"Wiltshire, Ancient capital of Wessex" Top 5 Page for this destination Wiltshire by LouiseTopp

Wiltshire Travel Guide: 767 reviews and 2,199 photos

Wiltshire, a brief history

Named the access to the West Country, Wiltshire is the county of great variety. It covers an region of almost 3,500 sq km it joins up the areas of Kennet, West Wilts, North Wilts, Salisbury and South Wilts with the Borough of Swindon. With inhabitants of nearly 430,000 & with much of the county chosen as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Wiltshire is the perfect destination for a peaceful break at any time of the year. Enjoy the prettiness of the gardens; walk the White Horse Trail to see the eight white horses carved into the hillsides since Saxon times; or take a relaxed meander through the market towns, & pick up the real spirit of country life.

Various village's in Wiltshire


The village on the east side of the 'long ford' has a Saxon name & is on the site of an occupied Roman settlement. Various ancient flints & tools have been found there. Alderbury's inn the Green Dragon is commonly agreed to be the Blue Dragon in Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit. Dickens stayed there while collecting bits & pieces for the book. It is the closest village to the forest of Clarendon. situated 2 miles downstream from Alderbury, on the same side of the river & superbly placed on a highland overlooking the broad valley is Trafalgar House. Constructed in 1814 in thanks for Nelson?s victory & was given to his brother, the first Earl Nelson.


The primeval forest of Clarendon which once expanded to the eastern outskirts of Salisbury, the early city of Salisbury owed much of its wealth to the Palace of Clarendon. It was a favorite place of the Kings of England, from the time of William the Conqueror to the War of the Roses. The palace was atop a hill site on the east scarp of that hidden valley & showed a distant view of the cathedral. It most likely began its career as a hunting lodge in Saxon times, & later as a country home for the Plantagenet?s. An archaeological ditch during excavations of 1930, exposed traces of a building with a different position below the Norman walls.

Other finds included the oven used for making tiles, amid which were some depicting Richard the Lionheart on horseback fighting Saladin. Other tiles are of dragons, griffins, ramparts & all show the fleur-de-lys. Consecutive monarchs after William I added to & enhanced it until in the 13th & 14th centuries it was one of the biggest & most outstanding residential buildings in England, second only to the great palace of Westminster. The Palace passed into insignificance after Henry the 8th. It was here that some of the earliest laws relating to the church and state were drawn up. Henry the Second and Archbishop Becket met here and agreed on sixteen points regulating the conduct of clergy.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lovely scenery
  • Cons:horrible in the rain
  • In a nutshell:History all around
  • Last visit to Wiltshire: Dec 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (26)

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Comments (5)

  • uglyscot's Profile Photo
    Oct 27, 2008 at 7:45 AM

    We're off to Longleat tomorrow, so was having a peep at your pages. Used to come this way a lot as a child, bur sadly have forgotten all but Stonehenge.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Dec 13, 2005 at 4:54 PM

    Wiltshire was one of my favourite locations on my last trip to England! However, I wish that I had known even half of the facts that you have given us here! Thanks for the great page.

  • munki's Profile Photo
    Sep 12, 2005 at 1:03 PM

    Hi Jane, I like your Wiltshire page. Both your tips and pictures are great. Thanks for sharing.

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Sep 28, 2004 at 9:43 AM

    I really like the stuff that doesn't read like a guide book.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Dec 12, 2003 at 6:01 AM

    Nice start with brilliant pics of an interesting area ... A pity I missed it on my England trips ... :o)


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