Wonders of Wiltshire
Wiltshire is known worldwide for its archaeological monuments, especially Stonehenge. This fame is deserved but there is much more than this. The most amazing wonders of Wiltshire are:
- Archaeological landscape – Wiltshire is home to the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in Europe. Several of these monuments are unique in the world. New, exciting and often enigmatic monuments still are found here.
- Churches – Salisbury Cathedral is architecture monument of world importance, but in Wiltshire are located numerous other very old medieval churches.
- Country houses – county is very rich with diverse interesting country houses built by once important and influential people. Several country houses have rich art collections.
Map with the described wonders
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Top 25 wonders of Wiltshire
One of the most popular archaeological monuments in the world, consisting of a group of large standing stones in a circular setting, erected sometime around 2500 BC (?). Located in the middle of a dense complex of archaeological monuments.
West Kennet Long Barrow
Neolithic tomb, megalithic monument. Chambered long barrow, the longest in Britain – roughly 100 m long. Built in 3600 BC and used until 2500 BC. Ghost stories.
Earliest settlement of Salisbury, inhabited since 3000 BC. Nowadays seen massive earthworks of Iron Age hillfort (around 500 BC) and ruins of royal castle from 11th century.
Artificial, 37 m tall mound. The tallest prehistoric human-made mound in Europe. Built approximately at 2750 BC, purpose unclear.
One of the most impressive representatives of Early English architecture (Early Gothic style), built in 1220 – 1258. Spire of the church is 123 m tall. Contains the oldest working clock of the world, from 1386. Contains many valuable works of art.
Village with almost unspoilt appearance since the 18th century. Most of the buildings in the village were built in the 18th century or earlier. Village has an unusual planning with a large block of buildings in the center.
Late medieval castle with a triangular planning. It was constructed in the late 16th century over a former structure. Rebuilt in the early 19th century. Unusual, adorned facade.
The Old Bell Hotel and Restaurant
Possibly, the oldest existing hotel in England that exists since 1220. Luxurious interior with valuable details from the 13th century. Reportedly, haunted.
Early representative of English landscape gardens, developed in 1741 – 1780 around an artificial lake. Contains interesting examples of landscape architecture – The Pantheon, Temple of Apollo, bridge and notably – the 49 m tall King Alfred’s Tower. Gardens contain large collection of trees and shrubs from the whole world.
Large country house, first built around 1725 and extended in the 1750ies and 1770ies. Although large part of this country house was demolished in the 1950ies, the remaining structure still represents an impressive sight. Contains valuable collection of paintings. Beautiful gardens.
Monastery, established in the early 13th century. Construction started in 1232. In 1539 converted to a house, the church was destroyed. Around 1550 was added Renaissance style tower. Beautiful Gothic cloister. In the 1750ies altered in Neo-Gothic style. Here was taken the earliest known photographic negative in 1835 by William Talbot – it shows a window of the palace.
Unique, well preserved medieval village with most houses from the 15th century (many – earlier). Contains numerous valuable features, such as an early clock, market cross.
Early railway tunnel, built in 1836 – 1841 after the design of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. This 2,937 m long tunnel is a high achievement of engineering.
Cherhill White Horse
This hill figure was made in 1780. Originally the figure was 50 by 67 m large. There were 13 such horse figures in Wiltshire, now eight are seen.
Cricklade St Sampson’s church
Medieval church, built on the remains of Saxon church from 890 AD. Main part built between 1240 – 1280. Beautiful belltower with four spires.
Impressive and beautiful country house built in the middle 16th – middle 17th century. The architecture of building represents Mannerist – early Neo-Classicism style.
Manor house in the site where important manor houses have existed since Saxon times. Current building is from 1582, redesigned and rebuilt in 1761 – 1764 and in 1796, in 1844 – 1849. Contains important art collections.
An important example of early English Palladian style in architecture. This manor house was built in 1720 – 1724. Contains rich library and art collection.
Westbury White Horse
Large hill figure of horse, made in the middle of the 18th century, restored in 2006.
Historical centre of Salisbury
Medieval market city, established in 1220, moving over from the nearby ancient Old Sarum. Historical center of Salisbury is centered around Salisbury Cathedral and contains numerous historical buildings, including parts of medieval city wall with gates. Markets are held here since 1227.
Wardour Old Castle Ruins
Ruins of impressive, large castle, built in the 14th century. Castle in unique due to hexagonal planning. Partly blown up in 1644.
Great Chalfield Manor
Late medieval manor house with moat. Built in 1465 – 1480, rebuilt in the 19th and 20th centuries. Beautiful garden.
Large country house that is associated with the family of Admiral Lord Nelson.
Inglesham St John the Baptist church
Well preserved medieval church that was built using the remains of earlier Anglo-Saxon church. Constructed sometimes around 1205 and largely unchanged since then. Contains Anglo-Saxon art, medieval paintings in up to 7 layers.
King Alfred’s Tower
Unusual monument – 49 m tall tower of red brick, resembling a medieval fortification. Constructed in 1772 to commemorate Alfred The Great who defeated Danish army in 878.
Walking is one of Britain’s favorite leisure activities, and this guide features a variety of mapped walks to suit all abilities. Featured are all of the practical detail you need, accompanied by fascinating background reading on the history and wildlife of Wiltshire, and clear mapping for ease of use. Every route has been color-coded according to difficulty, and walks are annotated with local points of interest and places to stop for refreshments.
Wiltshire contains some of the most important archaeological sites in Britain. Its prehistoric remains include the breathtaking Stonehenge, awesome stone circle at Avebury, the enigma of Silbury Hill, and a large number of hillforts. Among these important sites are also found smaller, perhaps lesser-known monuments of the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages, including the King Barrow cemetery and Woodhenge. Bob Clarke, the author of numerous books on military archaeology and history, takes us on a tour of the prehistoric sites in this archaeologically rich county, using aerial photography and outstanding images, which accompany the informative text.