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Towns and Villages
  • Bath
  • Biddestone
  • Castle Combe
  • Malmesbury
  • Glastonbury
Country Houses
  • Longleat
  • Bowood House
  • Lacock Abbey
  • Dyrham Park
  • Corsham Court
  • Stourhead
Gardens
  • Courts Garden
  • Iford Manor
  • Stourton Gardens
Historic and Pre-historic
  • Westbury White Horse
  • Stonehenge
  • Avebury
  • Silbury Hill
  • Caen Hill Locks
Events
  • Bath and West Showground
  • Badminton

Places to See

Alisa House is a great place from which to visit the west country. There are fascinating towns and villages, stunning gardens, grand houses in majestic parks, ancient and mysterious monuments, and some things which are just plain mysterious. Here is a list of some of the main attractions within 30 miles of our B&B.


The list is by no means exhaustive; if you think there's something which should be included on this page, please let us know.


The attractions are grouped together by type. Click on the attraction name on the left for more details, and a link for further information if required. We have also shown the approximate distance by road from Alisa House to help you decide where to go!

Bath (7 miles)

view of Bath

After Bradford on Avon (see our BoA page), we should really begin with Bath - the second most popular city with tourists in England after London, and with good reason.
Explore the Roman baths, soak up the atmosphere of the Georgian streets, or just enjoy the buzz of a thriving university city. Parking can be difficult, however, and is always expensive, so you may find it more convenient to take the train in from Bradford on Avon. It only takes a few minutes, and saves a lot of hassle.

Biddestone

view of Biddestone

If you are going to Lacock, or Castle Combe, we would recommend stopping off at Biddestone on the way there.
It's a glorious little village centre, with village green, duck pond, a village pump which has its own shelter, and a couple of pubs serving the 500 or so inhabitants.
The houses round the green are all built in the typical honey-coloured Cotswolds stone. Well worth a detour.

Castle Combe (12 miles)

Castle Combe

Castle Combe is a chocolate-box village, full of pretty cottages, with an old court house and market cross. It's also got a motor-racing circuit, though thankfully well outside of the village. Parking is a problem in the village, so we recommend that you avoid the possibility of a ticket and use the car park at the top and walk down.

Malmesbury (20 miles)

Malmesbury

Malmesbury claims to be the oldest borough in England, dating back to 880 AD. It is a very pictureqsue town, with a 15th century market cross and a Bendictine abbey, which although now a ruin, once had a spire which was taller than that of Salisbury cathedral. The market cross is an elaborate octagonal structure, built to protect the 'poore market folke' when 'rain cometh'. It still does.

Glastonbury (28 miles)

View of Glalstonbury Abbey

Glastonbury is a little further afield, but depending on your interests it could still be worth the journey. There are the obvious attractions of the ruined Glastonbury abbey, with its fabled hawthorn tree which supposedly grew from the staff of Joseph of Aramathea (strong stuff, the soil on the Somerset levels), and the Tor, which dominates the horizon for miles around. But then there's the wierd factor, as well. Glastonbury is the centre for 'new age' afficionados. It's full of wierd shops and even wierder people peddling all sorts of magick with a 'k'.

For those with their feet more firmly on the ground, there's the Clarks Village retail centre at Street, a couple of miles away.

Longleat (12 miles)

Longleat House

Longleat needs little introduction. It is justly famous for its many attractions. You can visit the house, drive round the safari park, or just visit the gardens and park. A great family day out. For further information, click here.

Bowood House (13 miles)

Bowood House

Bowood House is the ancestral home of the Marquis of Landsdowne. As with the other stately homes in the area, it boasts a grandiose park (this one by Capability Brown), stunning gardens both informal and formal, and an impressive architecture dating back to the 17th century. Among other claims to fame it also has a laboratory where Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen in 1774.
For the younger generation there is an adventure playground.

Lacock Abbey (7 miles)

Lacock

Lacock is a lovely little village. It is so lovely, in fact, that it has been used as the location for several films and TV series, including Pride and Prejudice. But there's more - it also has a superb abbey. And there's still more - the abbey was the home of William Fox-Talbot (inventor of photography), and there's a museum dedicated to Fox Talbot and early photography. To cap it all off, walk out of the village past the abbey, over the ancient one-lane packhorse bridge, and you're at the Bell Inn, a great place for a meal and a drink. Tell them we sent you!

Dyrham Park (13 miles)

Dyrham

Dyrham park is a 17th century mansion nestling in a sheltered valley just north of Bath. It has formal gardens and lake, and sits in an old deer park, which still retains a herd of fallow deer. It has a particularly interesting 'below stairs' visit to the kitchens and dairy. It is now owned and operated by the National Trust.

Corsham Court (8 miles)

Corsham Court

Corsham Court is a privately-owned house which is open to the public. It has a significant collection of 16th and 17th century art on display, together with Capability Brown gardens and park.

Stourhead (19 miles)

Stourhead

Stourhead is said to be one of the finest landscape gardens in the world. It is a huge estate (11 sq km) which contains a Palladian mansion - Stourhead House - with follies, temples, and lake. There are also two iron age hill forts in the surrounding woodland. The house is well worth a visit, with some fabulous furniture on view, but it is overshadowed by its gardens.

Courts Garden (2 miles)

Courts Garden

Wiltshire has more than its fair share of spectacular gardens to visit, and Courts Garden is one of them. It is owned (like many others) by the National Trust, and hidden away in Holt, just a couple of miles away. If you didn't know it was there, you'd never find it. But don't try walking there, the road is narrow, winding and has no pedestrian footpaths. You have been warned!

Iford Manor (3 miles)

Iford

Iford Manor boasts an Italian-style Grade 1 listed garden famous for its steps, pools and terraces. The garden has been built on the steep slopes of the bank of the river Frome, and offers magnificent views of the valley below. It was developed by the renowned landscape gardener Harold Peto in the early 20th century. It also runs several musical events each year, including opera and jazz.

Stourton Gardens (19 miles)

Stourton Gardens

If you like hydrangeas, this is the place for you. It has 270 different varieties, along with lots of other flowers in 4.5 acres of garden.

Westbury White Horse (8 miles)

Westbury White Horse

Wiltshire has around 10 white horses, the nearest of which to Alisa House is at Westbury. In fact you can see it from the double bedroom window on a clear day. It has been spruced up lately so looks pristine. The others are all within reach - why not bag a few? The linked site (click here) has information on the others.

Stonehenge (25 miles)

Stonehenge

So much has been written about Stonehenge, so many TV programs made, that there's little new to add. The site itself is awe-inspiring, though the setting, with the A303 running right alongside, leaves something to be desired. The foremost pre-historic site in Europe deserves better. As someone once said, "Why did they have to build it so close to the road?". But if you've not been there yet, you really ought to go.

Avebury (20 miles)

Avebury

Avebury is one of Europe's largest stone circles. It is thought to be older than the more famous Stonehenge, being around 5,000 years old. Like Stonehenge, it is a world heritage site. Avebury is also home to the Keiller museum, the founder of Keiller's marmalade. Whereas Stonehenge suffered the building of a couple of roads nearby, the Avebury ring had a village dropped in the middle. But it's still an imposing site and a must-see for anyone interested in Neolithic times.

Silbury Hill (20 miles)

Silbury

Silbury Hill is just round the corner from Avebury. It is man-made, principally of chalk, and stands 40 metres high. Someone has calculated that it took 18 million man-hours to build. Though perhaps they had more time on their hands in those days. It has been excavated several times, but nothing much has been found yet and nobody really has much of an idea why it was built. The West Kennet longbarrow is just a short walk away.

Caen Hill Locks (11 miles)

Caen Hill Locks, Devizes

Caen Hill locks take the Kennet and Avon canal up onto Salisbury plain near Devizes. It rises 72m in 2 miles, and needs 29 locks to do it. 16 of them are linked together in a very impressive construction. Because of the steepness of the gradient, there was not room to build the usual pounds to hold the water between the locks, and so a set of 15 side-pounds were constructed.

West of England Showground (22 miles)

Bath and West

There are several shows of various kinds at the Royal Bath and West each year, the main one of which (unsurprisingly enough) is the Royal Bath and West. But there are a lot of other shows and events there throughout the year. The West Country Game Fair and the Classic Bike Show are very popular.

Badminton Horse Trials (16 miles)

Badminton Horse Trials

Although Badminton House is not open to the public, it is home to the famous Horse Trials and other horse-related events each year.

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