Stonehenge, Longleat and all that jazz
British breaks: Wiltshire
Sunday 07 June 2009
There's plenty to keep the feet tapping this summer in Wiltshire. The Marlborough Jazz Festival (marlboroughjazz .co.uk) leads the way, from 10 to 12 July, featuring old favourites and up-and-coming names including YolanDa Brown and her Trio and The Slaughterhouse Quartet, appearing in venues across the market town.
Next up, the Larmer Tree Festival, near Salisbury, from 15 to 19 July, embraces music, dance, comedy and other arts. This year, more than 80 acts are due to appear, including Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and the comedian Sean Hughes.
And hard on their heels comes the world music festival Womad (womad.org), 24 to 26 July, at Charlton Park in Malmesbury. Ethiopia's Ethiopiques, Australia's The Black Arm Band and Nigeria's Nneka are among the global stars on the programme. Expect a host of other diversions, including the festival's own spa.
See the sights
Step out on the new King Alfred's Trail. Take the kids, too – the route is less than five miles long, with brass rubbings to be done along the way. There are four walks to follow on the trail, along the banks of the Kennet and Avon Canal in Pewsey Vale, with 20 engraved plaques to rub that bear images of animals, insects and plants that you might encounter in the surrounding landscape. The trail is free to download – along with other walks, cycle routes and self-guided food trails – at visitwiltshire.co.uk.
Explore Wiltshire's prehistoric heritage – the mysterious stone circle, Stonehenge, and the remains of the Iron Age hill fort of Old Sarum (english-heritage .org.uk). Take in the unusual ruins of the 14th-century hexagonal tower house, Old Wardour Castle (english-heritage.org.uk), site of a bloody Civil War battle, and Salisbury's medieval cathedral (salisburycathedral.org.uk) with its soaring spire.
At Bowood House (bowood-house.co.uk) balance a bit of stately-house action with fun for the kids in its adventure playground, which features a pirate galleon. And Longleat House (longleat.co.uk), with its safari park, also offers entertainment to suit the whole family's tastes.
For a more contemporary tour, discover the locations of some favourite films and television shows. Start in Lacock, a popular choice for Harry Potter films and home to the BBC period drama Larkrise to Candleford. Head south towards Stourhead Gardens to find one of the elegant landscapes used in the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice (the one with Keira Knightley). And continue west to Wilton House, where much of The Young Victoria, starring Emily Blunt, was filmed.
For more things to do and accommodation suggestions, go to visitwiltshire.co.uk.
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