Wiltshire, United Kingdom
Wiltshire is rich in the reminders of ritual and packed with not-to-be-missed sights. Its verdant landscape is littered with more mysterious stone circles, processional avenues and ancient barrows than anywhere else in Britain. It’s a place that teases and tantalises the imagination – here you’ll experience the prehistoric majesty of Stonehenge and the atmospheric stone ring at Avebury. Add the serene 800-year-old cathedral at Salisbury, the supremely stately homes at Stourhead and Longleat and the impossibly pretty village of Lacock, and you have a county crammed full of English charm waiting to be explored.
Bath, United Kingdom
Britain is littered with beautiful cities, but precious few compare to Bath. Home to some of the nation’s grandest Georgian architecture – not to mention one of the world’s best-preserved Roman bathhouses – this slinky, sophisticated, snooty city, founded on top of natural hot springs, has been a tourist draw for nigh on 2000 years.
Bath’s heyday really began during the 18th century, when local entrepreneur Ralph Allen and his team of father-and-son architects, John Wood the Elder and Younger, turned this sleepy backwater into the toast of Georgian society, and constructed fabulous landmarks such as the Circus and Royal Crescent.
The Cotswolds, United Kingdom
Rolling gracefully across six counties, the Cotswolds are a delightful tangle of gloriously golden villages, thatch-roofed cottages, evocative churches, rickety almshouses and ancient mansions of honey-coloured stone. If you’ve ever lusted after exposed beams, cream teas or cuisine crammed full of local produce, look no further.
The booming medieval wool trade brought wealth to the Cotswolds, leaving behind a proliferation of exquisite buildings. In 1966, the region was declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). At 790 sq miles, it’s England’s second-largest protected area after the Lake District. Though it extends from north of Chipping Campden to south of Bath, the bulk of it lies in Gloucestershire. More than 83% is farmland but, even so, around 139,000 people live within the AONB itself.
These gentle yet dramatic hills are perfect for walking, cycling and horse riding, criss-crossed by a network of long-distance tracks, most notably the 102-mile Cotswold Way.