Wiltshire

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Wiltshire is something of a West Country secret, often overlooked by holiday makers heading straight for the coast. They're missing a treat - what this county lacks in sandy beaches it more than makes up for with glorious gardens, impressive houses and some of the most iconic sites in Britain.

Special gardens

Whether you're a keen gardener or just appreciate beautiful places with space to breathe, we've got some unmissable gardens in Wiltshire. The world-renowned landscape gardens of Stourhead are spectacular at any time of the year. In spring the paths around the lake are alive with the dramatic display of azaleas and rhododendrons. Meanwhile, the rich autumnal colours of the trees reflected in the glassy water is surely one of the South West's most iconic views.

On a smaller scale, The Courts is a charming garden showing the English country style at its very best. It's another garden for all seasons, with naturally planted spring bulbs and summer's creative colour schemes particular highlights. The topiary is terrific here, too.

Telegenic buildings

Where to begin? If the picturesque streets and historic buildings of Lacock village seem familiar, it's because they are much in demand as a filming location. Lacock Abbey, a quirky country house build upon the foundations of a former nunnery, has medieval rooms and atmospheric cloisters. The village's Fox Talbot Museum celebrates former resident William Henry Fox Talbot, famous for his photography achievements.

Few homes can boast a finer setting than Mompesson House, standing proud in the captivating Cathedral Close in Salisbury. This perfectly proportioned Queen Anne house featured in the award-winning film of Sense and Sensibility, and has magnificent plasterwork and a significant glass collection. Despite this, it's a house you can imagine living in and it has an attractive walled garden to relax in.

The refurbishment of Avebury Manor was the subject of the recent BBC series To The Manor Reborn, and its exciting new presentation has received rave reviews from visitors. Children will love trying the quirky spring chair, and the restored kitchen garden begs to be explored.

Then there's a trio of little gems to discover - Great Chalfield Manor and Garden, Westwood Manor, and Little Clarendon.

Or for something completely different, on Fridays you can take a tour of our innovative, award-winning central office, Heelis.

A magical landscape

As you'd expect from a largely rural county, Wiltshire has miles of unspoilt countryside to explore. The Stonehenge Landscape is a magical place with fantastic views of the world-famous stone circle and fine Bronze Age round barrows on the surrounding ridges.

The Avebury stone circle is slightly less well known despite being the largest in the world. While exploring this landscape, you'll come across many other prehistoric monuments. We highly recommend the special archaeology and wildlife walks with our experts, which really bring this area to life.

Dinton Park is a splendid place for a parkland walk, or for something a little more rugged, Cley Hill is worth climbing for far reaching views of West Wiltshire and Somerset. Its rich chalk downland is home to an abundance of wildflowers and insects, too.