Wiltshire Celebrates

By | Category: Travel destinations

This year sees a lot of anniversaries being celebrated in Wiltshire. Ask people what they know about the county and they might come up with Salisbury, Salisbury Plain, Longleat and Stonehenge. It suffers from being a county that the M4 goes through and many times that is as much as a tourist sees. Yet the motorway only cuts through the northern fringes so the farmland that they see from the road says little about the county.
But this year you’ll hear a lot more about it.
Right at the end of the year is the 200th anniversary of The Kennet & Avon Canal. In this age when canals seem leisurely, placid and pleasant places to walk along, it is easy to forget that once they were the motorways of Britain. As an engineering feat, this canal has to rise nearly 300 feet in just 2 miles so 29 locks were required.
Maybe an even bigger engineering feat was the Great Western Railway which celebrates its 175th birthday with events throughout the year. GWR means Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Swindon and this is where most of the celebrations will be. And the STEAM museum is 10 this year as well so the festival weekend (11th and 12th of September) will be bigger this year (see www.gwr175.net) .
Still on the transport theme, it is the centenary of the Bristol Aero Company so, at their museum at Kemble Airfield just south of Malmesbury, (www.bristolaero.com) there will be a series of events as well.
Even the modern world seems to want to share in the anniversaries. Late last year, South West Trains introduced a faster service to Exeter via Salisbury. Now you can get to Salisbury even quicker what anniversaries will they have this year? It is the 150th anniversary of the Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum located in the Cathedral Close. They, starting in June, will look back at what life was like in 1860. And while you’re there, picnic on the 8 acres of lawns outside the cathedral and just the watch the world go by. What better for a summer’s day out. For a longer list of events see www.visitwiltshire.co.uk

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