St Mary and St Nicholas church in West Street was finished in 1845. The Italian influence is unmistakable. Twisted columns in the main portal standing on recumbent lions; friezes below the eaves climbing up and down them in the facade; a big rose window; an isolated campanile. The campanile is connected with the church by a playful little gallery of richly decorated colonnettes. Rich also is the carving of the portals. The interior is certainly monumental, with its erect proportions and open timber roof. Inside material brought back from the 13th century Capocci Shrine which once stood in the Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome was used around the cloister door and again on the huge pulpit. This material includes black marble columns and coloured panels known as Cosmato work.
Wilton House Garden Centre is located in the old walled vegetable garden which once supplied food to the table at Wilton House. The garden centre is ran by the Wilton Estate in combination with the Blue Diamond Group who also run garden centres at Winchester, Evesham, Spalding & on the Islands of Guernsey & Jersey. The garden centre stocks over 3000 various plants as well as small seedlings, colourful bedding plants, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, alpines, conifers, trees & large specimen plants. Note: No ‘Venus killer man eating’ fly traps sold here!
What to buy: You will find a marvellous range of other gardening items such as compost (horse dodo’s), fertilisers, pest & disease control, watering equipment & a vast range of pots - in fact just about everything imaginable.
Again: No ‘Triffids’ here.
There’s also a café here where you can sit & watch the fountains sprinkling away. The main road to Wilton runs just outside.
What to pay: Opening Hours are Monday to Saturday 9am -6pm - Sunday 10.30am - 4.30pm
Not far from Salisbury just down the road from Wilton house is the Wilton Shopping Village. It’s near the fire station & there’s a park nearby with the River Wylye running through the middle. Here you can feed the many ducks & geese which gather on the bank, go over the bridge & you can enter the shopping village itself. Rest in the Village café, it’s upstairs but there’s a lift available for the disabled. Test the fine local produce of the Wiltshire Larder, & take a fascinating tour of the world famous Wilton Carpet Factory & Town Museum. Wilton carpet factory have made carpets for many fine houses in the area, including Wilton House, Windsor Castle & Buckingham Palace. Wilton Village has a restored 18th century courtyard with many shops to explore.
What to buy: Here is a list of what you may find & what they do.
• Cotton traders: Britain’s best value choice of leisurewear from two of England's former rugby captains, Fran Cotton & Steve Smith. (01722 744366).
• The Edinburgh Woollen Mill: The home of natural value. (01722 741212 - The Village café 01722-741289
• Julian Graves Ltd: A tasty selection of dried fruit & nuts & speciality foods. (01722 741364)
• Leading Labels: Stylish & trademark name’s, ladies & men’s style’s at low factory prices.
• Old Traditions: From patchwork quilts, bedding & throws, to gifts for home & garden at great prices. (01722 741351)
A wide range of excellent carpets at real factory prices, & an unrivalled service. (01722 742733)
• Roman Originals: Appetizingly new styles in ladies fashion at affordable prices. (01722 741310)
• Top Table: Quality kitchenware, glassware & presents. (01722 744148)
• Ponden Mill: Co-ordinated soft furnishings for your home at straight-from-the-mill prices. (01722 741271)
• Book Depot: A widespread range of books & stationery at highly spirited prices. (01722 741247)
• Double Two: Men’s & ladies styles. (01722 741370)
• The Golf Company: Top product names in gear &clothing at low prices. (01722 741212)
• Pavers Shoes: Well-known brands at cut rate prices. (01722 744621)
What to pay: How much do you want to spend?
Wilton House is one of the Treasure Houses of England. Wilton House is idyllically located just 15 minutes from Stonehenge, & 3 miles from the city of Salisbury: with the famed wilton carpet factory & shopping village close by. Wilton House opened its doors to the public on the 1st May 1951 & this 460 year old building with its history, creation, art treasures & 21 acres of gardens & parkland has fascinated visitors from all over the world.
Unique Suggestions: The Herbert Family
The Herbert Family came from South Wales, rising in status in Glamorgan &Monmouth by the end of the 15th century. The oldest son of Sir Richard Herbert, gentlemen usher to Henry V11, married Anne Parr, sister of Catherine who later married Henry V111 as his 6th & last wife in 1543. William Herbert was a great favourite of Henry V111. In 1542 he was established a coat of arms & crest. The following year he was knighted, & by 1544 had been given the abbey & lands of Wilton from the King. In October 1551 he was formed Lord Herbert of Cardiff & a few days later, Earl of Pembroke. Over the centuries, each member of the Herbert family has put his individual stamp on the house yet through the generations there has been an dominant thread of artistic & architectural leaning in the family which has resulted in the superbly modified & delightfully conserved Wilton House that you can all see today.
Fun Alternatives: Various tours
The Old Riding School & the dolls house
In the Old Riding School Interpretative Centre, with the award winning introductory film Noblesse Oblige. The recreated Tudor Kitchen & Victorian Laundry gives people a taste of life in past times. The Pembroke Palace Dolls House was planned in 1907 by Sir Neville Wilkinson who also built Titania’s Palace. Modelled on characteristics from the main House, he copied many of the paintings.
The Colonnade Room was built as the bedchamber for the King or visiting head of state. When George 3rd came to stay at Wilton in 1788, a appropriate royal bed was hired & brought by cart from a neighbouring estate!
Double Cube Room was Built by Inigo Jones as the mid feature of his suite of State Rooms it has been visited by almost every British monarch since Charles 1st . It was a apt setting in which to show the great collection of Van Dyck paintings which were by now hanging in the 4th Earl's London house, moved here by 1653. In the Second World War it was the top secret Operations Room for Southern Command. It was here that the support for the D-Day Landings in 1944 was designed.
Liked by film-makers, the Double Cube Room has provided film locations for Barry Lyndon by Stanley Kubrick; ‘Mutiny’, starring Anthony Hopkins & Mel Gibson; ‘The Madness of King George’ with Nigel Hawthorne & Helen Mirren, ‘Sense & Sensibility’ with Emma Thompson, ‘Mrs Brown’ with Dame Judy Dench & Billy Connolly.
7 miles southwest of Wilton is the little village of Fovant, founded by the Saxons, on the banks of the River Nadder and at the foot of Cranborne Chase. Thousands of men from all parts of Britain and overseas lived for a while in the area, passed on to the Western Front and returned from it. Many never returned but gave their lives on the battlefields in France. Others died of their wounds in the hospital or from disease. Rows of silent War Graves in Fovant and other nearby churchyards are testimony to their presence. In remembrance of their colleagues, many of the regiments carved into the hillside replicas of their cap badges. Many of these no longer survive, but by the end of WW1 there were some twenty discernible badges. By 2000, there were only twelve discernable badges on the downs. Faced with a potential bill of £350,000 upwards for restoration and large annual sums for increased maintenance thereafter, it was decided, with much sadness, that the objective should be the restoration and maintenance of the military crests on Fovant Down. These are clearly visible from a lay-by in Fovant whilst passing along the A30 road between Shaftesbury and Wilton