Parts & Accessories

Planning for days out in Wiltshire

02nd July 2020 | Dan Trudgian
In these unusual times and with the prospect of touring sites opening again in July, where in the UK offers opportunities for days out where you are able to practise social distancing?
The Westbury White Horse

Being socially distanced can be easier to achieve when staying in a caravan rather than a hotel or B&B but where can you go and what can you see when out exploring? Over the next 3 months I will be giving some recommendations on places to go that may not be so well known and, in this first blog post I start with my home county of Wiltshire.

Although, I’m a Bristol boy, my home for the best part of 34 years has been Wiltshire. I love this county. There is a lot to offer but when people think of Wiltshire most associate Stone circles as being the thing to visit. In fact, no matter what your interests, Wiltshire has many bases covered. Much of my recommendations will require walking and being in the great outdoors. At the time of writing its unclear what will open and when to the general public. So, my guide takes this into account.

Just some of the locks at Caen Hill

Devizes

The Market Town of Devizes situated in the centre of Wiltshire is a great place to start. The town offers nearly 500 listed buildings, has a castle and a great brewery. The town itself is a great place to wander around with some impressive architecture.  The Kennet and Avon canal runs through the town and this is my top recommendation for you. The Canal is a peaceful place to be, but has plenty of things to spot both on and off the water. To the west of the town is the impressive Caen Hill locks. A flight of 29 locks make up this impressive heritage site. The walk down is brilliant, the walk back however may take slightly longer. On a summer’s day, there is nothing better than watching the narrow boats float by using the flight of locks.

About a mile away from the locks is Foxhanger Campsite. A great place to stay if visiting Devizes or the local town of Melksham or Trowbridge. Check for opening information before travelling


Lacock

The village of Lacock is owned by the National Trust and will be familiar to many who enjoy the Harry Potter films, Pride & Prejudice and many other period dramas. The village is largely unspoilt by any modern developments and is home to the impressive Lacock Abbey.

The Abbey played a starring role in the development of photography and currently hosts the Fox Talbot museum. The village is worthy of a walk around to spot any buildings that have appeared in films or TV dramas. In fact, if you are interested in filming locations, just up the road is the town of Corsham, where its high street was used in series 1 of Poldark.

Check with National Trust regarding Abbey opening times, parking and social distancing measures in place. Pre-booking may be required.


The White Horses

White Horses are an iconic symbol of Wiltshire and currently there are 8 impressive hillside carvings.  The oldest of these White horses is Westbury, which dates back to 1778. The hill figure is located on the edge of Bratton downs and is just below the Bratton Iron age hill fort. The carving is an impressive sight. You can get up close and personal by parking on the hill and walking around the hill fort. The hill boasts some impressive views of North Wiltshire and on a clear day Beckfords Tower which overlooks the city of Bath.

Please note: the car park can be busy at peak times


Shearwater

Although Longleat Safari has recently re-opened in limited capacity as of June 15th, there is still plenty of the Longleat estate to explore, one of those areas is Shearwater Lake. The lake is man-made and is one of 5 lakes on the Longleat estate. The Lake attracts anglers, cyclists and walkers. It’s especially great for dog walks too. The lake is surrounded by woodland and makes for an excellent backdrop for any picnic. Parking can be an issue in peak times, but well worth the visit especially for a stroll on a summer evening.

Longleat has had to restrict access for angling for the time being, but you can keep an eye on updates here

Longleat Safari Park

Other notable attractions

There are many more things to check out in Wiltshire, but as I’m sure you can imagine restrictions will be in place for these attractions. If any of the locations sound interesting I do highly recommend you visit their websites and take note of any limitations.

 

Stourhead House & Landscape garden

Perhaps one if the most recognisable National Trust properties in Wiltshire, the gardens of Stourhead are stunning. With its instantly recognisable Pantheon, monuments and grotto the impressive landscape is one of Capability Browns finest works. If you are members of National Trust, parking is free and well worth a visit.


Old Sarum

Just 2 miles from Salisbury and to the south of the county Old Sarum appears in some of the earliest records in the Britain. There is much to explore here, from the Iron Age hillfort, the castle remains and Salisbury’s first cathedral. There are 29 acres of grassland around the area for you to enjoy a socially distant walk. It is recommended you visit the English Heritage website to book your visit so to allow socially distant car parking.


Longleat Safari

The park has recently reopened with its drive through safari. There are limits on the numbers of visitors that can attend, and you will need to book tickets before you arrive. That said, it is worth a visit to see some amazing wild animals. From Zebras, Giraffes to the big cats. It’s a great day out, although – I’d recommended you don’t visit the monkey enclosure! Check the website to see if any further reopening changes have been made since this post was written.

Old Sarum from the air

Club sites in Wiltshire

If you are a member of either of the national clubs, they both have a club site in the county. Depending on when you are reading this post, check the club websites to find out when sites are likely to reopen.

 

The Camping & Caravanning Club have a site just on the outskirts of Devizes and on the tow path of the Kennet and Avon.


If you are a member of the Caravan & Motorhome Club, Longleat is the perfect base for exploring the county. Situated in the Longleat estate you are often woken up from the sounds of the tigers and Lions. In normal circumstances it is also possible to walk into the park – especially handy if you are an annual pass member.


Check club websites for details on Certificated Sites in and around Wiltshire.