If you are wondering what to do with your days now that warmer weather is here, Neil Henty has some suggestions, ranging from visiting a farm to a day’s racing

Visit a working farm

Spring and summer is the perfect time to get out and about, so why not take time to get back to nature and visit a working farm? Always a great day out for children and grandchildren. Roves Farm near Swindon is a family-run, working farm that is open all year round.

Covering 166 hectares, its visitor centre first opened its doors in 1992, welcoming people of all ages who want to experience what life on a farm is really like.

Visit a stately home and garden

Wiltshire has long been a destination of choice for the wealthy, whether from the gentry, from the arts, from business or elsewhere and they have left their mark on the landscape in the form of the wonderful stately homes and gardens that stand resplendent to this day.

Many are still homes, some are now in the care of the National Trust, or a charitable trust, but many will open their doors and gardens throughout the year to tourists and enthusiasts alike.

At this time of year, gardens will be springing to life (excuse the pun) and will be worth spending a considerable amount of time exploring.

In this issue, we feature Job’s Mill near Crockerton, and last month featured the Abbey House gardens in Malmesbury, but Iford Manor, Bowood House, Stourhead, and Lacock Abbey, Heale Garden, The Courts Garden in Bradford on Avon, and Avebury Manor are all worth visiting.

Visit a café for afternoon tea

You never need an excuse to visit a café for a spot of afternoon tea and Wiltshire certainly has as many options as you could wish when you have the need to indulge.

Why not try Honeystreet Mill Café near Pewsey, Beatons Tearooms in Tisbury, or The Bridge Tea Rooms in Bradford on Avon. Perhaps you have a favourite that you want to tell the world about? If you do, please get in touch, I would be happy to try them all out!

Visit a race circuit

If motor sport is your thing, then why not take advantage of the warmer, hopefully drier weather and head over to Castle Combe Circuit. Whether you go as a spectator to watch the racing, or want to take part in the popular racing school, there is something for everyone.

Visit a canal

Fancy a relaxing day out on the canal? Head over to Devizes Marina, on the Kennet & Avon Canal, above the Caen Hill locks, where you can hire a ‘there and back’ day boat for yourself and seven others.

Prices start from £149 and all boats include large covered communal seating area at the front, a large cruiser stern area with seating rails, a galley with gas hob and cool box, toilet and washroom facilities, and more.

And if you enjoy the experience, the marina offers boat sales, 80 recreational moorings and seven residential moorings.

Visit an escape room

The rise in popularity of escape rooms does not look like it is going to diminish any time soon and if you have yet to experience the thrill, the tension, the excitement of trying to solve puzzles to avoid being locked away forever (slight exaggeration), then now is surely the time.

Salisbury currently has two escape rooms: Salisbury Escape Room and Live Escape Salisbury. While in the north of the county you can experience Co-Decode Live Escape Games in Swindon. Are you brave enough to crack the codes and solve the puzzles?

Visit a brewery

Wiltshire is home to a number of breweries that produce award-winning, quality ales that have found favour far and wide. If you want to learn more about the brewing process and maybe sample the wares, then get in touch with, for example, Wadworths, Arkells, Box Steam Brewery, and Ramsbury to find out more.

Visit a steam train

If you like a dose of nostalgia why not take a ride on the Swindon & Cricklade Railway, Wiltshire’s only standard gauge heritage railway. The collection includes steam and diesel engines, and pieces under restoration in the sheds.

Visit a mystery

Why not try something different? If you are interested in mysteries, human or otherwise, then the Crop Circle Exhibition and Information Centre should be on your list of places to visit.

Located at the Honeystreet Mill Café at Honeystreet, near Alton Barnes, the exhibition was originally created for Wiltshire Museum. Everything you ever wanted to know about the crop circle phenomenon is here. Find out the latest news, talk to enthusiasts and take in some stunning photography, and find out whether there are any current circles that can be visited with permission from the farmer.

Visit a cookery school

Ever wanted to learn new skills in the kitchen? Want to learn different techniques or discover food from different regions and parts of the world? Then why not book into a cookery school?

We are spoilt for choice in Wiltshire, including Vaughan’s Cookery School in Devizes, Lucknam Park Hotel Cookery School in Colerne, The Farm Cookery School in Bromham, The Cooking School in Warminster, and Waitrose Cookery School in Salisbury.

Whether you want to start making loaves at home, or up your game to Michelin star level, there is a course waiting for you.

This article first appeared in the April 2020 issue of Wiltshire Life.