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Things to Do in Wiltshire

You won’t find yourself short of things to do in Wiltshire. Attractions range from golf courses and abbey ruins to wildlife parks and race circuits such as the track at Castle Combe. Take an art and shopping trip in Salisbury, relax by the Kennet and Avon Canal or tour monumental homes like Wilton House, Chalfield Manor, Stourhead and Longleat – the setting for the BBC’s Animal Park.

The stand-out attraction in this part of the country though has to be Stonehenge, a world-famous landmark which is thought to be more than four thousand years old. It’s believed that the site began as an area of burial mounds, and it seems to have been an ancient site even before the famous standing stones were erected – with evidence that wooden posts stood here even as far back as 8000BC.

Theories abound about Stonehenge’s purpose. Historians propose that the site may have been used both as a sacred place of healing and pilgrimage, and as a form of observatory and solar calendar to predict eclipses, equinoxes and solstices – which would have been especially important to religions of the time which tended to worship the sun. What captures the imagination more than anything about these standing stones though is their construction – particularly the way in which ancient builders were able to hoist gigantic 3-ton stones to lie horizontally on top of their even heavier vertical counterparts. One of the best places to visit in Wiltshire, Stonehenge is easy to reach on a daytrip to Salisbury, located just eight miles north of the city.

Some of the best places to visit in Wiltshire include historic Warminster and the Anglo-Saxon market town of Calne, which combines old stone buildings on winding lanes with modern architecture and public sculptures. You could see Boscombe Down’s collection of fighter aircraft through the decades, the Steam Museum of Brunel’s Great Western Railway or the peaceful Gothic beauty of Salisbury Cathedral after a leisurely city tour.

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