century, including the Old Deanery. Montpesson House is an extraordinary 18th century merchant's home.

Not far away from the busy city centre are the picturesque valleys of the rivers Nadder and Wyley. The latter inspired both the painter John Constable and the 'compleat' angler Izaak Walton.

Wiltshire's other major town, Swindon, became part of the railway boom in the 1830s with the arrival of the Great Western Railway.

The megalith Stonehenge lies about nine miles from the city of Salisbury and is thought to have been built over a period of 1,400 years, beginning around 3,000BC. Some of its heaviest stones were transported from Wales. Even in the Middle Ages it was a tourist hotspot, being mentioned by chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth.

Avebury, near Chippenham, has an even more impressive stone circle measuring almost one mile across. It was re-discovered in the 17th century by the noted antiquarian John Aubrey. Nearby stands the mysterious 130ft mound of Silbury Hill , the largest man-made earth mound in Britain. Originally terraced, it dates back to 2,600BC.

Other important historic sites include the West Kennet Long Barrow – the only open prehistoric burial chamber in the country - and the huge Iron Age hill fort Old Sarum in Salisbury.

Many other locations are well worth exploring. The town of Marlborough, for example, is a Georgian delight and lies close to the former medieval hunting ground of Savernake Forest. The area surrounding the market town of Devizes is peppered with picturesque villages and country pubs.

The county's many stately homes include Wilton House which dates back to the Tudor period and is associated with the poet Edmund Spenser and the playwrights Ben John son and Christopher Marlowe.

Corsham Court is another 'must-see' antique with one of the oldest collections of Old Masters and furniture. Its landscaped gardens were designed by Capability Brown (see the Stately Homes & Gardens, Country Houses section.


Crop Circles: Ben Gamble
Silbury Hill: Ian Paterson
River Avon Salisbury: Bob Ford
Marlborough Downs: Brian Robert Marshall
Lacock Abbey: Stuart Cankett
Salisbury Cathedral: Ian Knox
Cathedral Close: Christian Jones
River Nadder: Joan Vaughan
'Steam' museum: Brian Robert Marshall
Stonehenge: Pam Brophy
Avebury Stone Circle: Christine Matthews
Silbury Hill: Alan Simkins
West Kennet Long Barrow: Alan Simkins
Savernake Forest: Brian Robert Marshall
Wilton House: John Goodall
Corsham Court: Hugh McKechnie


Tourist Information Centres

The Library, Smithfield Street, Amesbury, SP4 7AL
Tel: 01980 622833    Fax: 01980 625541

The Chapel Centre, Green Street, Avebury, SN8 1RE
Tel: 01672 539179
E-mail: all.tic'

Tourist Information Centre, 50 St. Margaret's St, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, BA15 1DE
Tel: 01225 865797    Fax: 01225 868722

Tourist Information Centre, The Citadel, Bath Rd, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15 2AA
Tel: 01249 706333    Fax: 01249 460776

Tourist Information Centre, Arnold House, 31 High St, Corsham, Wiltshire, SN13 0EZ
Tel: 01249 714660    Fax: 01249 716164

Cromwell House, Market Place, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 1JG
Tel: 01380 734669   Fax: 01380 730319
E-mail: all.tic'

Tourist Information Centre, Town Hall, Market Lane, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, SN16 9BZ
Tel: 01666 823748

Tourist Information, George Lane Car Park, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8 1EE
Tel: 01672 513989    Fax: 01672 513989

Tourist Information Centre, Church St, Melksham, Wiltshire, SN12 6LS
Tel: 01225 707424    Fax: 01225 707424

The Library, Barton Lane, Mere, BA12 6JA
Tel: 01747 861211    Fax: 01747 861127

Fish Row, Salisbury, SP1 1EJ
Tel: 01722 334956    Fax: 01722 422059

Tourist Information Centre, 37 Regent St, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1 1JL
Tel: 01793 530328    Fax: 01793 434031

Tourist Information Centre, St Stephen's Place, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 8AH
Tel: 01225 710535    Fax: 01225 710530

Tourist Information, Central Car Park, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 9BT
Tel: 01985 218548    Fax: 01985 846154

Tourist Information Centre, The Library, Edward St, Westbury, Wiltshire, BA13 3BD
Tel: 01373 827158    Fax: 01373 827158


Useful links

Salisbury District Council Leisure & Tourism