Pictured: The canal running through Devizes.
A Medieval past, a wealth of history, and one of the officially listed prettiest streets in Britain – what’s not to love about Devizes?
Based in Wiltshire, Devizes is a vibrant market town. It’s got a past rooted in the Roman period – a Roman settlement existed here – as well as Medieval ties. It boasts more than 500 listed buildings, and it’s got a brewery, a pictureqsue canal, an ice cream parlour and a hill-side chalk horse.
It’s also home to a beer shop, traditional pubs, the Wiltshire Museum and a cookery school. In a nut shell, there’s plenty more to do in Devizes than you might have expected; so perhaps it’s time to add the town onto your travel bucket list.
Things to see and do
There are more than 500 listed buildings in the town and a wide range of traditional independent shops plus a regular Thursday market.
Devizes is also home to a number of visitor attractions, including Wadworth Brewery, where groups can take a guided tour, sample 6X beer, and meet the Shire horses that still deliver beer to the local pubs within the town.
Pictured: Shire horses delivering Wadsworth beer to local pubs in Devizes.
You might also like to take a stroll along the Kennet and Avon Canal to see the Caen Hill flight of 29 locks, or hire a 28 foot long self-drive day boat from the Devizes Marina Village for a real waterway experience.
The Wiltshire Museum in Devizes tells the story of the nearby Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site. Director’s tours of the museum are available for those wanting to know more, and there are also immersive and interactive displays.
And don’t miss getting a snapshot of the Devizes White Horse, the most recent of Wiltshire’s White Horses, carved in 1999, in celebration of the Millennium. It is located on Roundway Hill and is reportedly the only horse in Wiltshire to be facing right, looking towards the Alton Barnes White Horse.
Pictured: A skull at the Wiltshire Museum.
In the 11th century the first Devizes castle was built by Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury. The castle was said to have been built on the boundary line between three ancient manors.
The original structure was burnt down soon after it was completed and later a stone castle was built instead. All that remains today is the original mound, the outline of the moat, part of the keep and traces of the foundations of the great hall – but it’s certainly worth a visit if you’re in the area.
For another trace of history, don’t forget to look out for the tower of St. James’ Church – if you observe closely, you can see the battle scars from when Devizes was besieged in the Civil War.
Annual events and entertainment
Every year in August the Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts (DOCA) runs a festival fortnight delivering a programme of events with the International Street Festival and Carnival. The Devizes Arts Festival runs in June each year for two weeks and there is also a beer festival in July.
Additionally, a celebration of ‘Wild Wiltshire’ run by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, takes places in September. This is run by a Wiltshire charity and aims to entertain and educate visitors on wildlife conservation.
Pictured: A row of pretty shops in the town centre.
Where to eat and drink
The Vaults Ale House and Beer Shop offers cask ales and ciders and a menu of locally-sourced pies, while The Marina Café on the Kennet & Avon Canal serves breakfasts, sandwiches, paninis and salads alongside homemade cakes and chocolate treats.
The George and Dragon at the nearby village of Rowde is a traditional village pub with newly refurbished rooms serving fresh fish delivered daily from Cornwall.
And set in the grounds of a Wiltshire dairy farm is The Rowdey Cow Farm Café and Ice Cream Parlour, offering homemade ice cream made from their own cow milk.
Devizes is at the heart of Wiltshire, around 20 miles south of Swindon and 25 miles north of Salisbury. The nearest railway stations can be found at Chippenham (12 miles), Melksham (ten miles) and Pewsey (13 miles).
There are also regular coaches from London and Bristol. Devizes has obtained coach friendly status from the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) and welcomes group visitors.
For further information about Devizes visit www.devizes.org.uk.
All photo credits: www.visitwiltshire.co.uk