If you want to get off the tourist travel and see some of the English, rural countryside, then head to Wiltshire, about two hours west of London. Wiltshire locally is famous for it's rolling hillside made up of white chalk. known as the Wiltshire Downs. Previously, this area has been used as a training are by the British Army. However, now mostly hikers, walkers, and runners visit the area. The Wiltshire Downs are home to large pictures of horses carved into the side of the hill. Wiltshire also is home to several important neolithic monuments including the famous Stonehenge and the less famous Avebury, as well as the settlement of Old Sarum in Salisbury.
Some of the towns and villages worth visiting in Wiltshire include, Marlborough, Bradford on Avon, Chippenham, Westbury, Avebury, Lacock (where they filmed parts of Harry Potter), Cricklade, and Castle Combe. Each of these towns or villages has various types of accommodation available, a couple having hostels, as well as cute traditional English pubs, restaurants, and shops. Summer and spring are the best times of year to visit Wiltshire, as most of the attractions are outside. During spring you also have the opportunity to see the spring wildflowers in the fields. Spring is also the best time for bird watching and seeing baby animals in the fields, such as lambs and calves.
If you want to try something different, head to either Avebury or Stonehenge during the summer solstice for an overnight festival with druids, music, and plenty of dancing and fun to be had. It is also one of the only opportunities to actually be able to touch the stones (as well as enter Stonehenge for free). Be warned, this festival is extremely popular, so traffic getting can be quite bad.
The hostels in the area tend to be more like a guest houses, but with dorm rooms available. Some English pubs or inns also offer rooms for the night, if you want a really British experience. Hostels are a great way to meet other backpackers, this is great if you are a solo traveller, as it's not always easy to meet other people when staying in other kinds of accommodation.
Hi, I'm Kelly Sheldrick,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Wiltshire hostels. Welcome.