North Wessex Downs AONB, Units 3-4, Denford Manor, Lower Denford, Hungerford, RG17 0UN
01488 685 440


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Visit North Wessex Downs

Heritage and Culture

Within The North Wessex Downs there are many fascinating places to visit and experience from prehistory to the present day. Along the Ridgeway are dotted some of the most magical prehistoric locations in the country. The internationally renowned Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site and the magnificent White Horse at Uffington are well known to visitors but there are many other interesting sites such as the Neolithic tombs of Kennet Long Barrow and Wayland’s Smithy that are equally mysterious places to visit.


For a predominantly rural area the North Wessex Downs has a surprisingly rich industrial heritage. At the Crofton Pumping Station on the Kennet and Avon Canal you can see the world’s oldest steam engines in action in their original location. And if you love the nostalgia of steam, travel in style on the steam railways of Cholsey and Wallingford or Swindon and Cricklade or plan a visit to Didcot Railway Centre or the STEAM Museum in Swindon before you leave. For people who like more tranquil locations, the Windmill on the hill at Wilton is the only working windmill in Wessex.

The North Wessex Downs is home to some of the England’s finest country houses from the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries. Highclere Castle (famous as the location of ‘Downton Abbey’ in the television series) has impressive staterooms, an Egyptian exhibition and wonderful grounds to roam. Less well known but just as interesting are the 18th Century, Basildon Park near Pangbourne and the 17th Century ‘Dutch style’ Ashdown House. The Watermill Theatre near Newbury manages to combine heritage, culture and cuisine to deliver the perfect night out on your stay. The historic old watermill set in an idyllic location has established a reputation as a leading regional theatre with a great atmosphere.

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