Family Days Out Historic Cotswold Places Tourist Attractions

Longleat House

Longleat House

If you are visiting the Cotswolds and want to see a truly magnificent, stately home, Longleat is a perfect choice.  This Elizabethan country house is immense and imposing in its splendor, set on neatly cultivated grounds with elaborate hedge mazes, landscaped parkland, and even a safari park.

More than 900 acres of land comprise the grounds, landscaped by the famous Capability Brown.  The house was completed in 1580.  If you take the tour of the house, you will be able to view the Great Hall with the minstrels’ gallery, the lower east corridor, several different libraries and dining rooms, the saloon, several bedrooms, and the grand staircase.

With seven libraries and more than 40,000 books, Longleat houses one of the largest private book collections in all of Europe.  You can also view the waistcoat worn by King Charles I during his execution in 1649, still stained with his blood.

Longleat Safari Park

While you are in the area, don’t miss out on visiting the Longleat Safari Park, the first drive-through safari park located outside of Africa.  The park is situated on 9,000 acres and was opened in 1966.  You can view more than 500 animals roaming freely over the landscape, including giraffes, rhinos, lions, tigers, and more.

You can even purchase the VIP experience and feed the animals yourself—even the fearsome predators.  A passport ticket will give you access to the Longleat Safari Park, Longleat House, the gardens and grounds, the hedge maze, and many other fun attractions in the area.

There is so much to see and do here that you could easily spend days just exploring this small area of Wiltshire.

The entire experience is one which you will treasure for the rest of your life.

Cotswold Gardens Tourist Attractions Wiltshire

Peto Gardens

The Peto Gardens are located at the Ilford Manor Estate in the idyllic Ilford Valley by the Fromme River in Wiltshire.  The manor itself is a beautiful building constructed out of characteristic golden Cotswold stone with an 18th century façade.  The gardens take their name from Harold Ainsworth Peto, a landscaper who lived in the manor house from 1899 to 1933.  Peto’s beautiful gardens are still a favorite destination for visitors to the Cotswolds today.

Peto’s gardens have a very fanciful look inspired by the gardens of classical civilizations.  Roman columns, statues, and paved walkways lead visitors between shady cypress trees, tranquil pools, delightful terraces, and aromatic wisteria vines.  Visiting the Peto Gardens is like taking in a bit of classical Italy without leaving English shores.  The columns and statues will make you feel like you’ve taken a trip back in time to ancient Rome.  The Romans themselves were past inhabitants of the Ilford Valley, and through Peto’s landscape designs, they have left a lasting mark.  If you are visiting during midsummer, you can enjoy the opera and jazz concert series.  Professional and amateur artists also are invited to play on Sunday afternoons.  The Sunday concerts are free to the public to attend.

Peto Gardens Wiltshire

Historic Cotswold Places Wiltshire

Malmesbury Abbey

Although Malmesbury Abbey is a church it welcomes people of all faiths and beliefs through its doors. Promoting itself as a ‘church without boundaries’ it has something for everyone. There are several historic and religious places that are well worth a visit throughout the UK so choosing which ones to visit can be tough. However if you want to see something that offers a different point of view on things as well as offering a way for the whole family to have fun then Malmesbury Abbey is the place for you.

If you are looking at venues to hold a religious ceremony then Malmesbury Abbey is well worth checking out. They have been the hosting venue for hundreds of different ceremonies which means that they know what they are doing. The magnificent building and surrounding areas are perfect for those that want a ceremony with a different. So whether you are looking to plan a wedding, christening, baptism or other even then it is worth checking out your options with Malmesbury Abbey. What you should find is that there are loads of options surrounding religious ceremonies at this venue which means that whatever you are looking for you should be able to find something that suit you without too much hassle. The team at Malmesbury Abbey are friendly and welcoming so if you have something in mind then it is worth contacting them to see if they are able to help you – the likelihood is that they will be more than accommodating to what you have in mind!

Malmesbury Abbey want to welcome everyone into their fold which means that even if you don’t want to visit when a large ceremony or event is taking place you can simply join one of the ‘small group’ set-ups. They are used to showing around families and can make sure that you see all there is to see at Malmesbury Abbey whilst keeping the whole family happy and entertained. If you are planning to take very small children along there is also a full crèche service so you can leave them in a trained professionals hands whilst you enjoy everything that Malmesbury Abbey has to offer.

Finding Malmesbury Abbey is easy and access by car is ideal, so you really have no excuse not to visit this magnificent church and have an experience of something new and exciting!

Malmesbury Abbey

Cotswold Towns and Villages Wiltshire


Marlborough, a mid-sized market town in Wiltshire, is a great destination for tourists looking for a quiet weekend, a fun marketplace and a town with an amazing history reaching back to Neolithic times.  Marlborough is located along the Old Bath Road between London and Bath.  Its high street is the second widest in all of England.

A Neolithic burial mound on the grounds of Marlborough College is considered to be the oldest marker of civilization in Marlborough.  Locals say that Merlin is buried there and that the name of the town is derived from the term “Merlin’s Barrow.”  The motto of Marlborough is Latin for “Where now are the bones of wise Merlin.”

Other Iron Age artifacts have been uncovered in Marlborough including a decorated bronze burial bucket.  Roman artifacts and bones have also been discovered within two miles of the town at Mildenhall.  After Roman occupation, Anglo-Saxons settled the area.  In 1067 William the Conqueror constructed a motte and bailey castle in Marlborough.  Originally built of wood, the castle was later fortified with stone in 1175.  William minted silver pennies in the town as well which refer to the town by the name “Maerlebi.”

The castle and hunting grounds William established in Marlborough were enjoyed by many other monarchs after him including Henry I, Henry II, Richard I and King John, who established a treasury in the town.  John also gave Marlborough a charter for a yearly eight-day fair and a weekly farmers’ market for Wednesdays and Sundays.  Tourists in Marlborough can still attend these farmers’ markets.

Henry III was married in Marlborough and held Parliament there in the year 1267.  The groundbreaking Statue of Marlborough was passed in that Parliament which granted rights to land owners and took away the King’s right to claim their land.  The statue remains in effect to this day.

In Marlborough you can enjoy shopping in the markets and the high street and also see the famous Merchant’s House, open on Fridays and Saturdays during the summer months.  The house was rebuilt after it burned in the Great Fire of 1653 and is currently undergoing restoration so that it can later be opened to display daily life as it existed in the 17th century.  You can also see Chandlers Yard on High Street, which has remained more or less unchanged in four centuries.

Another famous landmark in Marlborough is the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, originally erected by the Normans and later rebuilt during the Cromwellian era.  In the countryside surrounding Marlborough you can occasionally see crop circles which pop up regularly in the area.  There is a stone circle six miles outside of town to the west in Avebury.  The circle is larger and more ancient than the more famous Stonehenge.

There is much of historical and legendary consequence in Marlborough.  The High Street is one of the most delightful in Britain.  Marlborough’s environs are as interesting as the town itself and this is surely a lovely stop on any tourist’s trip through the Cotswolds.

View Hotels in Marlborough

Cotswold Towns and Villages Wiltshire


Malmesbury is a small market town located in the southern Cotswolds in Wiltshire County next to a number of freshwater springs.  It has ancient roots as a Neolithic fort but after being chartered by Alfred the Great it became a significant town in the Middle Ages.  Alfred granted the charter in 880 AD, which makes it the oldest borough in England.  It is believed to be possibly the oldest inhabited town in the country.

The famous Malmesbury Abbey was constructed in 675 AD by a poet and musician named Aldheim and has survived over thirteen centuries of warfare, neglect and politics.  Henry VII’s Dissolution Act spelled destruction for many of the monasteries in England, but the Malmesbury survived.  The city claims to have been passed back and forth seven times during the English civil war and the Abbey survived that ordeal as well.

The Abbey guest house has been converted into the oldest hotel in England, The Old Bell Hotel.  The Abbey was believed to have contained the very first organ in the country and now it boasts a Dobson pipe organ.  King Athelstan is buried there.  The most well known trivia about the Abbey concerns a monk named Elmer who in 1010 built himself a pair of wings and attempted to fly off the Abbey tower.  Unfortunately he crash landed and crippled his legs for life.  Nonetheless he was planning a second attempt for the sky before the Abbot put a stop to it.  He lived in the Abbey for the rest of his life.

There are a number of lovely bed and breakfasts and hotels in which you can enjoy your evenings in the peaceful Cotswold town of Malmesbury.  With such an idiosyncratic and rich history, you will be sure to find much of historical interest to entertain and enlighten you during your stay!