Spotlight: Guide to Living in Wiltshire
Choosing the right relocation spot is more important than ever. Retirees now are living longer and relishing the opportunities that their extra free time offers including travel adventures, exploring new hobbies and getting involved in their local communities.
Research released in 2019 from retirement lending firm, Hodge, reported that when it came to looking for a location to retire to, the following considerations were important:
- low crime rate
- variety of local shops and amenities
- selection of pubs and restaurants
- access to a beach
- low volume of traffic
- good phone signal and internet connectivity
- an older population in the area
If you’re considering relocating to Wiltshire, our guide to the county will help you make up your mind. We’ll take you through things to do in Wiltshire, including family-friendly activities, as well as the history of the area. It is very rural in so many ways, however, its position in the UK makes it a great point of access. Read more here….
A quiet, quaint southern county, Wiltshire offers chocolate box villages, beautiful scenery and a relatively temperate climate.
A landlocked county that neighbours other desirable counties such as Dorset, Hampshire and Oxfordshire, Wiltshire has much to offer when it comes to history, culture and ancient landmarks, not to mention cosy village pubs and high streets with a range of independent restaurants, tea rooms and shops, while larger, busier towns can be accessed easily.
Hobbies and activities
The surroundings support a range of tastes and hobbies. Nearly half of Wiltshire is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This can be explored by foot via the 8,200 walking trails on self-guided walks, or with a local walking tour company, or on wheels using the Wiltshire cycleways.
For the more adventurous, the Wiltshire countryside can be viewed from above from a hot air balloon ride or skydive, while those looking for leisurely activities can indulge in a round of golf at one of the many courses including Cumberwell Park Golf Club, Bowood Hotel Spa & Golf or Sleight Valley Golf Driving Range.
Fishing and angling are also popular pastimes in Wiltshire and the county boasts a huge variety of lakes and canals. Cotswold Water Park, Cuckoos Rest Fishing Lake and Longleat are just some of the locations to offer coarse and fly fishing
Wiltshire is steeped in history, having played host to the Romans, Normans and Saxons, and of course the Druids. The county is also responsible for the prehistoric monument, Stonehenge, now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, alongside Avebury. Not only do these sites offer a cultural landscape to be enjoyed, but also play host to a variety of flora, fauna and wildlife.
From prehistoric attractions to historic stately homes, Wiltshire is home to many beautiful buildings and sweeping landscapes. A National Trust site, Stourhead stately home and 18th-century garden are not to be missed while Wilton House provides an opportunity to explore a beautiful home, woodlands and water gardens plus a film set, with the home being used in period dramas such as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.
One of the most iconic landmarks in Wiltshire is Salisbury Cathedral, a 13th-century building that is but eight miles from Stonehenge. The cathedral is home to one of the four original copies of the 1215 Magna Carta, and it is here you can learn the document’s rich history first-hand.
Best Wiltshire market towns to visit
While Salisbury may offer some of Wiltshire’s most popular markets, most notably the Charter Market that runs Tuesdays and Saturdays in the historic market square, Wiltshire is home to picture-perfect market towns you must visit.
A charming town in north Wiltshire, Malmesbury is just 45 minutes from our Wiltshire retirement community. The farmer’s market here runs every Friday between 10am and 3pm at the Market Cross. However, much more than that, Malmesbury is saturated in antiquity, holding the title of England’s oldest borough.
Just 30 minutes from our Wiltshire village, Chippenham offers both rich history and vibrant culture. The Town Market is held every Friday and Saturday and the Chippenham Multi Markets is on the third Sunday of every month.
Marlborough is nestled within the North Wessex Downs, an Area of Natural Beauty, which is easy to see from the rich verdant landscape that encircles the medieval parish. Shop fresh local produce at the Sunday morning farmer’s market, open 9am-12 pm. It’s less than an hour from Avonpark, our nearest village.
Amesbury is but a stone’s throw from Stonehenge and an hour from Avonpark. This sleepy town rests on the banks of the River Avon, waking up on Wednesdays for its bustling weekly market.
Fun for little ones
The little ones in the family can accompany you on walks, cycle rides and on your explorations of local landmarks and places of interest. However, there is plenty more to do too!
Salisbury Cathedral often runs children and family events over school holidays and during the festive season - the Christmas service often includes a visit from a real donkey.
The Salisbury Museum brings history to life for little ones with interactive sessions, living history days and an annual archaeology festival that takes place in the summer.
The county caters for the younger generations too. Longleat is one of Wilshire’s most popular family attractions, Choldertons Rare Breeds Farm is a wonderful petting zoo and Studley Grange gives little ones a chance to turn their hand at butterfly spotting.
Access and travel links
When it comes to Wiltshire’s rail network, the county is well connected, boasting 14 train stations and two operators: Great Western Railway and South Western Railway.
Many of the towns within Wiltshire can be accessed by train, while larger cities and regions such as London (Paddington and Waterloo), Cardiff, the New Forest, Exeter, Portsmouth, Oxford, the Midlands and the North of England can also be easily reached.
Via train, London can be reached within 90 mins. You can take a look at all of the train services on the Connecting Wiltshire website.
The nearest airports are Southampton, Bristol and London Heathrow, making international access easy. For those who prefer travelling by ferry, the port towns of Southampton, Poole and Plymouth are all within a few hours too.
The county can be easily accessed via motorway, with a great road network across Wiltshire. This makes travelling to landmarks, attractions and places of interest a simple task. Some of the smaller villages play host to winding country lanes that may prove tricky to navigate in places.
There are also a number of community transport schemes in many parts of Wiltshire for those who do not own their own vehicle or find public transport challenging. You can learn more about these schemes on the Wiltshire Community Transport website.
Avonpark Retirement Village
Our own Avonpark Village is within Wiltshire, an established retirement community set into grounds that overlook the stunning Avon Valley.
Located within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the retirement community is surrounded by beautiful countryside and is close to the river Avon.
The A36 that leads on to A4, M4 and M3 can be easily accessed from the village, while the two closest train stations are Freshford and Avoncliff.
The village is close to the spa town of Bath, while Bristol, Swindon, Marlborough and Salisbury can all be accessed with ease, all offering various amenities and independent shops and businesses.
Within the local area, residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to local restaurants and eateries, such as The Inn at Freshford and The Seven Stars. However, many of our residents choose to dine at our onsite restaurant found in the central clubhouse, or with friends and family in their private homes.
Alongside the restaurant, the clubhouse also houses a lounge, bar, conservatory and a well-stocked library, while the sun terrace affords breathtaking views across the valley. The central clubhouse is often the location for hobby and special interest groups.
The village offers a range of flexible tenure options including rental options and shared ownership. Why not take a look at our homes to rent in Wiltshire, as well as our wide range of Wiltshire retirement properties for sale? Or come and see us on an open day and experience the village for yourself.Discover Avonpark Village