The pretty market town of Marlborough used to be a common stopover point between London and Bath, occupying a prime position on the Old Bath Road, and still remains popular with visitors to this day.
Situated on the River Kennet in Wiltshire, Marlborough has known human habitation since prehistoric times.
There are a number of tumuli, or mounds, in the locality, some occupying the grounds of Marlborough College a famous independent school that lies in the town. In fact, the region is well known for sites of prehistoric construction.
With so much on Marlborough’s doorstep it is the perfect place to choose as a base for a break in the English countryside, so long as you have a car to get around the county’s attractive byways.
Take It Easy
Marlborough is blessed with a wide range of leisure activities that you can take advantage of during your stay. There are at least eight equestrian centres in the town and more that are little more than a few minutes distance by car. If golf is your game, there are a number of courses to tempt you locally including the nine hole Basset Down course which welcomes newcomers.
At the college end of the high street you can find Marlborough Leisure Centre which offers a sports hall, a swimming pool as well as sauna and steam room facilities. The centre also benefits from a fully equipped fitness suite and, ideal if you are staying with young children in your party, a soft play area. There are also plenty of hostelries and restaurants to enjoy once your leisure activities come to an end. From tea rooms and cafés to pubs and fine dining, you can find it all.
It is possible to get around Wiltshire by public transport but, being a rural county, most holidaymakers tend to get about by car.
As car travel affords much more flexibility it is possible to organise circular tours, visiting the surrounding monuments and villages without having to head back the way that you came.
If you are heading out on one of these trips take some basic precautions as, if anything goes wrong, you can be miles from help. Ensure you have enough fuel, water and oil. Take a map with you and make sure you have cover in case of mechanical failure. This needn’t be expensive, so long as you seek a competitive deal and avoid miss-selling practices that some brokers engage in.
Head off on the open country roads with the peace of mind that you are fully prepared. In high summer take care on roads with high hedges that you cannot see around and be prepared for slow moving farm vehicles, too.
Local Wiltshire Produce
Being a farming county, there’s plenty of Wiltshire produce that you should sample during your stay. Keep an eye open for a logo marked ‘Wiltshire Food and Drink’ that is given to shops and eateries which meet certain criteria regarding the sourcing of local produce.
Marlborough itself plays host to a communities market, which features a farmers’ market, on the high street on the first Sunday of each month from 10am. Bradford on Avon farmers’ market is held in Westbury Gardens on the third Thursday of every month. Salisbury has a weekly one each Wednesday morning and early afternoon, held at Poultry Cross.
The historic monuments so close to Marlborough rightly attract many tourists, but head to the south of the county to get off the beaten track.
A good idea is to travel cross country via Devizes to Warminster in the far south-west of Wiltshire. Warminster lies on the edge of the Cranborne Chase and at one end of the beautiful Wylye Valley.
It is an area of stunning natural beauty. Kids will also love a visit to Longleat Safari Park which is nearby. Another local attraction worth checking out is Brokerswood Country Park which is an area of eco-friendly managed woodland. There are regular outdoor activity days held there including canoeing, bush-craft and even survival skills weekends.