Wiltshire is a blooming wonderful place to visit this spring! There’s an amazing range of colourful and fragrant flowers, trees and shrubs nestled within an ancient landscape.
The county’s strong connection with the past makes it the perfect place to enjoy the present, so where better to press pause and let time stand still. The ideal location to help replace what the rest of the week has taken out.
Enjoy a weekend break to appreciate the county’s history and heritage, stately homes and gardens, arts and culture, food and drink, shopping and nightlife all with a very warm welcome. VisitWiltshire has highlighted some key places of interest and great places to stay that are perfect for visitors to the county this spring.
Fantastic carpets of bluebells are beginning to emerge in woodland and can be seen in all their glory at various locations throughout the county. These include West Woods, south west of Marlborough, Grovely Wood, part of the Wilton estate sitting between the Nadder and Wylye valleys, and only a mile from Chippenham is Mortimores Wood, which dates back to the 12th century.
Travel from the pretty village of Sandy Lane with its thatched cottages towards Lacock and you’ll be greeted with beautiful displays of bluebells in Wheelers Wood as you descend Bowden Hill.
The gardens of Bowood come to life with many colours and fragrances which make for an amazing visual and olfactory sensation; particularly when the rhododendron gardens open up for visitor tours from late April to mid-June. Almost 30 original hardy hybrid rhododendrons, which were thought to be extinct, have recently been re-discovered within the collection making it one of the earliest rhododendron gardens in the country. Also, don’t miss Toby Buckland’s Garden Festival at Bowood on 5 & 6 June – a new and exciting two day gardening festival celebrating horticulture at its best!
Join the National Trust for one of their spring walks during May for the chance to see some of Stourhead’s bluebells and beautiful magnolia trees, top.
Cricklade North Meadow (a National Nature Reserve protected by Natural England) is an ancient flood plain on the banks of the upper Thames, which is renowned as one of the best examples of a lowland hay meadow in Europe. Before the days of intensive farming many British meadows used to be covered in wild flowers. Today Cricklade is a living example of how the meadow used to look with its lush carpet of meadow flowers, one of the most striking of which is the snakeshead fritillary, a rare plant which flourishes in this grassland habitat. The pretty, purple, chequered, bell-shaped flowers are at their best in mid-late April.
Cricklade is home to 85% of the UK’s population of this rare flower, so-named after the snakeskin pattern and the shape of its bud before it opens. Picking is strictly forbidden, and visitors are asked to keep to the designated footpaths. At the moment, there are just a couple of the flowers on display but it’s worth looking on the local Cricklade in Bloom – Fritillary Watch site for more updates.
With the roses budding, cherry blossom and magnolias flowering and with wisteria to follow in a few weeks’ time, The Peto Garden at Iford Manor is definitely worth a visit. In May the Iford Arts Festival sees the return of the popular Three-to-Tea Concerts in the Cloister on Sundays, which are free to attend (just pay normal garden entry) and offer a great platform for local musicians to come and perform in a beautiful space.
If you would you like to discover and explore Wiltshire’s countryside on foot, Wiltshire Wild Walks offer a unique journey of wildlife discovery and teach you how to identify birds, insects or other fauna and flora, by sight and sound. The county has a fabulous array of wildlife; a huge variety of habitats, including chalk grassland, ancient woodland, heaths and forest; and a biodiversity to rival any county. Half day tours last around four hours and start from £60 and full day tours are from £95.
For more information see VisitWiltshire