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Must-See English Heritage Sites in Wiltshire, UK

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Are you looking for the top English Heritage sites in Wiltshire? Read on to discover our pick of the best and their interesting histories…

Wiltshire & the English Heritage

Of all the counties in the South West of England, Wiltshire has to be up there as having the most English Heritage sites within close proximity to each other.

In fact, earlier this year, Scott and I saw roughly half a dozen of them in just one long circular walk!

Speaking of which, it’s times like these that remind me just how circular life can be as well.

When I was a teenager, I actually lived within a 5-minute walk of Ludgershall Castle (number 8 on this list). And now here I am, 15 years later, writing about it and all the other must-see English Heritage sites in Wiltshire.

Let’s check them out, shall we?

Psst! If you’re not yet an English Heritage member, you can grab 20% off gift and annual memberships with our exclusive discount code: WOWEHM20. Just click this link and enter our discount code before paying. (Note: This offer expires December 31st 2024).

Must-See English Heritage Sites in Wiltshire

1. Stonehenge

Stonehenge in Wiltshire

It seems fitting to start with Stonehenge: perhaps the most well-known English Heritage site on this list and in the UK!

This infamous stone circle dates back to around 2500 BC. Historians discovered that the stones align with the sunrise and sunset and other movements of the sun.

Many theories have been put forward as to why the stones are there and they all have one thing in common: spirituality.

This was incredibly important to the people of the Neolithic and Bronze Age eras, so Stonehenge (and many other English Heritage sites on this list) centre on that.

Fun Fact: I once spent the night at Stonehenge for Summer Solstice when I was 17 and had to walk home at 5 in the morning. I got as far as Amesbury before I had to call my mum to come and pick me up – LOL!

Both English Heritage and National Trust members can visit Stonehenge for free. Otherwise, you’ll need to book your ticket online or pay upon arrival.

Plan your visit to Stonehenge now.

2. Avebury

Part of Avebury Stone Circle

Speaking of stone circles, you’ll find Avebury roughly 24 miles north of Stonehenge, which is also home to a Neolithic stone circle – albeit a less famous one.

Built between 2850 BC and 2200 BC (approximately) and consisting of over 100 stones across three stone circles, Avebury is said to be the largest stone circle in the world

Yep, it might be less famous than Stonehenge but it’s actually larger (at least in terms of circumference, diameter, etc.)

While you’re here, you can visit the Alexander Keiller Museum to discover a large collection of prehistoric artefacts, as well as Avebury Manor, a Grade I listed 16th-century manor house.

English Heritage members can visit the museum for free while Avebury Manor is under the guardianship of the National Trust so requires an NT membership or separate entry fees.

Note: While everyone’s welcome to visit Avebury and the stone circle for free, you’ll need to pay for all-day parking unless you’re an English Heritage or National Trust member.

Plan your visit to Avebury now.

3. Silbury Hill

Silbury Hill near Avebury in the UK

Remember when I said Scott and I saw a whole bunch of Wiltshire English Heritage sites in just one walk?

Well, you can follow in our footsteps via this blog post, which starts at Avebury and takes you to several English Heritage sites.

Up first is Silbury Hill, which you can admire from the public right of way (you’re not allowed to actually climb the hill).

Alternatively, you can park along the main road nearby if you’re not able to do the 30-minute walk from Avebury.

At 30 metres high by 160 metres wide and taking roughly 4 million hours to create, Silbury Hill resembles the height and volume of the Egyptian pyramids. Incredible, huh?

Archaeologists believe Silbury Hill was built between 2370 BC and 2350 BC, but they have yet to discover its purpose.

Plan your visit to Silbury Hill now.

4. West Kennet Long Barrow

West Kennet Long Barrow, Wiltshire

Next up, you’ll find West Kennet Long Barrow atop a hill overlooking farmer’s fields. At roughly 100 metres long, it’s an impressive chamber to discover!

Built in around 3650 BC, West Kennet Long Barrow is one of the largest Neolithic chambered tombs in Britain. 

It was used as a burial site for approximately 1,000 years. At least 46 people were buried or had their cremated ashes laid to rest here before the chambers were blocked up.

Going inside West Kennet Long Barrow in Wiltshire

Today, you can stand on top of the barrow to admire the 360-degree views across the surrounding countryside and even take a look inside the tomb for free!

Plan your visit to West Kennet Long Barrow.

5. The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary is another Neolithic site worth seeing in this area.

It’s about a 1.5-mile walk from West Kennet Long Barrow across fields and public rights of way, or you can drive there and park up across the road.

It’s believed that the creation of The Sanctuary began in about 2500 BC.

Although you can now only see a small circle of stones, there was once a complex arrangement of wooden posts on top of these stones.

Used as a ceremonial temple in the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age periods, archaeologists who excavated the site in 1930 found various items such as animal bones, pieces of pottery and tools made from flint. These are believed to have been offerings.

Plan your visit to The Sanctuary now.

6. Woodhenge

Woodhenge in Wiltshire

Wiltshire is home to yet another Neolithic henge looked after by the English Heritage.

Woodhenge is just a 10-minute drive from Stonehenge and yet so many people miss out on seeing it because they don’t know it’s there!

Likely built around 2500 BC, Woodhenge consists of multiple concentric ovals of concrete posts (to signify where the wooden posts once stood all those centuries ago).

Unlike Stonehenge, Woodhenge is free to visit for all with free parking available nearby.

If you’re interested in history and hidden gems, then this one is well worth seeing – especially if you’re visiting nearby Stonehenge!

Plan your visit to Woodhenge now.

7. Old Sarum

Old Sarum in Wiltshire

Found on the outskirts of Salisbury, Old Sarum was Salisbury’s original cathedral (until the current one was built in 1226).

Old Sarum continued to be a town and later a borough – albeit a largely reglected one – until around 1832.

But before all that, and given Old Sarum was first built in around 400 BC, it was an Iron Age hillfort.

Today, you can see the footprint of the cathedral and wander along the rampart ruins to learn all about Old Sarum’s varied history.

English Heritage members can visit Old Sarum for free, which includes parking. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay for parking and the entry fee separately.

Plan your visit to Old Sarum now.

8. Ludgershall Castle

As I mentioned, I used to live near Ludgershall Castle, so I thought it would be rude of me not to include it in this list of English Heritage sites in Wiltshire.

You probably won’t want to make a special trip just to see this castle. It’s small but you can wander through the footprint of the castle and see several of its original walls.

But if you find yourself driving past, then you might want to make a quick detour – especially if you love history and discovering hidden gems.

Ludgershall Castle initially dates back to the 11th century. But in the 13th century, King John and his son, Henry III made improvements to the castle so they could use it as a hunting lodge.

You used to be able to see the large walls up close and wander through a doorway. But it looks like this has been fenced off recently for safety reasons.

When you’ve finished looking at the ruins, wander along the ramparts and this will soon join a nearby field.

If you fancy it, you can follow the public right of way for a relaxing countryside walk and later a woodland walk. Collingbourne Wood is within a short walking distance of the castle.

Plan your visit to Ludgershall Castle now.

9. Bratton White Horse

The White Horse in Wiltshire

Speaking of pitstops, while you’re driving around Wiltshire looking for these fabulous English Heritage places, you might find yourself driving along some of the main A roads such as the A36.

Keep an eye out for “The White Horse” near Westbury, which is a large chalk horse cut into the side of a hill. Historians believe the horse was created in the late 1600s.

If you’re driving or walking nearby, then you really can’t miss it. Seeing as it’s 180 ft (55 metres) tall and 170 ft (52 metres) wide!

You can also get closer to it on foot if you prefer, which also affords you spectacular views across the surrounding landscape.

Plan your visit to Bratton White Horse now.

BONUS: Farleigh Hungerford Castle

Farleigh Hungerford Castle

And finally, as a bonus, why not make a trip to see Farleigh Hungerford Castle?

Although this 14th-century fortified mansion is in Somerset, it sits close to the Wiltshire boundary line. So it’s roughly a 40- or 50-minute drive from aforementioned places like Stonehenge and Avebury.

While the castle ruins themselves offer a picturesque look back on history, the views across the surrounding countryside are also beautiful.

Well worth a visit – especially as you might find yourself fairly close by anyway.

Plan your visit to Farleigh Hungerford Castle now.

And there you have it – our pick of 9 must-see English Heritage sites in Wiltshire. Which one or ones do you think you might visit? Let us know in the comments below…

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Must-See English Heritage Sites in Wiltshire
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Justine Jenkins

Justine is one half of the married couple behind the Wanderers of the World travel blog. She lives in Bristol, UK and has travelled extensively within Europe and beyond since 2013. After her trips, she shares detailed travel itineraries, helpful travel guides and inspiring blog posts about the places she's been to. When she's not travelling overseas, you'll find her joining her husband, Scott on various day trips, weekend getaways and walks within the UK, which she also writes about on Wanderers of the World. Aside from travelling and writing, she also loves reading, crafting and learning about nature.

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