Home to Stonehenge and packed with active opportunities for all ages, Wiltshire is a beautiful county
Best known for its myths and legends, Wiltshire offers the setting for a perfect break – a mixture of ancient history and outdoor pursuits. It is home to Stonehenge and Avebury, two breathtaking sites erected more than 4,000 years ago. But mysterious artefacts aside, you can also cycle, skydive, canoe, golf and horse-ride your way around this part of the world.
Speculation on the reason Stonehenge was built ranges from human sacrifice to astronomy, and the world heritage site is a must-see. Unless you visit on the summer or winter solstice there’s a charge to walk around the magnificent stones. However you can visit the world’s largest stone circle at Avebury for free. If you want to see Stonehenge from a unique vantage point, Heritage Cycle Tours’ accompanied ride from Salisbury arrives over the crest of a hill, for a stunning view of the stones, before passing through the iron age settlement of Old Sarum.
For an even bigger thrill, see Stonehenge from 3,500ft with Skydive Netheravon, located between Salisbury and Marlborough. Beginners can experience freefall in tandem, jump with an automatic parachute or take a learners’ skydive course.
You don’t have to head skywards to experience Wiltshire in a special way. Situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Pewsey Vale Riding Centre provides a horse ride to remember. And at Peddles and Paddles you can hire kayaks or Canadian canoes to travel down the canal to Devizes Wharf, where you’ll find the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Museum.
Alternatively, experience this fine region at a slower pace. Climb the 332 steps to the base of Britain’s tallest spire at the gothic Salisbury Cathedral. You’ll be treated to views of the medieval scaffold of the spire and across the Wiltshire countryside. Don’t leave without visiting the cathedral’s Chapter House: it’s home to one of the four original Magna Cartas.
And if you judge an area by its golfing opportunities, Wiltshire may be your dream destination: Cumberwell Park Golf Club offers rolling countryside, lakes and woodland; North Wilts Golf Club encourages players of all abilities with no tee booking required; and Tidworth Garrison Golf Club, a tree-lined, downland course for private members, was described by golfing legend Peter Alliss as “a gem of a course on the edge of Salisbury Plain”.
So whether you spend your Wiltshire trip investigating the ancient past, or trying an exciting activity or two, a break in this outstanding part of the country will make an unforgettable impression.
Where to revive
Eat: The Harrow at Little Bedwyn boasts accolades including AA Restaurant of the Year (2011) and a Michelin star. The focus is on food from artisan growers, fishermen and farmers.
Drink: Savour a pint in atmospheric surroundings at the charming Cloisters, an “olde worlde” pub minutes from Salisbury Cathedral. Or, for a more rural experience, head to the village of Market Lavington for a real ale at the Green Dragon.
Sleep: Extend your Stonehenge experience by spending the night in a luxurious “glamping pod” at Stonehenge Campsite in Salisbury (and enjoy eight real ale and foodie pubs within a four mile radius), or chill out at Whatley Manor, a beautifully restored Cotswold manor house hotel and lavish spa.
Full article and soure: guardian.co.uk