The best places to stay in Wiltshire

Rural, Activity, Destinations

Posted by Kate Atkin on 29th January 2024

A charming street in the Wiltshire village of Castle Combe

Nestled between the water meadows of the Nadder Valley, the chalk downland of the West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, it should come as no surprise that the county of Wiltshire is overflowing with picture-postcard destinations.

This breathtaking landscape is interspersed with a bounty of chocolate-box towns and villages, boasting an endless array of historic monuments, architectural treasures and exciting visitor attractions.

Discover the Cotswolds and get to know some of our favourite places to stay in Wiltshire. We’ve put together a list of the top towns and the best villages in Wiltshire to visit. For more local inspiration, read our guide to the 10 best places to stay in the Cotswolds.

Holiday cottages in Wiltshire

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An aerial view of Salisbury and its cathedral

Salisbury – the best place to stay for a city break full of history

The city of Salisbury is one of the best places to stay in Wiltshire for history buffs. It is located at the edge of Salisbury Plain, close to the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site of Stonehenge. At the city’s beautiful heart is the 13th-century Salisbury Cathedral, which dominates the skyline from far and wide. This medieval masterpiece boasts Britain’s tallest spire, largest cloisters and biggest Cathedral Close, as well as an original 1215 Magna Carta.

Gathered around the cathedral is a maze of ancient streets scattered with museums, galleries and independent retailers, as well as plenty of places to eat and drink. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, the hustle and bustle of the historic Charter Market is brimming with items from local producers, perfect for picking up a souvenir or two.


  • Salisbury Cathedral – climb the 332 steps to the top of the tower for mesmerising views over the city
  • Cathedral Close – home to Salisbury Museum, Mompesson House, The Rifles Military Museum and Arundells (the home of former Prime Minister, Sir Edward Heath)
  • Old Sarum – unearth 2,000 years of history at this mighty Iron Age hillfort where Salisbury’s original cathedral once stood

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A collection of images of Bradford-on-Avon, including its famous bridge

Bradford-on-Avon – the best place to stay for picture-postcard scenery

Bradford-on-Avon is one of the prettiest Wiltshire market towns, nestled in a gentle valley on the fringe of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This chocolate-box town is overflowing with charm and character, its narrow streets and ancient alleyways lined with traditional honey-coloured houses made from local Bath stone.

For hundreds of years, the principal industry here was wool and cloth, so there’s an enchanting mix of tiny weavers’ cottages and grand clothiers’ homes to admire. Winding through the town are the Kennet and Avon Canal and the River Avon, and the loveliest sight of all is the old stone bridge that crosses the water with its beautifully preserved 13th-century arches.


  • The Shambles – a cobbled shopping street full of olde-worlde charm with buildings dating to the 15th century
  • The George At Woolley – you’ll find this welcoming pub in our guide to the best dog-friendly pubs in the Cotswolds
  • Tithe Barn – owned by English Heritage, this was one of the largest medieval barns in England, originally belonging to the nuns of nearby Shaftesbury Abbey

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An aerial view of Chippenham and the bandstand at John Coles Park

Chippenham – the best place to stay for enjoying the outdoors

Chippenham enjoys a reputation as one of the best towns in Wiltshire, and one of the most vibrant. This charismatic market town has a rich history, a lively atmosphere and bustling markets every Friday and Saturday.

For those who appreciate the great outdoors, Chippenham is home to some stunning parks, including John Coles Park with its mature trees, colourful flowerbeds and Victorian Bandstand, and Monkton Park which sits on the tranquil banks of the River Avon. Nothing beats laying out a picnic blanket and soaking up the sunshine in one of these glorious green spaces on a warm summer’s day. There’s also a host of woodland walks in nearby Birds Marsh, Briars Wood and Vincients Wood.


  • John Coles Park – enjoy concerts at the bandstand every Sunday in the summer while the kids play on the splash pad
  • Chippenham Museum – housed in an 18th-century former magistrates’ court, this museum is packed with fascinating exhibits about the town’s history
  • Bowood House and Gardens – just 5 miles away, this Georgian mansion is surrounded by breathtaking parkland and gardens designed by Capability Brown

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A couple shopping with armfuls of bags

Marlborough – the best place to stay for shopping

Boasting the second-widest high street in England, which is simply bursting with an array of high-quality shops, Marlborough is one of the best places in Wiltshire for some retail therapy. Dip in and out of independent boutiques, antique stores and chic cafes, all housed within the characterful walls of centuries-old, listed buildings. There’s also a twice-weekly market where you can fill your shopping bags with all manner of local treats.

Set in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Marlborough has quite a few claims to fame. Catherine, Princess of Wales, went to school at Marlborough College – and if that isn't enough, legend has it that the town is the burial place of the wizard, Merlin!


  • The Merchant’s House – a beautifully restored 17th-century silk merchant’s townhouse built after the Great Fire of 1653 and open to visitors
  • Marlborough Open Studios – on selected dates during July, you can visit local artists’ studios and browse pop-up galleries
  • Savernake Forest – the only privately owned forest in Britain open to the public, belonging to the Marquess of Ailesbury

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A street in Lacock and the exterior of Lacock Abbey

Lacock – the best place to stay for photographers

Lacock is an idyllic English village, seemingly untouched by time. Its ensemble of timber-framed and weathered limestone buildings is owned almost in its entirety by the National Trust, and it has been so beautifully preserved that it feels like a living museum. Unsurprisingly, the village is a go-to filming location for costume dramas and feature films, with its most famous appearances including Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice and several of the Harry Potter films.

One of the prettiest places to visit in Wiltshire, you can wander its unspoiled streets peppered with lovely little shops and pop-up stands selling jams and baked goods, and admire its traditional stone cottages, medieval tithe barn and village church.


  • Lacock Abbey – a magnificent stately home with monastic roots, once home to William Henry Fox Talbot, a photographic pioneer
  • Fox Talbot Museum – discover more about the man who invented the photographic negative at this museum
  • Corsham Lake – is just 3 miles away, and is featured in our guide to the most beautiful lakes in the Cotswolds

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Looking across By Brook Bridge in Castle Combe

Castle Combe – the best place to stay for a quintessential Cotswolds experience

Having starred on the big screen many a time over the years, it’s no wonder that Castle Combe is one of our favourite villages to visit in the Cotswolds. Hailed as England’s prettiest village, its tangle of treacle-toned cottages adorned in overflowing floral baskets feature in many a travel snap – be sure to keep your eyes peeled for home-baked goodies for sale right outside some of the locals’ front doors!

Take a wander around the chocolate-box streets with quaint little shops with teapot signs overhead and see if you can spot some of the settings used in Stardust, Robin Hood, Dr Doolittle, and War Horse. Without a doubt, this is one of the dreamiest places to go in Wiltshire.


  • By Brook Bridge – for one of the most iconic views of the village, cross the bridge and look back at the old weavers’ cottages
  • The Castle Inn – a 12th-century country inn serving delicious homemade fare
  • Castle Combe Circuit – this renowned racetrack offers a range of exhilarating driving experiences

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Westbury White Horse, a girl getting ready for a boat ride, and feeding the animals at Longleat

Warminster – the best place to stay for family fun

The leafy market town of Warminster is one of the best Wiltshire places to stay if you’re planning a family holiday. Lying on the edge of the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there are so many fun things to do here, from walks and cycle rides in the surrounding countryside to award-winning attractions in and around the town.

First on the agenda should be the Warminster Lake Pleasure Grounds with its boating lake, play areas and splash pad. Then, head to the Athenaeum Centre to see a show, or take a walk on the wild side at the world-famous Longleat Safari Park. Be sure to also include a visit to the Westbury White Horse, a fascinating English Heritage attraction only 6 miles away.


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A couple on a canal boat about to go under a bridge

Trowbridge – the best place to stay for a romantic break

Trowbridge is the county town of Wiltshire and offers a blend of rich heritage and modern attractions. It’s one of the best Wiltshire destinations for couples to enjoy a relaxing break, flaunting a multitude of things to do and romantic places to dine.

Delve into the town’s enthralling textile heritage at the Trowbridge Museum, take a boat trip along the Kennet and Avon Canal, or indulge in a picnic within the scenic grounds of Trowbridge Park. Whatever time of year you choose to visit, there’s always something going on, with annual events such as the Midsummer Festival.


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Map of the best places to stay in Wiltshire

Find the best places to stay in Wiltshire on our handy map.

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Enjoy a holiday in Wiltshire 

With so many wonderful things to do in Wiltshire, you’ll need a relaxing base for your exciting adventures. Our self-catering accommodation in Wiltshire ranges from cosy cottages for couples to large houses for the whole family, so you can explore this characterful county with ease. Click the button below to browse our full collection of holiday cottages in Wiltshire.

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.