Wiltshire

County: Wiltshire

Home to Salisbury, Stonehenge and other Neolithic settlements.

About:

Wiltshire is the county in which you will find Salisbury, Stonehenge and Avebury, which makes it special enough. But I like to describe Wiltsire as a "special" county because if there's anywhere you're going to see Neolithic features, crop circles, chalk white horses or even UFOs, then it's going to be Wiltshire. I hasten to add I've seen possibly just one small crop circle in all my life, and I've never seen a UFO, but still, I keep my eyes open just in case!

Wiltshire is a very agricultural county, full of rolling green hills, farms, and stone buildings. Most of it is chalk land, but the Northern part stretches into the limestone region of the Cotswolds, of which Castle Combe is probably the most famous of the Wiltshire Cotswolds villages. 

Visiting Wiltshire is full of surprises. It contains the most famous of stone circles at Stonehenge, but also the world's largest Neolithic stone circle at Avebury which for some reason is less well-known but worth a visit. And visiting both stone circles is worth it as they are very different in feel and probable usage. It's a good place in which to see thatched cottages as well as stone cottages; 13 of the country's 24 white chalk horses are (were) to be found in Wiltshire, although only 8 are now visible. Contrary to popular belief they are not that old - only around 300 years or so, but they are still a pleasing sight to behold. The Caen Hill locks are another feature that is bound to amaze, as they form a staircase for canal boats. 

Need to know:

Wiltshire is bordered by 6 other counties, but for our purposes, notably Hampshire. Please see the relevant entries for Salisbury, Stonehenge and Avebury for more information about these specific places. Lacock is lumped in with Avebury, and Castle Combe is in with The Cotswolds.

Options:

Wiltshire as a whole is a pretty good county to base a tour in because of its famous attractions, but also because it is rural and slightly quirky. Salisbury and Stonehenge are convenient for both cruise passengers at Southampton and airline passengers at Heathrow.