1Avebury Stone Circle is Neolithic and is made up of three stone circles, situated around the village and is open today for a fun day out. It is one of the best known prehistoric sites in Britain and is the largest megalithic stone circle in the world. It was built more than several hundred years in the Third Millennium BC, during the New Stone Age, and has a large henge, which is a bank and a ditch together. It has a large outer stone circle and two separate smaller stone circles inside the centre. No one knows exactly what is was built for but archaeologists think it was for some form of ritual or ceremony. To delve into more prehistoric landscapes visit the West Kennet Long Barrow, Windmill Hill and Silbury Hill or near by. Forming part of the World Heritage Site with Stonehenge, Avebury Stone Circle is open to the public all year round. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury

2Ludgershall Castle is looked after by English Heritage. The whole family can enjoy strolling around the castle ruins today. There are lovely views of the Collingbourne Woods. The castle is thought to have been begun by Edward of Salisbury, Sheriff of Wiltshire. It was much improved in the 13th century by King John and his son Henry III, who used the castle as a hunting lodge. Three large walls and extensive earthworks survive, while in the centre of the nearby village are the remains of a 14th-century cross. Ludgershall was a more important place in medieval England than it is now, and was able to send two members to Parliament, a privilege it kept until the Reform Act of 1832. The site was excavated for the first time between 1964 and 1972 by the University of Southampton but the ruin was not listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument until 1981. Open during daylight hours. For more details visit https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/ludgershall-castle-and-cross/

3Lydiard House is set in historic parkland on the western edge of Swindon, The palladian house, walled garden, parkland and children’s play area are open on Saturday. Dogs are allowed in the grounds and the park is a lovely destination for a family outing. Wide, accessible paths criss-cross the site, making it a great place for a walk, run, jog or bike ride. As you walk round you will see many of the remnants of the old country estate, many of these 18th century features have been restored, including the Ice House in the woodlands near the house. It was used to store ice to chill food in the house in the summer months. The large lake was also reinstated and the Georgian Walled Garden restored to its former glory. If you like to relax while taking in the scenery, there are benches around the park. Lydiard Park was purchased by the Swindon Corporation in 1943 and today it continues to be owned and managed by Swindon Council. For more details call 0844 879 4378 or visit https://www.lydiardpark.org.uk/

4Coate Water is a quiet haven for wildlife, with deer and foxes regularly being spotted in the wildflower meadows and it is open on Saturday to be explored. There is a large heronry which can be viewed from the bird hides. There are several walks in and around the park, many of which are level and surfaced - making them suitable for wheelchair users. A walk round the lake, 1.75 miles, 2.8km, takes about 45 minutes, at a gentle pace. In the wetter areas of the woodland there are willow trees, ash with oak and birch on drier ground, all home to many woodland birds. There is also a nesting site for waterfowl, reed bunting and warblers. Other wildlife enjoy the lakes including dragonflies and damselflies, a wide range of fish such as carp, bream and pike. The area’s history includes Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Romano-British and Medieval times spanning a period of 7,000 years. The oldest known ancient monuments at Coate are the undated stone circle and the Bronze Age burial mounds along Day House Lane. Coate Water is on Marlborough Road, Swindon. For more details visit https://www.swindon.gov.uk/info/20077/parks_and_open_spaces/487/coate_water_park

5Swindon Museum and Art Gallery is a treasure trove of history, housing one of the most important collections of modern British art in the country. Artists on show include Lucien Freud, Leon Kossoff, Frank Auerbach, Alfred Wallis and LS Lowry. There is also a collection of studio ceramics. The art gallery collection was started in the 1940s thanks to a donation of 21 pieces of art work from local businessman HJP Bomford, which included two drawings by Henry Moore, paintings by Graham Sutherland and an important abstract work by Ben Nicholson. The exhibits within Swindon Museum tell the story of Swindon's Jurassic past and its connections with the Romans, through displays of local history, archaeology and geology. On show are items from the Roman villa site at Groundwell Ridge in North Swindon, including remains of wall plaster, tiles and a silver bowl. Other Roman artifacts include a rare Roman wine strainer, lead casket and glass urn. At the top of the museum, housed in Bath Road, Old Town, is one of the most popular exhibits and a great delight to the children, it is a 4.5m (15ft) Indian crocodile. There is also an Egyptian mummy of a 12-year-old boy. Swindon Museum & Art Gallery is open Wednesday till Saturday, 11am – 3pm and from 10am during school holidays.

6 Barbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort, one of several on the ancient Ridgeway. The site, which lies within the Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has been looked after by Swindon Council since 1971. It sits on Barbury Hill with a view across the Cotswolds and the River Severn and is open on Saturday. It has two deep defensive ditches and ramparts. Round barrows, Celtic field systems and 18th-19th Century flint workings surround the fort and archaeologists think there were a number of buildings, indicating a village or military garrison there at one time. In the 6th century the site became part of the Saxon kingdom of Wessex, following the defeat of the Romano-British at the Battle of Beranburgh, Beran Byrig or Beranbyrig in AD 556. The battle ground is just north of the castle and centuries later the area was a favourite haunt of writer Richard Jefferies, who lived an hour’s walk away at Coate. Today Barbury Hill is a favourirte for a family day out, a brisk walk with the dog or a trip back into the past for history buffs. As an isolated site it is also perfect for wildlife watching, walking, mountain biking and horse riding

The amenity field next to the car park is perfect for flying a kite. For more details visit https://www.swindon.gov.uk/directory_record/8463/barbury_castle

7Swindon author, Richard Jefferies, wrote about this time of year, saying: There are days in spring when the white clouds go swiftly past, with occasional breaks of bright sunshine lighting up a spot in the landscape. That is like the memory of one's youth. The museum dedicated to the writer consists of a seventeenth century thatched cottage bought by the Jefferies family in 1800, a later, nineteenth century three-storied farmhouse, plus outbuildings, gardens, a copse, orchard and vegetable gardens and it is open on Saturday. The site is run by the Richard Jefferies Museum Trust and is fully accredited by Arts Council England. Inside, there is an extensive collection of items relating to Jefferies, mostly on loan from the Richard Jefferies Society. For example, there are first editions of many of Richard Jefferies' writings, the manuscript of Wood Magic and photographs, paintings and memorabilia. Furthermore, much of the house has been restored to create the atmosphere of a mid to late 19th Century farmhouse, complete with four-poster bed, a diorama of Jefferies as a young boy reading on his bed, and even a cheese room. Many of the exhibits give fascinating insights into bygone times. Occasionally, they bridge different layers of Swindon's rich history; for example, a plaque placed on Liddington Hill in 1938 (with the support of the then Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain) was later reputedly shot at by US troops in advance of their push into Nazi-occupied France during World War II. For more details call 01793 979224 or 07768 917466 Email: info@richardjefferies.org

8Ancient rolling downlands, home to an enigmatic chalk hill figure, The White Horse at Uffington is only a short drive out of town and it is open on Sunday. It is the perfect day out for getting the children out of door or as a romantic hike for two with stunning views from the top of Uffington Hill Enjoy a walk across the ancient chalk downs of Oxfordshire and absorb the history found along the ancient Ridgeway, passing by the White Horse, Dragon Hill and Ashdown. It's got to be one of the best places to challenge a child to climb a hill and then roll back down again, make wild music by blowing a grass trumpet or fly a kite. The famous chalk white horse is at Uffington. For more details call 01793 762209

9Jubilee Lake is an area of ancient woodlands and flower-rich meadows located north east of the town, just over a mile from the High Street in Royal Wootton Bassett. Jubilee Lake, popular with families as a walking and picnic spot, has its own nature reserve open on Sunday. It also has a play area with a wide variety of equipment on rubber safety surfacing. Take a family walk around the lake - not a long walk by any means but enough for a young family. It is all pushchair friendly and has its own free car park and toilets. The cafe / tea room overlooking the play area has homemade cake, soup, toastie sandwiches and there are a number of picnic benches and seats dotted around. There is lots for wildlife lovers, the lake is bursting with a variety of animals from the family of geese to the long eared brown bats. Jubilee Lake is based at Malmesbury Road, Royal Wootton Bassett. For more details visithttps://www.woottonbassett.gov.uk/Jubilee-Lake-Nature-Reserve.aspx

10Lacock village is owned almost in its entirety by the National Trust today but Lacock goes back many centuries and is mentioned in the Domesday Book, with a population of 160–190; two mills and a vineyard. The village was granted a market and developed a thriving woollen industry during the Middle Ages. The village has been used in both film and television including the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice, the 2007 BBC production of Cranford. It made brief appearances in the Harry Potter films Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and in the spin-off film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. In 2012, it was the location for the fantasy adventure Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box. In 2015 it was used for a series of Downton Abbey episodes. There are many walks in and around the village but Lovers’ Walk is one of the most popular. It is an easy walk exploring some of the off-the-beaten-track routes of this medieval village. Picturesque cottages, views of the glorious hills behind the village and a shady path on the way back down make it perfect for a bright spring afternoon.