Five Fun and Family-Friendly Attractions In South Wiltshire
By AdFeatures | Friday, January 04, 2013, 06:49
Wiltshire’s serene beauty and quintessentially English landscape have made it an enduringly popular location for UK weekend breaks, particularly with those looking to escape busy urban living. Many are surprised to learn that this serene county has a wealth of of unique and exciting attractions to discover during their visit. Here is a quick look at five of our favourites.
An attraction that should need no introduction for Wiltshire residents, Stourhead is a majestic estate near Mere that sits within its very own secluded valley. Henry Hoare’s son designed Stourhead’s famous landscape gardens, full of charming grottos and follies, in the 1740s. The constructions surrounding the huge lake at the gardens’ centre were intended by the younger Hoare to represent the different stages of the legendary journey of Virgil’s Aeneas. Stourhead House itself is a grand Palladian mansion, boasting a beautiful Picture Gallery, Regency library and bespoke furniture collection, which have been preserved to this day.
2. Bush Farm Bison Centre
Bush Farm is located amongst acres of picturesque English countryside, but is home to some decidedly alien residents. As well as herds of bison, you’ll meet elk, red deer, prarie dogs, chipmunks, raccoons, rhea and guanaco. There are picnic and play areas to explore in the oak woodland surrounding the farm, while the museum room has Native American art and artefacts on display. Visit in the second weekend of July to pitch up a tipi and join in with the farm’s very own Pow Wow.
3. Salisbury Cathedral
Arguably Britain’s best cathedral, this architectural wonder is the centrepiece of Wiltshire’s only city. Construction began on the cathedral nearly 800 years ago, and it contains the oldest working clock in the world – which dates back to 1386 AD. Museums and historic buildings abound in the surrounding Cathedral Close. Guided tours are available, and there is a café and picnic area on site. Don’t miss the Salisbury Cathedral Choir, who sing there daily.
4. Longleat Forest Center Parcs
Just south of Warminster is the beautiful 9,800-acre Longleat Estate, within which lies Longleat Forest Center Parcs, a long-time favourite with families for short break holidays. Center Parcs visitors can explore scenic countryside surroundings, but with every important convenience and amenity available – especially important when holidaying with kids. There are also tons of activities to enjoy, from gentle indoor arts and crafts, to outdoor pursuits such as water sports, cycling, horse riding and nature trails.
5. Longleat Safari Park
Also part of Longleat Estate is Longleat Safari Park, which was the first drive-through safari to be launched outside of Africa when it opened in 1966. Here you can see hundreds of exotic animals that have made themselves at home in the Wiltshire countryside. 2012 saw Longleat expand, with a new gorilla colony and lemur walk-through added – and giraffe feeding is now even on offer to visitors.