Excursion One – Sherborne Old Castle, Sherborne & Old Wardour Castle
Our first excursion begins with a visit to Sherborne Old Castle, a romantic 12th-century ruin set in picturesque grounds. Once home to bishops, kings and Sir Walter Raleigh, much of the castle was destroyed during the Civil War, however the impressive South West Gatehouse and Great Tower still stand to tell the tales of Sherborne’s past.
We then have some time in Sherborne to have lunch and explore this market town at leisure. The town has beautiful medieval buildings and a stunning abbey.
The final stop for today is Old Wardour Castle where we enjoy a guided tour. Once a luxury residence, this 14th-century ruin is set in peaceful countryside with impressive views from the turrets across the landscaped grounds.
Excursion Two – Wilton House, Salisbury, Salisbury Cathedral & Old Sarum
We visit Wilton House, an excellent example of Palladian architecture. This impressive property has been a family home for over 450 years and is set in 21 acres of landscaped parkland. The house has regularly been used as a filming location and featured in the 2005 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley. We find out more about the property on our guided tour.
Our next stop is Salisbury where we have a little free time and the chance to visit the city’s fine medieval cathedral, which boasts the tallest spire in Britain and the best preserved original 1215 Magna Carta document.
The final stop today is Old Sarum. Once the site of a thriving town, today you can explore the remains of the castle and cathedral that stood on this hill and take in the views across the Wiltshire plains and down to Salisbury. We’ll learn what happened to the town and about Old Sarum’s origins as an Iron Age hill fort on our guided tour.
Excursion Three – Bath & Farleigh Hungerford Castle
First we visit Bath, a city that revels in its glorious Georgian past. The magnificent Royal Crescent and Circus are not to be missed and the central square is home not only to Bath Abbey, but also the ancient Roman Baths. The city has an excellent selection of shops and restaurants and the much-photographed Pulteney Bridge is one of only four bridges in the world to feature shops across its full span on both sides.
Later we venture to the peaceful Farleigh Hungerford Castle. Sir Thomas Hungerford, Speaker of the Commons, began this fortified mansion in the 1370s. It was later extended in the 15th century by his son Walter, Lord Hungerford. Make sure to explore the extensive displays in the Priest’s House here.
Excursion Four – Avebury, Alexander Keiller Museum, Wiltshire Museum & Stonehenge
This morning begins at the pretty village of Avebury with its world-famous stone circle. It is one of the most important megalithic monuments in Europe. We then visit the Alexander Keiller Museum which houses one of the most important prehistoric archaeological collections in Britain.
Next we head to the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes to see Britain’s best collection of gold from the Bronze Age and exhibitions that tell 5,000 years of Wiltshire’s story.
Our final stop is Stonehenge – an iconic, unforgettable prehistoric site. There have been monuments here for 5,000 years and the unique stone circle was erected in about 2500 BC. A world-class visitor centre tells the stories behind the stones and the Neolithic huts give a glimpse into the lives of our Neolithic ancestors. We will discover more about the secrets of Stonehenge on a guided tour and end our day with a picnic.