1 Swindon Museum and Art Gallery tells the story of the town from its earliest origins as a small and ancient community scratching out a modest living at the top of a hill. Exhibits include archaeological finds, items from our agricultural and industrial heritage and poignant reminders that any history worth telling is a history of people. The building is also home to artworks including the collection of 20th century pieces frequently described as the finest outside the capital. Visit swindonmuseumandartgallery.org.uk

2 Steam – Swindon’s museum of the Great Western Railway - is housed in a piece of the very history to which it pays tribute. Opened in 2000, it has been one of the town’s most prominent visitor attractions ever since. Visitors have the chance to marvel at some of the magnificent machines created at the Works as well as learn about the day-to-day lives of the visionaries and skilled workers who changed Swindon forever. Its website is steam-museum.org.uk

3 The Richard Jefferies Museum at Coate celebrates the life and work of the Victorian nature writer. Jefferies has been credited over the years with being everything from a pioneering environmentalist to creating – in After London – one of the first dystopian science fiction novels. The museum is also a centre for a growing array of cultural events. See richardjefferies.org for details and opening times.

4 It would be inaccurate to call the Museum of Computing in Swindon’s Theatre Square a hidden gem as it has fans throughout the country and beyond. Nevertheless, many people have yet to experience the fascinating story it has to tell, one which begins with the earliest mechanical calculating machines and takes us through to the smartphone era. Visit museumofcomputing.org.uk

5 Aldbourne Heritage Centre - aldbourneheritage.org.uk - is one of the area’s smaller museums but no less interesting and rewarding for that. Settlement of the historic village dates back to prehistory, and the centre has artefacts and information panels relating to key subjects including industry, agriculture, traditions and the daily lives of the people who have called Aldbourne home down the centuries. Check the website for opening times.

6 Like Steam in Swindon, the Town Hall Museum of Royal Wootton Bassett is housed in a piece of the history it commemorates. The old Town Hall building, is easily the community’s most recognisable structure. The exhibits it holds – visit woottonbassett.gov.uk/Town-Hall-Museum.aspx for details and opening times – cover all aspects of life in the historic market town.

7 Purton Museum, like Aldbourne Heritage Centre, is a small museum with a fascinating story to tell. There are artefacts ranging from clay pipes to an old cash register, and from fossils to food packaging, and visitors are given a real sense of the landscape and the people who founded and lived in the community from its earliest times to fairly recent ones. Check the website - purtonmuseumandhistoricalsociety.com – for opening times.

8 Devizes is home to the Wiltshire Museum, which in turn is home to countless exhibits detailing all aspects of life across the county. Some of those exhibits date back to periods tens of thousands of years before there was such a thing as Wiltshire – or such species as human beings to name it and call it home. The museum is geared toward people of all ages. Its website is wiltshiremuseum.org.uk

9 Atwell Wilson Motor Museum in Calne proudly bills itself as the only motor museum in the county. Its exhibits range from American ‘muscle cars’ to British models many visitors will remember having on their own driveways – or perhaps riding in on family trips with parents or grandparents. There are commercial vehicles, a vintage fire engine, historic motorcycles, models and many other items. The museum’s website is atwellwilson.org.uk

10 Crofton Pumping Station near Marlborough - croftonbeamengines.org – was built in the early years of the 19th century to supply water to the Kennet and Avon Canal. Its working steam engine makes the site one of the most significant location of its kind.