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The garden of delights…

A Mecca for garden lovers has been reborn as an international visitor destination set in a dazzling landscape of seasonal colour. Greg Rhodes meets the team bringing Grade 1 Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens back to life.

In July, one of the greatest landscaped gardens in the UK reopens its doors to the public. Eight years ago, Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens passed into the hands of a reputed billionaire who had harboured plans to redevelop the site to present a more inclusive public offering.

Somehow, that vision never came to be, leaving garden lovers everywhere wondering if they would ever see the gardens’ glories again.

That wish has been fulfilled, following the purchase of the 200-acre estate by Zimbabwean entrepreneur Penny Streeter, whose multi-million pound plans for the Grade 1 Listed site stretch far beyond a mere horticultural glory created out of a valley in a tranquil corner of West Sussex.

Leonardslee is a garden destination to delight the public that can be marvelled at once again for its many original features -most, if not all, fashioned to some degree by human hands and ingenuity.

The garden team tasked with bringing the gardens back to life commands a lifetime of experience in horticulture.

“We are piecing together the jigsaw of this unique garden,” comments General Manager Adam Streeter, Penny’s son, “and need all the skills and resources of a large team to do it.”

“The gardens are opening soon but the process of recataloguing the huge number and diversity of plants continues, as does relabelling and electronically tagging everything out there,” he adds.

When the head gardener first came on site and met Adam, he declared the mission “quite mad”. Everything was green with algae, overgrown and, in parts, impenetrable as years of reported neglect had taken their toll.

“Such a magnificent site but smothered in a layer of weeds and unwanted growth,” was the head gardener’s verdict.

Knotweed had invaded the site, but thankfully only a small patch, which the team is managing. Silver birch saplings had taken over in areas surrounding the 18th century stately mansion – restored now as the home of Interlude, a fine dining restaurant opening later this year, and a venue for wedding receptions, ceremonies and events.

Bracken and heather had burst through their confines – they were fine in their place but unwelcome in the more cultivated feature areas such as The Rock Garden, Bluebell Glade or Camellia Grove.

“The herd of wallabies that had lived here for decades and had kept the lawns short in earlier days, did well to survive in the gardens for so long and managed to do a bit of pruning as well, but in places, opportunistic species such as silver birch had proliferated,” Adam says.

Although a few escaped and have been spotted in local woodland reportedly – one with a joey in its pouch – the herd will once again become a familiar and beloved feature of Leonardslee – especially the albinos.

“This is a very special place,” Adam states. “Woodland gardens on this scale and diversity are rare, but the Rock Garden, for example, is exceptional.”

With many Champion specimens recorded on the national tree register, Leonardslee enjoys a lengthy flowering season, starting with the towering magnolias, moving through to the camellia blossoms then the full force of colour through April, May and into early June as the vast selection of rhododendrons and azaleas blaze a trail of colour across whole swathes of the valley, along the miles of secluded footpaths and at the entrance of the gardens.

“It is taking the full horticultural year to know and understand what we have here,” Adam continues, “such is the diversity.”

Since closure to the public in 2010, Leonardslee’s carefully constructured views and vistas had lost their lustre as plants, bushes and trees merged into each other.

Many views had taken in the several lakes that an earlier generation of the Loder family, who had called the gardens home for more than 120 years, had engineered from the stream running through the valley bottom.

Gravity-fed, the lakes feed through a system of sluices, with water also being recirculated. The old Victorian pumphouse has been transformed into the Bar and Restaurant by the Lakes, creating a peaceful spot to admire the surroundings of the lower stretches of the gardens.

“Our survey of the lakes revealed Koi and black carp weighing up to 30lb, so we may introduce fishing at some stage,” Adam reports.

“Judicious coppicing and pruning are bringing these picture postcard spectacles back to life,” adds Adam. “We’re slowly but surely regenerating the beauty and character of Leonardslee.”

The 13-strong team of gardeners are on a mission of rejuvenation without resort to chemicals or pesticides. “I recruited people with a broad range of skills and all experienced gardeners,” notes the head gardener. “I don’t have to micro manage them.”

“We have worked out from the Manor House, progressively restoring and have developed a circular route enabling visitors to take in the sights in a logical order.”

“As a natural site, a little bit of wilderness has its place, but so do manicured lawns, and the place for these is around the Manor House where attention to detail is vital. We’ve sown extensively up at this top end of the site near the main entrance, where weddings guests will congregate.”

“At around ten acres, the lawn areas are not huge. The ride-ons, rough cutters and fine cutters are used where needed,” he adds.

The old lawn mowers – the wallabies – may not get a look-in this time round, you suspect, but as a visitor attraction to draw admiring crowds, their future here seems assured.

In and around the house, herbaceous planting, featuring mainly perennial flowers, predominates to create a more formal setting to chime with the grand Georgian architecture of the building, with its newly restored elegant interiors and classical staircase.

Tree management looms large at Leonardslee. Andy McLean supervises felling and pruning on an estate that numbers some 10,000 specimens. “The Great Storm of 1987 cleared so much of course, leaving breathing space for new growth in the years afterwards,” he says. “We number more than ninety Champion trees on the estate – twenty-two of those are magnolias recorded on the national register. And recently discovered is a male and female pair of kiwi fruit, twisting their way up to the top of the canopy. You’d walk past them and never know they were there.”

Supervising the Rock Garden is Jonathan Bryant. This is Leonardslee’s Jewel in the Crown, many say, where at its flowering zenith, vibrant colours drip down from the heights to the path below that meanders through this cosy corner of the gardens.

He is also busy recataloguing the site collection, and has some rare specimens to record. “Our Sicilian Fir (Abies nebrodenis) is a Champion tree, over 20m tall and the biggest in the country,” he reports, “but the species is critically endangered.”

“We have lifted seedlings and sent them to Kew, Nymans and Peasemarsh reserve for them to grow. Only twenty-nine mature specimens are known to exist in their native Sicily, that’s how scarce they are.”

As a site sheltered from the prevailing wind, Leonardslee has remained largely free of fungal diseases, although sudden oak death has struck recently, as it has across the country, and the team is talking with DefRA on a strategy for managing it. Oaks are in abundance and thrive in the microclimate, so the team will strive to limit the effect of the disease.

Renowned for its collection of rhododendrons and azaleas, the estate nevertheless needs to keep certain varieties under strict control. Highways and byways locally display purple Ponticum – one of the last to flower in the rhododendron season.

National bodies, such as The National Trust, have undertaken measures to remove much of it from their properties because of its tendancy to proliferate, crowd out other plants, resist herbicides and carry the fungal infection Phytophthora ramorum.

At Leonardslee some years ago the far banks of the valley were cleared of it, leaving just a few highly trimmed and shaped pockets, but the team remains vigilant. “Burning it is the best option,” the head gardener notes, “so we hope we have it well under control.”

The variety has been described as “beautiful but deadly”, although many other varieties outshine it in rhododendron’s beauty pageant: the magnificent Loderi King George for example, which delivers alluringly scented, creamy white blooms.

Hybridised by the Loders at Leonardslee, it perhaps more than any other variety epitomises the horticultural passion of those pioneering plantsmen who travelled to far-flung Himalayan mountain glades to collect exotic plants for cultivation in their monumental Victorian creations back home.

The new owners are alert to the educational value of Leonardslee, given the “immense quantity” of wildlife on and above the estate. Red kites, buzzards, a resident grey heron, Canada geese, Mallard ducks, coots and moorhens all populate the slopes, gulleys, upper reaches or patrol the skies. Then there are the smooth newts, pipistrelle and long-eared bats, lizards and adders.

Fallow deer roam the more distant, wooded, stretches of Leonardslee, as do the Sika deer introduced by the Loder family in Victorian times. The eight-foot high perimeter deer fencing is necessary though to prevent wild ones encroaching on the estate.

“We are working closely with English Nature ecologists on the most appropriate management programme,” Adam says.

Some serious replanning of Leonardslee’s existing walkways has had to be undertaken to label it a fully-inclusive family destination. “We have ten miles of pathways on site and much of that was unsuitable for visitors in wheelchairs or those who couldn’t walk unaided.”

“Some of the tracks were mossy, steep and slippery. We laid a base of crushed concrete along some stretches to create a surface thought safe for visitors, but are now considering other options. People carriers are also available for wheelchair users when needed.”

The heavy footfall expected as word spreads of Leonardslee’s rebirth will take its toll on paths across the estate, especially those that offer the best photo opportunities. A reserve of top-up surfacing will be ready to apply to keep them safe.

“On smaller walkways we are applying mulched leaves and bark chips. There’s a huge quantity of leaf matter generated here, as you’d expect, and we want to put it to good use.”

The gardening year is not only about dazzling colours in the earlier months of the year. Autumn at Leonardslee holds surprises too. Softer, natural colours at this time are a draw for visitors and tree planting in earlier generations was well thought out to deliver a stunning landscape as year-end approaches. The collection of acers is particularly captivating.

Leonardslee’s various buildings are being converted as the new era in its long life dawns. Luxury accommodation in the former stable block offers the perfect stopover for wedding guests, while a Michelin star-rated fine dining restaurant has been created within the Manor House.

“There is a strong emphasis on home grown fruit and vegetables,” Adam stresses, “and the site is ideal for foraging for edible plants, such as watercress.”

The vegetable garden will sustain the needs of the restaurant and create opportunities for sales to the public, along with other plants cultivated on site, gardener Linda Ekblom notes. “We plan to offer an internship for an apprentice once these are fully operational.”

The extensive former Alpine House has been reglazed and recreated as a tearoom, whilst a farm shop is also under development. Plans for the old bakehouse, an endearing circular structure sited near the entrance by another Leonardslee landmark, the tightly clipped Mushroom yew, are still to be finalised.

Some things stay the same though. The incomparable Doll’s House display, designed by Helen Holland, a gem of an experience in its own right, will entertain and amuse those new to Leonardslee as well as some old friends desperate to return.

Conceived by Robin Loder, architect of the aquatic engineering system in the valley, who in the latter years before closure left management of the estate to son and daughter Tom and Mary, this miniature village is a marvel of design and detail – complete with moving characters and its own electricity supply.

Reopening Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens is, to paraphrase wartime politician Sir Winston Churchill, “the end of the beginning” as one of the premier destinations of its kind in Britain continues on its course of redevelopment and evolution.

The new 700-vehicle capacity car park planned is testimony to Penny Streeter’s aspirations for the site, as Adam confirms. “We are offering a family-friendly day out, open all year round, and designed to attract visitors from across the UK and overseas.”

Like sister site Mannings Heath Golf Club and Wine Estate (featured in the last issue of Pitchcare) vines will populate Leonardslee. “They’ve been planted in the field behind the Manor House,” Adam says. “Sparkling wine should be ready for sale in three to five years.”

Something’s certainly stirring in this beautiful corner of the county.

Award Winning Gardens

Garden Awards and Accolades

Excellence is one of our five core values at Woburn Abbey Gardens. We strive to develop the gardens to the highest possible standard, and in recent years have received a number of accolades and awards that reflect this commitment. In 2011 we achieved our ambition of becoming an RHS Partner Garden; in 2012 we won the Hudson’s Heritage Award for New Commission; and in 2013 we received the Georgian Group Architectural Award for Restoration of a Georgian Garden or Landscape.

RHS members get free entry to Partner Gardens

RHS Partner Garden

In 2011, Woburn Abbey Gardens was awarded RHS Partner Garden Status – a target that we had set ourself in our five year plan, but managed to achieve 3 years early. Partner Gardens are not owned by the RHS, but recognised by them for the inspiration that they offer to keen gardeners through their high standards of design and planting.

More information on RHS Partner Gardens, including details of the free entry scheme for RHS members, can be found on the RHS website.

Andrew Grout and Martin Towsey with the Award

Hudson’s Heritage Award for New Commission

The striking Chinese-style pavilion was originally designed by the landscape gardener, Humphry Repton, in the early 1800s. However, it took until the 21st Century for it to be constructed on top of the attractive rockery in the gardens.

In 1802, the 6th Duke commissioned Repton to design enhancements for the gardens and deer park. Together, the rockery and pavilion were part of Repton’s plan for formal ‘Pleasure Grounds’, illustrated in his Red Book (1805) of designs and ideas. Woburn Abbey has the greatest number of realised plans by Repton in the UK, but until 2011 the rockery had stood uncompleted.

In 2009, the Gardens team began restoring the rockery, which had suffered badly from weather over the years and was overgrown with trees. In 2011, F Martin Ltd were commissioned to build the pavilion. Together with the Abbey Gardens team they constructed it on top of the rockery. It took four weeks to build and a week to construct on site.

The entire project was successfully completed and officially opened by Her Grace, The Duchess of Bedford at the Woburn Abbey Garden Show in 2012. Later that year the project was nominated for, and subsequently won, the ‘New Commission’ category of the ‘2012 Hudson’s Heritage Awards’.

The Cone House was completed in 2013 as part of the restoration project

The Georgian Group Architectural Awards

In October 2013, Woburn Abbey Gardens proudly received another highly sought after award. Our project to restore the 19th Century Humphry Repton landscape won the ‘Best Restoration of a Georgian Garden’ category at the ‘Georgian Group Architectural Awards’.

These awards recognise exemplary conservation and restoration projects across the UK, and the 2013 awards received over 70 impressive entries. The Georgian Group aim to reward organisations and individuals who show vision and commitment to restoring buildings and landscapes from the Georgian period. The award was presented to Martin Towsey, Estates Gardens Manager, and Her Grace, The Duchess of Bedford, by The Marquess of Salisbury at the award ceremony held at Christie’s in London on the 29th October.

Martin Towsey, Estates Gardens Manager, was extremely pleased: “It is a great honour for the Gardens and the gardeners to receive such an accolade. Heritage and excellence are two of our core values, so winning this award recognises the vision and effort that the team has put into the gardens.”

Mill Dene is a romantic story of a young couple falling in love with each other and a beautiful Cotswold stone water mill.

Knowing nothing about gardening the Dares set about creating one of the most interesting gardens in the Cotswolds. It is personal, witty, surprising and of course, beautiful as well as horticulturally excellent. Features of this 1Ha (2 1/2 acres) garden include a misty grotto, a bog garden and stream. There are plenty of seats from which to enjoy the mill pond and its trout, kingfisher and ducks. It is an exercise in making the most of a difficult and steep sided site. It is also an exercise in creating something beautiful in which to meditate and to nourish the senses
How to define it? An English country garden? Yes, but with fun and surprises: There is the relaxed and tranquil mill pond and grotto, then there are the hidden signs suggesting you go to Stoke on Trent (in the nicest possible way!) and a Fruit Garden with wonderful views over the hills but with gooseberry bushes under which were found the family grandchildren!! The herb potager has plants with medicinal, culinary and pot pourri uses but also aphrodisiacs!

Welcome

Welcome to Iford – home to the Cartwright-Hignett family since 1965 and with a rich history dating back to the Domesday Book.

Iford Manor itself sits in the middle of our 900 acre mixed estate. Our award-winning, peaceful, Grade 1 registered Iford Manor Gardens afford magnificent rural views across the valley, which we conserve under an environmental Higher Level Stewardship scheme in agreement with Natural England.

Our aim as a family has been to restore, conserve and enhance this stunning place, preserving the valley’s environment, improving biodiversity and allowing others to enjoy its rich cultural heritage.

Since 1910, visitors to Iford Manor Gardens have received a warm welcome and this is a tradition that we are proud to continue. We hope that visitors leave feeling refreshed and inspired by their time in this beautiful and tranquil setting. For the first time, Iford Manor Gardens will appear on the Big Screen in Spring 2020 as a key location in “The Secret Garden” starring Colin Firth and Julie Walters, so do look out for us!

From 2020 the works to save our Grade II* cloister and Grade II Georgian summerhouse from collapse following major subsidence will be complete and they will once again be open for visitors to enjoy, newly restored. We continue to refresh the garden design in various areas and a rolling programme to update planting schemes is being implemented by our new Head Gardener Troy Scott Smith (formerly Head Gardener at Sissinghurst, Bodnant and The Courts). Those wishing to learn more can partake in our new ‘Behind the Scenes’ gardening tours, led by Troy or a member of our gardening team. Alternatively, for those more interested in the history, architecture, garden design and our future plans, there are a limited number of exclusive Champagne evening tours led by William Cartwright-Hignett who has lived at Iford all of his life.

All those enjoying the gardens or a walk in the valley can enjoy our delicious cakes and award-winning Iford Manor loose-leaf teas and Iford Cider from our Housekeeper’s Tearoom. The perfect pit-stop before or after a visit to the garden and a walk along just some of the 3 miles of footpaths that we maintain in the valley.

We look forward to welcoming you to Iford very soon.

Iford Manor: The Peto Garden, Bradford-on-Avon: Address, Phone Number, Iford Manor: The Peto Garden Reviews: 4.5/5

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There is so much to do and see!

Great Ashley Farm is located in an ideal area. With so many places and attractions to visit in the area it will make you reluctant to leave but keen to return. We think we have a bit of everything the West of England has to offer right on our doorstep, so you never run out of things to do and see…

Bradford-on-Avon is just 5 minutes away and is packed with restaurants, cafes, excellent antique shops, the 7th Century Saxon church, the Tithe Barn, Kennet and Avon canal, to mention a few. Why not learn a little of the town’s history in the museum?

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Bath is a few short miles away, and we’re sure you’ll want to explore The Roman Baths, Thermae Spa, The Royal Cresent, The Circus, Bath Abbey, or Beckford’s Tower. Architecture not your thing? How about a picnic in one of the many parks? Watch Bath Rugby play at the recreation ground, right in the heart of the city! You won’t find yourself short of places to eat, drink or shop either…If you run out of inspiration on Bath’s elegant Georgian streets, why not visit the Neolithic sites of Avebury, Stonehenge or Cheddar Caves?

Soak up the atmosphere in the many National Trust houses and gardens that are so close to Great Ashley Farm… A National Trust members paradise with The Courts, Holt, Great Chalfield Manor and Westwood Manor in our neighbouring villages, not to mention Lacock with it’s Abbey and Fox Talbot Photography museum, the beautiful quintessential English Village famed for the filming of Jane Austen’s well known novels, ‘Emma’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’. The Cranford Chronicles & the interior sequences of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets were filmed at Lacock. The breath taking Stourhead isn’t too far either! Of course there are miles of footpaths, bridleways and country lanes to explore just out of the front door. Plenty of pubs and restaurants to! Within 5 minutes drive you can have quality English, Italian, Thai, Chinese or Indian cuisine.

We have many parents and visitors of students attending The University of Bath stay with us. We are perfectly located for the campus.

Wiltshire is a county with incredible variety, with so much to see and do for all age groups, that you will need to return time and time again.

January

Christmas tree Festival

Venue: Lacock

Follow the self-led trail to see the beautifully decorated trees from local groups.

From: 1Jan 2014 to 7 Jan 2014

Ghost walk

Venue: Corsham

Prepare to be scared as you discover the legends of old haunted Corsham. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available from Corsham Area Heritage and Information Centre.

From: 11 Jan 2014

Stonehenge Landscape – Neolithic New Year Walk

Venue: Stonehenge

Welcome in 2013 with a walk around the ancient monuments of the Stonehenge Landscape. Booking is essential.

From: 18 Jan 2014 to 18 Jan 2014

London Calling

Venue: Salisbury

London Calling

London Calling is an affectionate celebration of the city in all its guises. From the stillness of dawn, to the excesses of its nightlife – the sights and sounds, style and romance – all told through words and music.

From: 18 Jan 2014 to 18 Jan 2014

February

European Union Chamber Orchestra / Laura Van Der HeijdenEuropean Union Chamber Orchestra / Laura Van Der Heijden

Venue: Wiltshire Music Festival

From: 7 Feb 2013 to 7 Feb 2014

Jazz Brunch

Venue: Salisbury

A Valentine’s Day special set four course dinner with coffee and handmade petit fours priced at £44.50 per person.

Venue: Fisherton Mill Salisbury

From: 14 Feb 2014 to 14 Feb 2014

Roves Farm Gingerbread Race

Venue: Roves Farm Swindon

Bringing the classic story to life!’ Drive, drive as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man’.

From: 15Feb 2014 to 23Feb 2014

March

Bath Literature Festival

Venue: Central Bath

A brilliant festival for stimulating debate and fascinating authors insights.

From: 28 Feb to 9 Mar 2014

Walk with an archaeologist: The Stonehenge Landscape

Venue: Stonehenge

Join Neolithic expert and National Trust archaeologist Dr. Nick Snashall on this half day exploration of the Stonehenge landscape and find out about the latest exciting discoveries.

From: 1 Mar 2014 to 1 Mar 2014

Bath Half Marathon

A two lap, 13.1 mile course through stunning surroundings in the heart of Bath.

Chippenham Pancake Race

Venue: Chippenham

Come and take part in the town’s annual pancake race. Times TBC

From: 4 Mar 2014

Swindon Music Festival 2014

Venue: Swindon

From: 20 Mar 2014 to 29 Mar 2014

Stonehenge Spring Wildlife Walk

Venue: Stonehenge

A ranger-led wildlife walks on the downs at Stonehenge to look for spring wildlife such as Hares. Join the ranger for this morning
From: 23 Mar 2014

Swindon German Beer Fest

Venue: Swindon

This is a fabulous night out not to be missed. Join in the great atmosphere of the German beer fest.

From: 22 Mar 2014

Spirthill Trail Run

Venue: Calne

12km True Cross Country, 6km True Cross Country and 1.5km Children’s True Cross Country Fun Run.

From: 23 Mar 2014

Bath Comedy Festival

A colourful, vibrant, inclusive and dedicated mix of comedy

From: 28 Mar 2014 – 6 Apr 2014

April

Easter Bunny Hunt

Venue: Roves Farm, Swindon.

From: 5 Apr 2014 to 21 Apr 2014

Abbeyfield 10km & Fun Run

Venue: Chippenham

Abbeyfield 10km run and fun run.

From: 6 Apr 2014

Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race 2014

Venue: Devizes

The annual Canoe Race from Devizes to Westminster. This event takes place over the Easter weekend, starting in Devizes on Good Friday.

From: 18 April 2014 to 21 Apr 2014

Gurston Down Hill Climb

Venue: Salisbury

Head to Gurston Down for their 300th annual speed event.

From: 27 Apr 2014

May

Bath in Fashion 2014 celebrates fashion, textiles and art.

Peppa Pig Big Bank Holiday Funday at Bath Racecourse

A thrilling afternoon of racing fun for the whole family set in beautiful countryside.

From: 5 May 2014

Badminton Horse Trails

Venue: Badminton Glos

From: 7 May 2014 to 11 May 2014

Bath International Music Festival

Venue: Central Bath

A dynamic mix of world-class performances taking place throughout the city.

From: 22 May – 2 Jun 2014

Chippenham Folk Festival

Venue: Chippenham

The festival produces one of the most exciting programmes boasting well over 200 individual events. Whether you are a seasoned dancer or a novice at the Ceilidh, a singer or just a listener, an expert or just beginner we will have something for you

From: 23May 2014 to 26 May 2014

Salisbury International Arts Festival

Venue: Salisbury

The 2013 Festival programme was inspired by the themes of Brazilian culture, fire and celebration. Classical and world music share the limelight with international theatre, dance, film, visual arts and outdoor events.

From: 23 May 2014 to 7 Jun 2014

Oldbury White Horse Triathlon, Children’s Tri Star Triathlon & Fun Run

Venue: Calne

Oldbury White Horse Triathlon, Children’s Tri Star Triathlon and Fun Run.

From: 4 May 2014 to 4 May 2014

Swindon Festival of Literature 2014

Venue: Swindon

In Swindon, during the first fortnight of May, let’s celebrate things well thought, well written, and well said!

From: 5 May 2014 to 17 May 2014

Devizes Food and Drink Festival 2014

Venue: Devizes

Devizes hosts its annual food and drink festival. For a full programme of events will be announced soon. Please visit website for more details.

From: 17 May 2014 to 25 May 2014

The Royal Bath & West Show

Venue: Shepton Mallet

A fun day out for the whole family this June featuring some of the country’s finest livestock, farming demonstrations, local produce and much more.

From: 28 May 2014 to 31 May 2014

June

Castle Combe Cycling Festival

Venue:Castle Combe Circuit

Castle Combe Cycling Festival is set to be one of the most exciting events in the 2014 calendar. From Youth Racing and Family Cycling around the circuit to arena events, stunt cycling and a trade village.

From: 1 June 2014

Bath Symphony Orchestra

Venue: Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford On Avon

Charles Ives: The Unanswered Question
Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No 4
Shostakovich: Symphony No 5

From: 6 June 2014

Wadworth Beer Festival

Venue: Wadworth Brewery Visitor Centre, Kennet Devizes

A selection of Wadworth and guest ales, ciders and perrys.
Live entertainment form Train to Skaville and Purple Fish.

From: 7 Jun 2014

Cricklade Town Festival 2014

Venue: Cricklade

The festival has a diverse and exciting range of arts events, with something on offer for all tastes and all ages.

From: 14 June 2014

Nunney Horse Trials

Venue: Whatley Somerset

The event takes place near Frome in Somerset with an array of trade stands, a dressage demonstration, plenty of action over the fixed fences and show jumping in the main arena on the final day attracts a wealth of visitors

From: 14 June 2014 -16 June 2014

Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2014

Venue: Stonehenge, Nr Amesbury

Managed access to the World Heritage Site at Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice.

From: 21 Jun 2014

Bike Bath 2014

Bike Bath 2014 is a unique opportunity for anyone to train for and complete a cycle ride in and around the beautiful city of Bath.

From: 28 Jun 2014 to 29 June 2014

Marlborough Food Festival

Venue: Marlborough

Run by the popular twice monthly Marlborough Communities Market, the Food Festival will feature the best producers in the West and shall be holding workshops, activities and talks.

From: 29 Jun 2014

July

White Horse Challenge

Venue: Devizes

The White Horse Challenge is a 55 mile walk taking in the white horses of Wiltshire. You can choose to walk all of it over two days or half over one. Take part in the Relay Challenge, Family Challenge or the One Day Challenge.

From: 5 July 2014 to 6 July 2014

Royal International Air Tattoo

Venue:Fairford

Held annually each July at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, the Royal International Air Tattoo, the world’s largest military airshow, has gained the well-earned reputation as one of the UK’s top outdoor family events.

From: 11 July 2014 to 13 July 2014

Marlborough Jazz Festival

Venue: Marlborough

Bands range from famous touring stars and many of the home-grown variety to young up-and-coming groups. Free events in the streets add to the carnival atmosphere that pervades the town over the weekend.

From: 18 July 2014 to 20 July 2014

WOMAD Festival

Venue: Malmesbury

An outdoor festival celebrating the world’s many forms of music, arts and dance. WOMAD stands for World of Music, Arts and Dance and that is, quite literally, what WOMAD is. WOMAD Charlton Park is one of the most unique festivals of the UK season pro

From: 24 July 2014 to 27 July 2014

August

Cider Festival with The Wurzels

Venue: Bath Race Course

A festival full of Live racing, live music and great cider.

From: 1 August 2014.

Supercars at Wilton House

Venue: Wilton, Salisbury

More supercars, more classic cars, more entertainment! A great day out for the whole family!

From: 10 Aug 2014

Family Bat Watch at Lacock Abbey

Venue: Lacock

Have you ever seen bats appear from a gargoyles mouth? Here is your chance! Join our expert, Tony Brazier, on a watch for bats living in and around the abbey. This watch is aimed at a family audience.

From: TBC

Begins: 7.30pm

Treefest

Venue: Westonbirt Arboretum

Tree-discovering family activities, expert carvers, local music, great food and over 100 exhibitors make up Treefest, Westonbirt Arboretum’s signature summer event.

Frome: 23 Aug 2014 – 24 Aug 2014

September

Wiltshire 100 and Big Wheel Bike Ride

Venue: Devizes

A choice of three exciting routes, all starting and finishing in the historic market town of Devizes.If you’re up for it, there’s the heroic 100 mile route touching nearly every corner of Wiltshire, or opt for the gentler 50 mile route.

From: 7 Sept 2014

Swindon Railway Festival

Venue: Rodbourne, Swindon

This event is popular with both families and rail enthusiasts! The Festival is an annual celebration of steam railways and there’s always plenty to see and do, whatever your age.

From: 11 Sept 2014 – 12 Sept 2014

The Jane Austen Festival

A selection of events will take place to celebrate the life and work of Jane Austen

From: 12 Sept 2014 to 21 Sept 2014.

The Wiltshire Game and Country Fair

Venue:Bowood House and Gardens

The Wiltshire Game and Country Fair graces the magnificent grounds of the Bowood Estate.

From: 27 Sept 2014 – 28 Sept 2014

Gatcombe Horse Trials

Venue: Gatcombe Park,Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire

Set in the heart of the Cotswolds Gatcombe regularly hosts international riders from all over the world for a great eventing competition.

From: 19 Sept 2014 – 21 Sept 2014

October

The Gardener’s Secrets at Stourhead

Venue: Stourton, Warminster

A special chance to go behind the scenes with the team who work to keep Stourhead beautiful. Learn about our tree surgery techniques, composting systems and see the array of garden and estate machinery and hand tools.

From: TBC

Apple Day

Venue: Lacock

Celebrate the changing of the season and the falling of leaves and fruit at our’apeeling’ event for all ages.Enjoy music, dancing, refreshments, hog roast, craft activities, apple tastings, orchard tours and more at our ever popular annual event.

From: 21 Oct 2014

November & December

Christmas at Longleat

Venue: Warminster

Give the family a truly unforgettable day out this Christmas.

From: 15 Nov 2014 to 9 Dec 2014

Begins: Fri – Sun only, exact times TBC

Bath Christmas Market

A unique shopping experience in the heart of Baths city centre.

From: 22 Nov 2014 – 9 Dec 2014

Salisbury Christmas Market

Venue:Salisbury

An exciting new Christmas Market which will feature 55 delightful little wooden chalets all beautifully decorated and prettily arranged.

From: 27 Nov 2014 to 19 Dec 2014

Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt

Venue: Tetbury

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings (5 – 8.30pm) from Friday 29 November to Sunday 22 December 2013, visitors to Westonbirt Arboretum can explore the famous trail of magical illuminated trees, visit a children’s winter wonderland and enjoy warmin

From: Dates TBC for 2014

Begins: 5pm

Christmas at Claverton

Venue: Greater Bath, the American Museum

Christmas at Claverton at the American Museum in Britain is a wonderful event to start the festive season, and get the family into the spirit of things

From: Dates TBC

Saxon Town Of Bradford-on-Avon

Kennet and Avon Canal
Saxon Church
Tithe Barn
Walking Tour of Bradford-on-Avon
Bradford-on-Avon Museum

World Heritage City Of Bath

Roman Baths
Jane Austen Museum
City Tour Buses
The Abbey
Bridge
Pump Rooms
Walking Tour Of Bath
Sally Lunns
Thermae Bath Spa

Market Towns To Visit

Bradford-on-Avon
Devizes
Marlborough
Cirencester
Tetbury
Hungerford
Frome

Gardens / Historical Places

Iford Gardens – Italianate Gardens
Corsham Court
Farleigh Castle – English Heritage
Great Chalfield – National Trust
The Courts, Holt – National Trust
Westwood Manor – National Trust
Lacock Abbey – National Trust
Prior Park – National Trust
Stourhead – National Trust
Westonbirt Arboretum
Avebury – Stone Circles
Stonehenge – World Heritage Site
Wells Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral

Family Attractions

Longleat
Bowood
Brokerswood
Riding – Wellow Trekking Centre
Kennet and Avon Canal – Boat hire, Cycle hire, cayaks
Wookey Hole – neolithic caves
Bristol Imax
Bristol Exploritary
Norwood Farm

For The Active

Castle Combe – Skid Pan
Castle Combe Race Circuit
Horse Riding – Wellow Trekking Centre
Kennet and Avon Canal – Boat, Cycle, and Kayak Hire
Cumberwell Park Golf Course
Wiltshire Cycleway County Route
Bradford-on-Avon Swimming Pool
Bristol Multiplex

For the Walker and Stroller

Macmillan Way
The Ridgeway
Cotswold Way
Kennet and Avon Canal
Walking Tour Of Bradford-on-Avon
Walking Tour Of Bath
Flight of Locks at Devizes

Antique Trails

Bradford-on-Avon
Bath
Cirencester
Hungerford
Devizes

Websites To Visit

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