There are many timeless towns and villages in Wiltshire and the town of Melksham is one. It evolved at a ford across the River Avon and was once part of a vast royal forest that stretched as far as Chippenham. It was a favourite hunting ground of Tudor kings.
Melksham appeared in the Domesday Book; the agricultural and cloth making industries made the town prosperous. In the C19th, the town developed as a spa to rival nearby Bath. You can still see the crescent of six Lodging Houses and the Pump Room at the Spa.
St Michael and All Angel’s Church, in Canon Square and Church Walk, is a beautiful historic quarter in the town centre. Near by is Sandridge House, which was a WWII base for General Eisenhower. The Packhorse Bridge connects Whaddon to Broughton Gifford over the River Avon. It is a good example of this type of bridge with low parapets to allow room for the horse’s panniers.
Melksham is a town that has widely appreciated flower displays and runs a local Melksham in Bloom competition. Entrants also take part in the regional Britain in Bloom South West competition.
Things to see and do
The nearby Kennet and Avon Canal, offers great bike rides or walks. Go east to the Caen Hill Locks and west to Bradford on Avon and Bath. Volunteers from Bowerhill Residents Action Group (BRAG) have made a picnic area. This is part of a circular walk taking in part of the canal, along footpaths. You can also walk past a 700 year oak at Bowerhill where, it seems, Oliver Cromwell hanged four Royalists.
King George V Park, known locally as simply ‘The Park’ is a large lawn area with a children’s playground, a canoe club on the river and a recreation area. It’s also where some of the town’s bigger events take place.
Melksham also has a library, gym, swimming pool, and Tourist Information Centre.
Where to eat and shop in Melksham
At the heart of a rural community, Melksham is full of independent shops, pubs and cafés. There is a regular Tuesday market. Why not try the local tipple, Gold Medal ‘Molecatcher’ from Moles Brewery in Bowerhill? Or, stop for a cream tea at Beechfield House or a locally sourced meal from The Pear Tree Inn.
Where to stay
Well House Manor was built in 1906 and offers a quiet place to rest and relax. Today it welcomes visitors to stay in one of its five spacious hotel rooms.
Please view a stunning short aerial film capturing the beautiful county of Wiltshire
Annual events and entertainment
The strong and vibrant community spirit ensures a busy calendar of events, including the summer highlights of Melksham Carnival, Party in the Park and Melksham Comic Convention.
In the autumn the Melksham Food & River Festival takes places with over 60 stalls, local food and drink, live music, water-based activities and even a chilli-eating competition.
The popular Christmas Fayre features the highly anticipated switching on of the Melksham Christmas Lights, a spectacular display put on entirely by volunteers.
The Assembly Hall hosts an extensive events programme throughout the year and its facilities are also available to hire as an excellent corporate venue space for up 400 guests.
Where to eat and shop
At the heart of a rural community, Melksham is full of independent shops, pubs and cafés – many of which look superb in summer with their beautifully decorated floral hanging baskets. There is a regular Tuesday market. Why not try the local tipple, the award-winning Gold Medal ‘Molecatcher’ from Moles Brewery in Bowerhill? Alternatively, you can stop for a cream tea at Beechfield House or a locally sourced meal from The Pear Tree Inn.
Where to stay
Well House Manor was built in 1906 and offers a quiet place to rest and relax. Primarily operating as a corporate environment it welcomes visitors to stay in one of their five spacious hotel rooms.
Beechfield House is a stunning family and dog friendly, four AA Red Star country house hotel with 23 bedrooms. It has beautiful grounds, rosette fine dining, a spa and a heated outdoor swimming pool.
The town is also well situated for visits to the National Trust properties of Lacock and Great Chalfield Manor. While nearby historic towns of Castle Combe, Bradford on Avon and Corsham are also worth exploring. For gardening enthusiasts the Whitehall Garden Centre, Lacock is nearby.
For further information contact