Wiltshire and Somerset are two counties that lie next to each other in the South West of England, characterised by sweeping green landscapes, rolling hills and of course, the farmer accent. Having been born in Somerset and brought up in Wiltshire for the entire 19 years of my life, I have been exposed to what these rural counties offer. There are some real gems that people should experience when exploring the South West.
Stonehenge – Amesbury near Salisbury, Wiltshire
Starting with the most predictable of picks, Stonehenge attracts around the million mark in terms of visitors from around the world. It is a World Heritage Site, and one of Britain’s most recognisable landmarks. Stonehenge is formed of standing stones organised into a ring and historians believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC.
Roman Baths – Bath, Somerset
Another popular tourist attraction for visitors, local and not, the Roman Baths are located in the historic city of Bath. The ancient spa underwent a redevelopment in 2011, preserving it for many years to come. Although one is not welcome to jump into the waters, you can walk the perimeter of the ancient Roman remains and take in the complex.
Stourhead – Stourton, Wiltshire
Part of the National Trust, Stourhead is a beautiful estate set in over 2,500 acres of luscious gardens, woodland and Stourhead House. It is the ideal place to explore for a relaxing time, demonstrating Wiltshire’s green landscapes and natural beauty.
Shearwater – Crockerton near Warminster, Wiltshire
Another place ideal for a quiet escape from everyday life, Shearwater is a manmade lake with woodland areas encompassing it. It is popular with cyclists and walkers and has tea rooms which serve a range or hot and cold foods.
Glastonbury Tor – Glastonbury, Somerset
Set in the town known for its festival (which is actually in the nearby village of Pilton), Glastonbury Tor is a hill managed by the National Trust, topped with the Grade I listed St Michael’s Tower. Glastonbury Tor features an array of wildlife such as butterflies, birds and rabbits.
Wookey Hole Caves – Wookey Hole near Wells, Somerset
On the edge of the Mendip Hills, Wookey Hole Caves is a grand demonstration of limestone structure. The attraction is a show cave which has produced a large tourist arrangement, with adventure golf, circus acts, a fairy garden and aging cheese alongside the historic caves.
Longleat – Warminster, Wiltshire
Longleat is a house and safari park that is set in 900 acres of grounds. Longleat House shows off some of Wiltshire’s best Elizabethan architecture – ideal for history buffs – whilst the drive-through safari and Jungle Cruise boat provide heaven for animal lovers. Unite these two aspects of Longleat with a range of food, gift and adventure options, and you have a day out suitable for all.
These two counties may be steeped so much in nature, rather than big cities, that they remain off the radar for most people this summer. However, despite their modest existence, Wiltshire and Somerset hold some of England’s most picturesque views, nature, animals and history. Come to the West and discover its quiet beauty in the sun – you won’t be disappointed at the landscapes before you.