A Brief Encounter with King Alfred

Before my visit, I had never heard of King Alfred’s Tower, and having been there now it doesn’t surprise me! It is in the middle of nowhere and has nothing there except the tower it’s self. No coffee shop, no toilets, no gift shop, not even a real car park! All that is there is a simple ticket office tucked inside the tower by the entrance, but this is all part of the experience. If there were mod-cons in the area, it would lose its charm & the reward at the top of the tower wouldn’t be half as satisfying.

King Alfred’s Tower

What is King Alfred’s Tower?

Put simply Alfred had it built because he could – it serves no purpose other than to show off his wealth to his spectators! This is where the tower gets it’s other name: “The Folly Of King Alfred The Great”. Follies were designed by their very nature to be displays of extravagance. Despite it’s appearance, it served no role in any battles. The turrets did not at any point hold damsels in distress, Rapunzel did not let down her hair and no one here was punished for their crimes. Speaking of punishing…

It’s a long way up – the view from inside King Alfred’s Tower

How do you reach the top?

There is no lift. This tower is Grade I listed and cannot be made accessible for those who are not in fine shape. The only way up is to climb. A dark spiral staircase of 205 uneven steps is your only way to (eventually) reach the 160ft high viewing platform! Make no bones about it – you will be exhausted by the time you reach the top, but the view is absolutely worth it.

View from King Alfred’s Tower

The reason why you must attempt to make the epic pilgrimage to the top is for the stunning views over the Wiltshire & Somerset countryside. The Tower gives you 360° of pure uninterrupted beauty. You can see for miles and on a lovely sunny day such as this you are surrounded by a pallette of bright fields and luscious green forests. It is so peaceful and undisturbed you can actually pause for a moment and hear yourself think! The best part of it all? It isn’t hugely well known and even on a glorious day you can still feel like you have it all to yourself. In a modern world so busy as this, it’s no wonder it feels so close to heaven!

To find out more about the location & cost of climbing the tower, please visit the National Trust website.

Have you make it all the way to the top? Do you think it was worth the effort? Please leave a comment – we’d love to know your thoughts.

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