Wiltshire in the Spring

It’s been a year since my last visit to Wiltshire. I am very fond of this areas’ ‘pretty as a picture’ villages and countryside.

There’s so much to see and experience, like the historic churches, especially the ones which are part of the Saints and Sinners’ trail, the beautiful and quaint accommodation peppered around the area, the stunning gardens and some fantastic places to eat including Michelin Star restaurants. You can read about my last visit Wiltshire and more Wiltshire


Troutbeck Guest House room

I drove* from London to my first stop which was a Michelin star dinner at the Red Lion Free House and an overnight stay across the road at the Troutbeck Guest House, located in a stunning setting by the River Avon.  My room was spacious with an incredible view of the rural countryside and the river.  It was immaculate with crisp white linen in a king bed, all mod cons, original art on the wall, coffee and tea making facilities. There was an excellent mini bar with prices to match and working Wi-Fi.

It’s quite a romantic setting. The very comfortable guest house is a convenient 3-minute walk to the Red Lion Free House.  The location, Pewsey, is a quiet village but with a few activities happening in the surrounding neighborhood like fishing, hunting, Avebury,  Stonehenge, farms and riding to name a few.

Red Lion Free House garden

Red Lion Free House, a Michelin star meal

It’s a pub serving superb meals and drinks. The thatched building is charming and has a country-like vibe to it.  The chef forages for seasonal ingredients and works in close collaboration with local businesses and suppliers. They have retained their accolades: Michelin since 2013 and 3 Rosettes from the AA in 2014.  My dinner came to £80/person – one very tasty gin & tonic, 2 matching glasses of wine and 3 course (starter, mains and cheese). They have a very reasonable lunch set menu @£18/2 courses and £24/ 3 courses.

risotto of Cornish Crab and fennel fronds & lemon zest (£9)  a very tasty but a bit overcooked for my liking – lovely sourdough bread and butter


A winner dish: herb-roast guinea fowl breast  with Jersey Royals, English asparagus, grelot onions & amazing roasting juices – Cooked to perfection!


Red Lion Free House



Montgomery, Tunworth, BosworthLeaf and Barkham and biscuits – Finish my meal with a foursome English cheeses.

Next day breakfast was a winner too.

Highly recommend!


Malmesbury church
Rhubarb and Custard ice cream
A beautiful, flat Cotswold’s hilltop village and a market town with a history dating back to around 500 BC and most recently James Dyson, the industrial designer behind Dyson vacuum cleaners, located a research and development center and factory in Malmesbury to produce his products.

The hilltop contains several freshwater springs which helped early settlements and it has the most beautiful serene gardens I’ve ever visited, Abbey House Gardens.

Abbey House Gardens


Abbey House Gardens

Unmissable visit to  Castle Combe

Castle Combe


Castle Combe

I was very excited to visit Castle Combe, as I’ve seen it on the TV and heard so much about it. This village is everything I thought it would be and more. It’s a setting from a fantasy storybook.  Perhaps, the prettiest village in England?

Its breathtaking houses and the small streets leading from the Market Cross down have been host to many filming enterprises.

A visit to Manor House Hotel is a must.  A magnificent place setting in the village which is a pure luxury with original art on the walls and overall attention to aesthetic detail as I could see in reception and the grand dining room where I had an excellent and traditional afternoon tea.

Manor House Hotel – afternoon tea


Manor House Hotel

A stay in Hindon, Wiltshire

After the afternoon tea, I drove about an hour to my next accommodation, The Lamb at Hindon. A historic pub set in the charming village of Hindon, close to one of the wonders of the Ancient world, Stonehenge; Old Wardour Castle, Salisbury Cathedral, Longleat Safari Park, Stourhead and the glorious walks of the Wiltshire Country Side.

This establishment has been trading since the 12th Century.  The place has 18 boutique-style bedrooms with four of them having their own private gardens as well as a traditional pub dining room.

I loved my room which was located in the outer building.  Very high ceilings and very well appointed. It had a consistent design throughout, quality furnishings, well decorated, quiet room, comfortable king bed with white bed linen, a large flat screen TV with Sky TV, but no working Wi-Fi in the bedroom, but it operates in the pub area.  I supposed it could be a right or bad thing depending upon personal requirements.

Breakfast was lovely! Quality local ingredients; a hearty and well-cooked English breakfast and a self-service table of tasty goodies.  I was very well fed at this place.  Service was helpful and attentive.



Delicious Cooked Breakfast at The Lamb at Hindon


Stourhead House & Gardens

Stourhead House

An elegant mansion from dating back to the 1740s in its own 1,000-acre estate, filled with follies, water features and landscaped gardens. Stourhead  is part of National Trust porfolio.

I feel in love with this place, especially the house.  It’s one of those genuine O.M.G. moments.  The grandeur of the site, and fascinating history are both spectacular and intriguing.  The more you see, and believe me there’s a lot to see, the more you want to see and know. To view everything, the house and gardens, you will need a whole day. It’s worth every single minute spent at this place.


Other notable places to visit  nearby: Mere, a cute little village nearby, the town of Salisbury and its Cathedral and if you are into history the Magna-Carta exhibition.

Salisbury Cathedral


Driving to Wiltshire in the all-new Vauxhall Astra*

all-new Vauxhall Astra

Back in the day, I learned to drive in a white Astra, the small and straightforward model. That was the driving school car of choice, I think.  Fast forward a few years down the line I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to test-drive the all brand new Astra 2016.

I took it all the way down and around Wiltshire for four days and another two days to drive around town. It doesn’t look like an Astra or drive like one, at least the old ones we are used to seeing around town.  One thing to get used to is there no keys! It’s super modern car.

It was a very pleasant experience, it’s so modern and comfortable to drive in town or long journeys.  It felt safe and robust, with remote control central locking, cruise control with speed limiter,  manual parking brake with hill start to assist, air conditioning, hands-free calls via steering wheel controls, vehicle microphone, phonebook access, Apple CarPlay  and Android Auto, steering wheel mounted audio controls UBS for iPod, iPhone, Bluetooth and the best of all On-Star Wi-Fi!

The all new Brit-built Vauxhall Astra features OnStar connectivity – your own personal onboard assistant – with 4G Wi-Fi, turn by turn navigation and much more. For more information, please visit  Vauxwall New Astra



Disclosure:   Thanks to Visit Wiltshire for organising the itinerary and accommodation in Wiltshire.  Thanks to Vauxhall for lending the new Vauxhall Astra for my Wiltshire road trip.



  1. May 31, 2016 / 10:03 am

    I used to live in Wiltshire – in the Vale of Pewsey in a small village called Beechingstoke. I remember the Red Lion – always did great food!

  2. Sarah-Louise Bailey
    May 31, 2016 / 11:55 am

    Oh my goodness what a stunning looking place in the Spring – I don't think I've visited Wiltshire I'll have to add it to my list. x

  3. Hannah Heartss
    May 31, 2016 / 2:44 pm

    I have never been to Wiltshire but I must go one day – it looks lovely

  4. Sarah Mumx3x
    May 31, 2016 / 2:57 pm

    I'd love to visit Wiltshire, what a beautiful part of the country. Castle Combe looks like a beautiful little village, it truly does look like somewhere from a story book! There's so much history surrounding Wiltshire! I also like the sound of The Lamb At Hindon. Longleat Safari Park is another place I would love to visit. You know, I should bump Wiltshire to the top of my list, there's so much to see and do! 🙂

  5. Rhian Westbury
    May 31, 2016 / 3:57 pm

    Wow there's so much to do in Wiltshire, I love the look of the country villages x

  6. ana de jesus
    May 31, 2016 / 4:16 pm

    Oh wow £80 is a little steep but I love the location Wiltshire is very beautiful and I love the selection of cheeses!

  7. June 1, 2016 / 1:31 pm

    Wiltshire looks gorgeous – I have never been to any of these places. Castle Coomb is absolutely beautiful. Kaz x

  8. Pasta Bites
    June 2, 2016 / 9:01 am

    I totally need to BLOCK you! You are killing me with these stunning, beautiful images of such gorgeous places so 'close' to our homes. No need to fly to far away countries, look what we have on our doorstep. Fantastic.

  9. Leslie Hernandez
    June 2, 2016 / 2:58 pm

    Wiltshire looks stunning and the food looks amazing. Makes me want to go on vacation asap.

  10. Emma Julia
    June 4, 2016 / 11:21 am

    Utterly picturesque!