Many people visit the South West of England to see Stonehenge – one of the most iconic stone circles in the world – but what they don’t realise is that there are many ancient stone circles and other sites of historical interest across Wiltshire, one of which is Avebury.
The fascinating thing about Avebury is just how many stones there are! They are everywhere! Not just in the main circle, but dotted around the village too. We even found a couple where the sheep were busy grazing! Of course the main attraction is the stone circle, and this is conveniently located next to the Alexander Keiller Museum, which displays some local artefacts of historical importance from the area.
Avebury Manor Gardens
In our opinion, the hidden gem of Avebury is the Manor Gardens. Free to National Trust members or payable to the public, these private gardens are meticulously maintained by the skilled gardeners and are a treat to the senses. The gardens seem small on the map, but we spent a good 45 minutes to an hour ambling through the different ‘rooms’. We let our son out of his pushchair here as it was enclosed and quiet enough to let him roam without fear of him running off. We visited in May, so the gardens were bursting with flora and fauna, including the last of the season’s daffodils. Maps can be collected at the entrance, and these are updated seasonally with notes from the gardeners, giving you an insight in to what’s growing around the garden currently, and tips on how to maintain your outdoor space at home too.
National Trust Cafe, Restaurant and Shop
If you have had the pleasure of enjoying a cake from a National Trust site before, you know why this is often a highlight of the day! The Coach House Cafe is the place to get your delicious homemade bakes and sweets, with the Circle Restaurant set to re-open imminently. The shop here features a selection of plants, gifts and garden trinkets, as well as the more traditional souvenir shop delights.
Considering how tiny the village is, there are a few shops and amenities to be enjoyed. ‘The Henge Shop’ sells what you might expect from the name, Avebury Community Shop is your traditional small-but-perfectly-formed village store that doubles up as the local post office, and Elements of Avebury is a boutique jam packed with jewellery and gems. There is also a village pub called the Red Lion and a couple of B&Bs to be found here too.
Parking is available at the National Trust Car Park on the edge of the village. It’s ‘pay and display’, or free for National Trust members. There is a very limited amount of blue badge parking on the high street for those who need it.
Toilets are available in the centre of the village, and feature accessible toilets and baby changing facilities. These are provided and managed by the National Trust.
The main village and Manor gardens are suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, but the stone circle itself is accessible by a number of steps and the terrain is uneven. The village is quite small so you may want to consider leaving the buggy in the car if your little ones can walk.
Address: Beckhampton Road, Avebury, Beckhampton, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8 1QT
Have you visited the ancient village of Avebury? What surprised you about it? Let us know in the comments!