Visitor Information for the Marlborough area
The town of Marlborough lies in the valley of the River Kennet between the Marlborough Downs and Savernake Forest. Described by Pepys as a "pretty fair town for a street or two", it retains its unique beauty and is an ideal touring centre.
Marlborough High Street, said to be the widest in England, contains a number of specialist shops (particularly designer womenswear), pubs, coffee shops and restaurants. Many are set under the 17th century arcades, known as penthouses.
The on-going restoration of the Merchant's House in the High Street offers a rare insight into the life of a middle-class businessman and shopkeeper in the 17th century. the House retains many of its original features, including a unique painted room.
The beautiful, atmospheric Marlborough Downs are rich in pre-historic sites. Avebury (a World Heritage site) is described by Nikolaus Pevsner as "among the foremost works of pre-historic man in Europe".
Nearby are the great man-made Silbury Hill, its secrets still undiscovered, and West Kennet Long Barrow, an excavated tomb which can be entered.
Walkers on The Ridgeway, a pre-historic road, are within sight of these monuments. Crop circles (man-made or an unexplained phenomenom?) may also be seen.
The industrial revolution is also richly represented in the area. The Kennet and Avon Canal offers the major attractions of the Crofton Pumping Station, which retains a working 1812 Beam Engine, the 502 yard long Bruce Tunnel and the amazing 16 locks climbing Caen Hill near Devizes. For railway enthusiasts Swindon, including Steam, the railway museum, lies to the north.
Hungerford, an ancient town along the Kennet Valley, is a centre for antique shopping. On the way lies the beautiful church at Mildenhall, beloved of John Betjeman, who was at school in Marlborough.
A little further afield are a number of National Trust properties including Lacock, much-used for filming dramas and home of the inventor of photography. There are also several chalk-cut white horse figures in the area. Uffington is the oldest and most dramatic.
Only 20 miles away is Stonehenge which, along with Avebury, is another icon for the mysteries of this beautiful area.