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Activities to keep you occupied on a rainy day in Wiltshire

Even though we’re in the height of summer, this doesn’t mean that we won’t escape a few rainy days. However, this needn’t be a worry when staying in English country cottages, as there’s still so much to do, whatever the weather.

In particular, Wiltshire has plenty to keep all ages amused, even when the clouds are drizzling overhead. We’ve picked some of the best indoor attractions, so that you can be prepared for all conditions, while still enjoying all the county has to offer.

Salisbury Cathedral

This year Salisbury Cathedral is marking a huge event in the landmarks history, making it an even more great time to visit. This currently includes two spectacular light installations, which can be found inside the cathedral, in both the North Porch and Morning Chapel. The cathedral also has various artworks throughout, as well as a number of literary and film links, which can be discovered when visiting.

“Celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta in 2015 by viewing the best preserved original, housed in one of Britain’s finest medieval cathedrals. A brand new exhibition opened in March with a programme of related events is scheduled as part of the year-long celebrations.

Salisbury Cathedral also has Britain’s tallest spire (123m/404ft), the world’s oldest working clock (1386) and a stunning ‘living water’ font (2008). Visitors can also explore the roof spaces on a Tower Tour, climbing 332 steps to the base of the spire. Or relax in our Refectory restaurant with a fabulous view of the spire above.” – Salisbury Cathedral

Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

Combining a number of exhibitions and collections, Swindon Museum and Art Gallery will cater for a variety of differing interests. From photography and ceramics, to social history and geology, everything can be found at Apsley House, which has been a museum since 1930. An elegant staircase, stained glass details and decorative plaster work all help to make the museum experience even more enjoyable.

“Swindon Museum and Art Gallery is FREE to visit and aims to inspire visitors to enjoy and learn from our collections and the stories they tell about Swindon and the world. We look forward to welcoming you.” – Swindon Museum and Art Gallery

Roman Baths

Although not in the county itself, those staying in Wiltshire holiday cottages will be ideally located within an hour’s drive from the world-renowned Roman Baths. This fascinating and educational example of English heritage has many sights to see, ranging from exhibitions about the Romans, to the real-life swimming pools and changing rooms that they would have used thousands of years ago in the past.

“Famed for its hot springs, Bath houses the best preserved Roman Spa north of the Alps. This great temple and bathing complex still flows with natural hot water. Delve into the history of this magical monument and admire its architecture and engineering, with the help of new displays and the best of modern interpretation. Real costumed characters and computer reconstructions bring Roman Britain vividly to life. The whole site has been made family friendly, and there are baby-carriers for young children and level access around most of the site.” – Roman Baths

Salisbury Escape

After visiting the Salisbury Cathedral, you should have learnt a lot about the Magna Carta, but this has now been stolen and it’s your responsibility to help find it. While this isn’t strictly true, when visiting the Salisbury Escape Rooms, you will be placed in a fictional mystery that you must unravel. On arrival, you will be briefed by a detective, before being presented with a variety of clues, which should help you find the missing professor who is in hiding with the Magna Carta.

“Unravel the clues, crack the codes, solve the puzzles. Find the missing Professor, the Magna Carta and escape! You have one hour - a fun and exciting challenge for teams of two to six.” – Salisbury Escape

The Merchant’s House

Set on Marlborough’s famous high street, The Merchants House is a 350-year-old building, which was once occupied by a prosperous silk merchant. Much of the fabric has survived, and is displayed throughout the spacious and elegant former home of Thomas Bayly who lived in the house during the 1600s. So, if the sun isn’t shining, why not come and discover this wonderfully preserved house, which is both beautiful inside and out.

“The House of Thomas Bayly was built following the Great Fire of Marlborough in 1653. Over the years 1653-1700 a fine timber and brick building was constructed, its interior panelled, brilliant with wall paintings and with a commanding oak staircase. Its position on Marlborough’s lively High Street is a reminder it was both the shop and the home of a prosperous Puritan family. By careful conservation of the building and the use of appropriate 17th century furnishing the Merchant’s House Trust is bringing back to life the home of a family who lived through one of the most tumultuous but fascination periods of English history. A substantial amount of the original features survives and hidden painted decoration continues to be revealed. The ongoing conservation makes the Merchant’s House a special and unusual place to visit.” – The Merchants House

The Museum of Computing

Technology has now become a huge part of our lives, and while relatively new, it still has an overwhelming amount of history. The superb Museum of Computing in Swindon, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, has a huge collection of gaming artefacts that are sure to fascinate both young and old.

“Mixing education and fun, the Museum of Computing in Swindon is a relaxed and friendly place with plenty of activities on offer. Definitely not your usual museum! Few can resist getting hands-on in the ‘Pong to PlayStation’ gallery with three decades of gaming to enjoy. And, kids (grown up ones too) can get creative with Lego and Papercraft (like Minecraft without electricity). For inspiration, active displays bring alive the story of computing together with artefacts ranging from pioneering pre-70’s machines, to nostalgic home computers from the 80’s and 90’s plus hand-held toys, robots, calculators and other fascinating stuff. It’s a great escape from wet weather, and shopping, in Swindon’s town centre.” – The Museum of Computing

Image Credit: Liz Jones, Salisbury Cathedral, Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, Roman Baths, Salisbury Escape, The Merchant’s House, Museum of Computing (Flickr.com)

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