Places of Interest
The details below are intended as a general guide only. For specific tour details, first check Availability and then follow the link from the Tour Description.
The Churches Conservation Trust: St Thomas’ Church
This simple little church, with pre-Norman origins, stands in an idyllic spot beside a water meadow next to the River Lambourn. Look out for the lovely Norman tub font, an early Medieval tomb, and fragments of early stained glass.
Crofton Beam Engines, Crofton, Wiltshire
Come and visit the oldest working steam engines in the world still performing the job they were built to do – tere are two beam engines, one of which is an original 200-year-old Boulton & Watt. Both are fed by a hand-stoked, coal-fired Lancashire boiler.
English Heritage: Donnington Castle
The striking twin-towered gatehouse of 14th century Donnington Castle, near Newbury, survives within impressive earthworks. It shows the luxury enjoyed by Sir Richard Abberbury, Donnington’s builder, whose private quarters lay within it. Both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I are thought to have stayed here.
West Berkshire Museum
The museum explores the story of Berkshire life from pre-history to present day, through a series of ten regularly changing galleries, as well as through activities and events
The finest occupied Victorian castle in England has most recently become famous as the setting for the popular television drama ‘Downton Abbey‘. It was the home of Lord Carnarvon, who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun and there is an exhibition of Egyptian objects throughout the cellars. Visitors can tour the castle’s state rooms, including the richly decorated Saloon with its remarkable leather wall coverings and the music room with a Baroque ceiling and walls adorned with Italian embroideries, as well as the staircases and some first floor bedrooms.
English Heritage: Silbury Hill
Probably completed in around 2400 BC, the largest man-made mound in Europe compares in height and volume to the roughly contemporary Egyptian pyramids.
English Heritage: The Sanctuary
Begun in about 3000 BC, the Sanctuary was originally a complex circular arrangement of timber posts, which were later replaced by stones (now concrete slabs). Although its function remains a mystery, huge numbers of human bones were found here, accompanied by food remains suggesting elaborate death rites and ceremonies.
English Heritage: West Kennet Avenue
An ‘avenue’, originally of around 100 pairs of prehistoric standing stones, raised to form a winding 1 1/2 mile ritual link between the pre-existing monuments of Avebury and The Sanctuary. Part of the Avebury World Heritage Site.
English Heritage: West Kennet Long Barrow
One of the largest and most impressive Neolithic graves in Britain, West Kennet Long Barrow was built around 3650 BC and used for at least 1,000 years.
The archetypical English market town, Marlborough was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086. In the years that followed, it was a place where coins were minted, Tudor kings hunted for deer and coaches heading west from London stopped to rest en-route and to feed their horses. Today the town still has a cosmopolitan feel about it; the Saturday and Wednesday markets sell all manner of goods from locally produced meat and vegetables to pottery and clothing and during the summer months, these are complemented by a range of Continental markets. Marlborough plays host to a number of festivals throughout the year, including the well attended Literary Festival in September and the renowned ‘Feast of Food’ in October.