News, Places

The Ancient Town of Westbury in Wiltshire

Westbury History

The small market town of Westbury is on Wiltshire’s Western border, nestling below Salisbury Plain. This former mill town still retains many of its old buildings including mills. Westbury has had a market from 1252. It sent representatives to Parliament, following reforms, as a famous “rotten borough”. There has been a chartered market here since 1461.

Featured in the Domesday Book, Westbury is home to the oldest of Wiltshire’s white horses and the town’s most famous feature – the Westbury White Horse. This is thought to be over 300 years old and its location on the side of a steep hill means that it can be seen from many miles away. Today the population of Westbury and surrounding villages is approximately 18,000.

Westbury White Horse

 

Things to See and Do

Bratton Camp

Enjoy a walk to the large Iron Age hill fort at Bratton Camp and the Westbury White Horse. The countryside is stunning with great opportunities for walking, cycling, pony trekking, kite flying, hand gliding and paragliding.

Westbury All Saints Church

Places to visit

All Saints’ Church is open to visitors every day. It stands in the centre of the town surrounded by cottages and footpaths at the head of the Market Place. It is a Grade I Listed building, dating from the second half of the C14th. The church stands on the site of an older Saxon church. It boasts the third heaviest peal of eight bells in the world, fine stained glass and an Erasmus Bible.

The Laverton Institute is near the beginning of the Bratton Road. It hosts a free exhibition on Victorian Westbury and has a famous stained glass window. From here you can follow the Blue Plaque Trail which takes you through Westbury’s medieval heart. There is also a World War One Trail in the town. Information online or from the Laverton, library and heritage centre.

Visitors can explore Westbury’s early industrial heritage and see a collection of historic photos at Westbury Heritage Centre.

Westbury has a famous 130-year-old Victorian swimming pool. The pool is still open to the public, so take you swim suit with you when you visit.

The nearby C14th St Mary’s, Old Dilton, is down a pretty wooded lane near the River Biss. This little church has an unusual tiny squatted-stone spire, looking like an inverted ice cream cone. It also has its original Georgian box pews and no electricity.

In the nearby village of Eddington, The Three Daggers Brewery has its own micro-brewery, farm shop, pub and restaurant.

Please view a stunning short aerial film capturing the beautiful county of Wiltshire

Annual Events & Entertainment

Westbury’s Christmas celebrations begin at the end of November with the Christmas Tree Festival in All Saints and its annual light switch on at the beginning of December.
The Westbury Festival is now in its 10th year and takes place in September/October with a variety of events. The Festival highlights the wealth of local talent and also the history, cultural facilities and the beautiful surrounding Wiltshire countryside.

Don’t miss the Annual Donkey Derby in May at the White Horse Country Club and the bi-annual Summer Street Fayre next due in July 2018.

For one week in August every year since 1956, Edington Music Festival (21 – 28 August 2017), takes place in a magnificent 14th century priory church. 90 of the UK’s top choral singers and organists come together to sing some of the most beautiful music ever written.

Westbury’s Christmas celebrations begin at the end of November with the Christmas Tree Festival in All Saints. Its annual light switch on is at the beginning of December. The Westbury Festival, now in its 10th year, takes place in September and October. It highlights the wealth of local talent and the history, cultural and beautiful Wiltshire countryside.

Don’t miss the Annual Donkey Derby in May at the White Horse Country Club and the bi-annual Summer Street Fayre.

Edington Music Festival  takes place in August every year since 1956, in a majestic C14th priory church. Ninety of the UK’s top choral singers and organists come to sing beautiful music.

What’s nearby

For visitors staying in Westbury there is a range of things to see and do only a short drive away. So if you fancy a fun packed day out, how about a visit to Longleat or a more leisurely stroll around the nearby town of Bradford on Avon? Alternatively, you can take a walk at nearby Shearwater, Heaven’s Gate or Cley Hill.

For further information please see Visit Wiltshire

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