Wiltshire is one of the largest counties in England and the North and South differ considerably. The expression “as different as chalk and cheese” originated here. In the north are the high, rolling Marlborough Downs chalk downs giving huge, sweeping views across the county, and in the South is the beautiful pasture land, ancient town of Salisbury, Stonehenge and thatched roofed houses everywhere in the picturesque villages. Full day and half day tours are available. Examples here leave from Bath, but tours can begin anywhere.
If you would like a walk in the country, our walks start from Avebury, Bradford-on-Avon, Castle Combe, Lacock, Stonehenge, or you can take in one of the Wiltshire White Horses.
Village Tour 1. Bath, Castle Combe, Lacock, Corsham, Bath
Leaving Bath, we drive for about half an hour to the lovely village of Castle Combe, often called the prettiest in England. It is often used for filming, A half hour walk through the valley includes the main street with the bubbling Bybrook River at the end, and also the Manor House, which nestles in it’s own exquisite landscaped parkland.
From Castle Combe, we drive to Lacock, where many period dramas have been filmed, including Harry Potter, Vanity Fair and Pride and Prejudice. The central part of the village is entirely owned by the National Trust and some of the houses go back to the 14th century . You can also see splendid Lacock Abbey, founded in the 12th century which became the birthplace of photography, perhaps taking a walk around the cloisters.
Returning to Bath, we drive through the wool town of Corsham, with its 14th century almshouses and handsome Tudor Manor House, Corsham Court.
Village Tour 2. Bath, Corsham, Lacock, Bradford-on-Avon, Bath
From the city, we drive east past the town of Corsham, famous for its Tudor Manor House, Corsham Court. After this, we go to the village of Lacock: the centre is entirely owned by the National Trust, and is famous for the many films which have been made there, including Harry Potter. You can also see the very beautiful Lacock Abbey founded in the 12th Century. Then drive back through Bradford-on-Avon, with its steep ranks of weavers cottages. If time allows, it is a lovely walk through these streets, with wonderful views, and at the end is one of the oldest Saxon churches in the country, tiny but absolutely perfect.
1. Stones and Spires: Stonehenge, Salisbury, Wilton
Leaving Bath, we are soon in the ancient county of Wiltshire, and within an hour, driving across Salisbury Plain, with its vast sweeping landscape, we arrive at Stonehenge, the most famous and sophisticated stone circle in England. After a guided tour around the site, we drive through the spectacular Woodford Valley to the city of Salisbury. A tour of the Cathedral with the highest spire in the UK, will be followed by a walk through the medieval streets, and lunch – perhaps in one of the ancient pubs.
Afterwards we drive to Wilton House, home of the Earl’s of Pembroke. This is a spectacular house, rebuilt in 1647 by Inigo Jones and John Webb. There are paintings by the great masters everywhere, but the very best are in the Double Cube Room, arguably the most beautiful room in any country house in England; this is filled by paintings by van Dyke. The garden is also a delight, with it’s stone Palladian Bridge, one of only four in the world.
From here we travel back to Bath along the Wylye Valley.
2. White horses and Stone Circles: Bath, Avebury, Stonehenge, Bath
Leaving Bath, we travel along the old West Road, past the Cherhill ‘White Horse’ carved into the chalk hillside. Through the great sandstone hills of the Marlborough Downs, we arrive at Avebury Stone Circle, the largest in Europe, which encloses the pretty village of Avebury. After a guided tour of the stones, we can visit “The Manor Reborn” as seen on television. After lunch, we drive past West Kennet Longbarrow, one of the best surviving burial grounds of the ancient pre-historic stone age people. We also see Silbury Hill, the oldest man made hill in Europe. On our way to Stonehenge we pass the Pewsey White Horse and Woodhenge for a good view of Durrington Walls where the builders of Stonehenge lived and celebrated with feasts. Finally we arrive at Stonehenge, the most famous and sophisticated stone circle in England. Time to marvel at the building feats of our ancestors before passing one more white horse on our way back to Bath.
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All guides have gained the coveted Blue Badge and all are members of the Institute of Tourist Guiding. We have specialists in all the topics covered and guides speaking English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Dutch. We aim to make tours informative and entertaining.