Explore some of the finest gardens in the country, sculpted by revered landscape architect Capability Brown. Visit one of the country’s most famous National Trust estates, which absolutely isn’t to be missed for any Harry Potter fans. Then, take a stroll through the prettiest village in England. There are some seriously picturesque places to visit during your stay in Chippenham. But if that’s not your bag, then we’ve also got a great local cinema and a top class indoor go karting track to tell you about.
Activities in Chippenham
This popular country house, and the nearby village of Lacock, is owned by the National Trust. As you can expect from a former nunnery which dates back to the 13th-century, it possesses a fascinating history, including a pivotal role pioneering the art of photography. Combined with the fact that it was a popular filming location for Harry Potter, as well as period dramas such as Pride and Prejudice, Lacock Abbey ranks among one of the very best days out in Wiltshire, which is why we’ve given it its own dedicated page for you to peruse at your leisure.
Visit one of Capability Brown’s – England’s greatest gardener – most impressive estates by making the 20-minute trip from our Chippenham hotel to Bowood House. The house dates back to the 18th-century. While the ‘Big House’ was demolished following World War II, the surviving parts are still plentiful and worth exploring. The front wing is open to the public and contains an excellent collection of paintings and sculptures. You can also visit the laboratory where Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen in 1774.
The Bowood Gardens are the real highlight of your visit. Spread across some 100 acres, you can explore one of Capability Brown’s great landscapes. At its heart is the picturesque mile-long estate lake, with its stunning cascade and grottoes. Surrounding the Georgian house, the Italian terrace gardens are another highlight, so too the walled gardens. The estate is also home to an excellent spa, and a Championship Golf Course.
If that’s still not enough history and heritage for you then make your way to the picturesque village of Castle Combe, just five miles from Chippenham. The village is named after the 12th-century castle which once stood a short walk to the north. Its two streets of buildings date as far back as the 13th-century and, like the picturesque bridge that spans its crystal clear stream, are made from honey coloured Cotswold stone. Pay a visit and you’ll see why Castle Combe has been named the prettiest village in England. We’d argue you’d struggle to find finer in the world.
Chippenham Folk Festival
We mention the Chippenham Folk Festival while talking about the Old Road Tavern, one of our favourite pubs, on our page dedicated to Chippenham nightlife. It’s just one of many of the festival’s excellent small venues. This annual extravaganza takes over Chippenham for a long weekend at the beginning of summer. If you can, try and time your visit around the festival, which will soon be celebrating its 50th anniversary. It’s one of the very best folk festivals in the country with four days of traditional music, dancing, singing and folk activities. It’s entirely run by volunteers, and every penny raised from its modest ticket prices goes towards the festival.
If the weather takes a turn for the worst and you’re wondering what to do then make your way to the Reel Astoria on Marshfield Road, near the train station. It’s Chippenham’s one and only cinema, where you can catch all the latest blockbusters. Tickets are considerably cheaper than larger cinema chains, seats are comfortable, and there’s a grand total of five screens since the cinema enjoyed a fantastic recent refurbishment.
Adrenaline junkies looking to kill some time in Chippenham should make their way to M4 Karting. It’s one of the most popular go karting centres in the South West with a fleet of go karts for you to whizz around their large indoor track at Hullavington Airfield. Prices are reasonably cheap and there’s a state of the art timing system so you can go with friends or family to try and win some bragging rights.