Two hidden secrets – family days outside in Wiltshire
This article is written by Oli who is a slave to a 4 year old boy and a 4 year old dog, and spends most of his spare time writing about things to do with them, and about fitness and motivation.
I must confess this article is written with a tiny little bit of bias. Wiltshire has been my adopted home for the last seven years, and as such, I believe I will probably endorse its virtues more than most.
However, as a county, it has an outstanding amount of places to spend time outdoors with your children, and I doubt I’ll even scratch the surface here, but I will do my best to show you two of my personal favourites.
As a family we are always keen to do things that keep both children and dogs active, and try to tie in a sort of subconscious exercise factor into a lot of our days out. We find it is the best way to keep them happy and healthy plus it helps them sleep at night also!
Avebury and its neighbouring monuments
So, Avebury is just straight up impressive. A Neolithic world heritage site, the stones are in magnificent condition and you can get as up close and personal as you want, unlike Stonehenge which is about 40 odd miles away.
The kids will be amazed by the stone circles of course, but there is also ‘The Avenue’ a corridor of stones that leads you on a gentle incline towards the circles at the other end. It is open and spacious and the kids can run around without worry.
The children will also learn a fair amount if you can make yourself a little crib sheet of facts, as it is not everyday you get to touch ceremonial stones that have been around for thousands of years.
Nearby, there are more things to see that are connected with Avebury. Of particular interest are Silbury Hill and West Kennet Longbarrow. If you have brave kids, exploring the long barrow would be a huge thrill for them! Mine are a little too small at the moment… that’s my excuse anyway!
Without going into how all these sites are connected, they are all within a few minutes in the car of each other and there are also plenty of pubs in the area to decamp to for lunch or bathroom breaks.
River Exploring in Marlborough
The pretty town of Marlborough is best known for being home to Marlborough College, a leading independent school for boys and girls. It is also well known for having the (disputed) widest high street in the United Kingdom. Those facts aside, Marlborough is also built with the River Kennett running through it on the South side.
There are a few spots along the river that are shallow enough for children and dogs to paddle in crystal clear waters and without lots of people around.
We take our trunks, water friendly shoes/sandals and some buckets and spades and setup a little base from which they can explore.
The two key sites are in the village of Manton and the village of Lower Fyfield.
As you come into the village of Manton on your right is a village green with a play park in it. You can park in the village and walk to the green, which has the river running through it. There is a natural bank and your children can paddle and hunt for treasure whilst you sit on the grass and perhaps indulge in a picnic.
If you want someone else to do the food there is a wonderful pub in Manton called the Oddfellows, which is adjacent to the green and has its own childrens playground also. So you are well set to keep them entertained.
The other stretch it a little more isolated in the village of Lower Fyfield, which is 3 miles outside of Marlborough itself. Come into the village and drive as far as you can until you come to a set of warehouses labelled ‘DelAgua’. Leave your car here or along one of the many banks and follow the road/path past a large white house on your left until you come to a bridge.
At the bridge there is an opening down to the river, and there is a tree in which you kids can sit, paddle and play in safety. The water is never any higher than about a foot or so and you can walk a fair way up and down the river. Our dog also loves this place on a hot day.
Have a great day out and enjoy the river!
I have plenty more suggestions up my sleeve for things to do in Wiltshire with the children, but we will save those for things to do in winter and at Christmas in another article. Until then, enjoy being outside and exploring this beautiful county.