This wonderful landlocked South West English county is known for its slower pace of life, rolling verdant landscapes, chocolate-box pretty villages, fine stately homes beautiful historic towns and cities, and of course its very mysterious stone circles. Vistors to Wiltshire lap up its timeless atmospheric attractions and bags of traditional English charm. From some of the prettiest villages in England to truly stunning unpsoilt countryside, here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Wiltshire, UK…
Castle Combe – a quintessentially English village named as the prettiest village in England
The village of beautiful Castle Combe is located in northwest Wiltshire, and it forms part of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This is a beautiful and charismatic place where you can experience quintessentially English charm and character. In fact, it is often referred to as the prettiest village in England. For those who love tranquillity and natural beauty, this is a great place to visit.
Attractions in this historic village including the 13th century St Andrew’s Church and the Castle Combe driving circuit. Castle Combe has even been used as a location for movies including Spielberg’s War Horse, The Wolf Man, and the original Dr. Doolittle movie, among others.
Stourhead – a breathtaking 18th century landscape garden which is one of the most stunning places to explore in Wiltshire
Situated on the Wiltshire/Somerset border, Stourhead is a stunning estate comprising gorgeous landscapes gardens, fascinating walks along the lake, and even a Palladian mansion. The mansion, Stourhead House, is home to an incredible library as well as some fabulous works of art. For those who love architecture and the arts, this is a must-visit.
The gardens themselves are truly stunning and attract many nature lovers each year. You can head to King Alfred’s Tower to take in panoramic views of the surrounding areas by climbing more than 200 steps to the top. There are also lots of amenities you can access in Stourhead including a traditional pub and farm shop.
Stonehenge – the famously best and most popular places to visit in Wiltshire
A pre-historic and world-famous monument, Stonehenge in Wiltshire attracts huge numbers of visitors every year. This World Heritage Site features the famous stone circle but is also surrounded by the remains of historical structures. Visitors can stroll through the ancient landscapes and take in the fascinating sites as well as viewing the stone circle itself.
There are also facilities including a shop and visitor centre for visitors to take advantage of. For those that want to enjoy an even more memorable time, you can book the stone circle experience that enables you to go inside the stone circle for a truly unique experience. Easily one of the best places to visit in Wiltshire!
Lacock Abbey and Village – a beautiful abbey and one of the prettiest historic villages in England
Lacock Village, which is almost entirely National Trust owned, is a beautiful destination situated in Wiltshire. It boasts unrivalled charm and character, making it a hugely popular place for visitors to the county. Visitors can stroll through the village to enjoy the views and relaxed atmosphere as well as enjoy the amenities and explore the attractions.
At the centre of the village is Lacock Abbey, and this was founded in the 13th century and dissolved several centuries later. It went on to become a beautiful and unusual country house boasting a range of styles. It is now home to the Fox Talbot Museum, which pays homage to the inventor William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the former owners of the property.
Bradford-upon-Avon – a very beautiful historic village to explore in Wiltshire
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 those visiting can look forward to incredible natural beauty and sights. The ancient bridge with two of its original arches from the 13th century is a focal point in the town. The main bridge provides unrivalled views of the area including historic cottages and mills.
One of the attractions that can be found here is the gorgeous Courts Garden, which has formal gardens, water features, an arboretum, and a wide range of flora and fauna. You can also enjoy exploring the local shops, enjoying a bite to eat or a relaxing drink at one of the pubs, or visiting the fascinating Bradford-on-Avon Museum.
The Vale of Pewsey – a stunning ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’
The Vale of Pewsey is a beautiful and ancient area in Wiltshire, and it 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 the village of Pewsey at its centre, and lots of charming and attractive villages dotted around.
A stunning area to explore in Wilshite, this is an area that is rich in history, and archaeologists have suggested there have been settlements in the village since the 6th century. The history of the Vale and its surrounding villages is said to date back to 3000BC. If you are looking to soak up some culture, it is well worth visiting the Vale of Pewsey in September. You can then enjoy taking part in Wiltshire’s oldest carnival, the Pewsey and District Feast and Carnival.
Bowood House – among the most unique places to visit in Wiltshire
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. The house dates back to the 1700s and is home to some stunning and fascinating rooms. This includes the laboratory where oxygen was discovered by Dr Joseph Priestley and Robert Adam’s library.
There are various exhibition rooms at the house, so there is plenty to explore for those who are into history and the arts. You can also enjoy taking in the stunning grounds and gardens, which span around one hundred acres.
Calstone and Cherhill Downs – two places which are easily among the most beautiful places to visit in Wiltshire
A Site of Special Scientific Interest, Calstone and Cherhill Downs are both truly stunning areas to visit in Wiltshire that enables 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. The Downs are part of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Wildlife is abundant in this area, and one thing you can look forward to is the chance to spot some of the rarest butterflied in Britain. History buffs will also love the area, as the summit of Cherhill Downs is home to Oldbury Castle. There are also other fascinating features to explore including the Cherhill White Horse.
Salisbury and Salisbury Plain – a stunning historic city and wonderful chalk plateau
The city of Salisbury in Wiltshire is one that is rich in history, and visitors have been travelling here since the 13th century. Easily one of the best places to visit in Wiltshire, at the heart of the city is the stunning Salisbury Cathedral, which is beautiful and attracts many visitors. The medieval city that surrounds the cathedral has plenty of attractions and sights. This includes Harnham Bridge, one of three medieval stone bridges in the city.
Around 12 miles from the city you will find Salisbury Plain, which is owned by the Ministry of Defence. While it is used as a training ground, it also offers many features and attractions for visitors. This includes the Westbury White Horse, the oldest of a number of white horses carved in the county.
The Ridgeway National Trail – one of the most ancient and scenic routes in England
Often referred to as Britain’s oldest road, the Ridgeway National Trail has been used by thousands of years by traders, travellers, and others passing through the area. For those who love the great outdoors and are looking for adventure, this is a wonderful place to visit. The trail runs from Avebury, a World Heritage Site, to Ivinghoe Beacon, which is Northwest of London.
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, and this includes the Avebury Stone Circle, Liddington Castle, and Barbury Castle to name but a few. The Wilthsire part of the trail offers truly stunning and unspoilt countryside.
Old Wardour Castle – an old ruined castle set in gorgeous and peaceful Wiltshire countryside
Built in the 14th century, Old Wardour Castle is situated in beautiful countryside surroundings close to a lake. A wonderful place to explore in Wiltshire, this was built as a luxury residence, boasting charm, decadence, and comfort. These days, many people visit this beautiful castle, from couples looking for a romantic day out to history buffs looking to delve into its rich past.
Visitors to the castle can climb the spiral stairs to the top where there are incredible views that await. There are also many exciting and fascinating rooms to explore within the castle, such as the Great Hall and the Great Parlour. For those visiting kids, there are even play areas and designated places where you can enjoy a picnic while taking in the historic and gorgeous surroundings.
Avebury Henge and Silbury Hill – a historic and atmospheric beauty spot
Located around the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, Avebury Henge is a monument made up of three stone circles and is one of the best places to visit in Wiltshire. This prehistoric site is home to the world’s biggest megalithic stone circle. It dates back thousands of years but is remarkably well preserved, making it a popular attraction with tourists. This, along with other historical points of interest, makes Avebury part of the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site.
A few miles away is Silbury Hill, which is a prehistoric manmade hill. This also dates back thousands of years and is the largest of its kind in Europe. This has become a landmark in this countryside area and while you cannot access the hill directly, you can explore the base and take in spectacular views of it on some of the local walks.
Chippenham – a pretty market town to visit in northwest Wiltshire
The charismatic market town of Chippenham in Wiltshire has a rich history as well as a lively atmosphere. The town can be found 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 this town, which has been awarded a Purple Flag for its vibrant night scene.
On Fridays and Saturdays, you can look forward to the lively market, and there are also plenty of additional shopping opportunities including the Emery Gate Shopping Centre. There are some stunning parks and green areas to visit here too, making it perfect for those who love to spend time walking and exploring outdoors.
Devizes – a historic market town with a colourful Medieval past
With its fascinating medieval history and beautiful architecture, Devizes is a Wiltshire market town that receives many visitors each year. There are hundreds of listed buildings in this town as well as the large and thriving central Market Place. You will 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. Pay a visit to Devizes Wharf, which is the ideal place to begin your exploration of the canal. For those into history and architecture, Devizes Castle is also a must-see attraction in the town.
Cley Hill – beautiful scenic countryside and wonderful views
Cley Hill has become a well-known landmark in the Warminster area of Wiltshire. It is a place to visit in this beautiful county that offers incredible views of Wiltshire and Somerset, and it is great for those who love to look up into the sky and spot the stars on a clear night. In fact, it has even become known for being a place from which UFOs have been spotted!
With its rich archaeology and wildlife, this historic landmark attracts a lot of visitors. It used to be part of the Longleat Estate but is now part of the National Trust. While the walk up the hill is a steep one, most find that it is well worth it for the views.