Ideas for places to visit in Wiltshire include Longleat House with maze, landscaped parkland and safari park which is ideal for children and offers a great family day out at half term, Easter or in the Summer holidays plus you could also visit Stonehenge and Swindon.
Longleat House is a beautiful Elizabethan country house set in over 900 acres of parkland and a further 8000 acres of woodland, lakes and farmland, in Warminster, Wiltshire, adjacent to the village of Horningsham. The house was designed mainly by Robert Smythson, built by Sir John Thynne and completed by 1580. One of the most beautiful stately homes open to the public, Longleat House is now home to Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath, a direct descendant.
Known for its, maze, landscaped parkland and safari park, Longleat House was the first stately home to open to the public, and also claims the first safari park outside Africa. Longleat House is also widely regarded as one of the best examples of high Elizabethan architecture in Britain. Highlights include Longleat House include The Great Hall, which is the heart of the household and the only remaining Elizabethan room at Longleat, with its chimney piece, beams and panelling.
The seven libraries at Longleat contain more than 40,000 books, there is the spectacular Grand Staircase, and why not enjoy a tour around the house or try and see the ghost of the ‘Grey Lady’, Lady Louisa Carteret, wife of the 2nd Viscount Weymouth, whose portrait hangs in the Lower Dining Room.
In Longleat House grounds there is so much to see and do, including Safari Boats where you can set sail on a voyage of fun and adventure, a perfect scaled-down recreation of the Age of Steam railway as visitors arrive at a 1950’s style platform, complete with period advertisements and other contemporary props, to board their narrow gauge train, a 1.69 miles hedge maze made up of 16,000 English Yews, and the Postman Pat Village and Tea Cup ride to name just a few.
In 1966 Longleat became the first location outside of Africa to open a drive-through Safari Park, and over 40 years later it is still offering the most amazing close encounters with some of the world’s most amazing animals. See how your car measures up to giraffe, mind the zebras crossing, remember that the rhinos have right of way, watch out for the wolves and beware of our meddling monkeys… there is so much to look out for in this amazing world!
Stonehenge, one of the most important prehistoric monument and landmarks in Britain, is located in Wiltshire and has attracted visitors from the earliest of times. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge was completed about 3500 years ago and dates back 5000 years in its first stage.
Stonehenge is a timeless monument which stands as a testament to those who built it, with the first stones thought to have been erected around 2400-2200 BC and the surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC.
The site and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1986 and it is a national legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument. Archaeological evidence indicates that Stonehenge served as a burial ground from as early as 3000 BC, with burials continuing at Stonehenge for at least another 500 years.
Swindon is a large town in the county of Wiltshire, South West England. Swindon was originally a small market town, used mainly for barter trade until the mid-1800s, but due to the arrival of the Great Western Railway in 1840 a whole new town was created between the new railway works and Swindon Hill. Today this is Swindon’s Town Centre, whilst the original Swindon is now known as Old Town.
The town centre is fully pedestrianised and offers both an indoor and outdoor shopping experience including local markets and the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet, a vibrant mix of traditional shops and pubs alongside modern outlets and stylish cafes and bars, and attractions such as ‘STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway’. Take time to enjoy a relaxing stroll through Swindon’s quiet courtyards and alleyways or for something a bit more energetic enjoy a cycle ride around the abundance of places to explore.