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For visitors enjoying a cottage holiday in the South West, one main attraction is browsing the various stalls and shops in market towns for quirky gifts or local food to take home. Wiltshire has now been highlighted as one of the best counties for doing exactly this, as several towns in Wiltshire were recently recognised by National Express travellers as the best market towns in Britain.

National Express asked thousands of people from all over the country to tell them what they believed were the best market towns. In terms of Wiltshire locations, Devizes came out in eighth place in the nation, and Chippenham was also recognised by members of the public. In addition to a number of lovely holiday cottages in Wiltshire, visitors travel to the county’s quaint market towns to enjoy country life, get great local produce, and eat in some of the country’s finest pubs and restaurants.

“Wiltshire is a stunning county and Chippenham and Devizes, which are rich with history and packed with points of interest, are real gems so it’s hardly surprising they are regarded as some of the best towns in the UK,” said Tom Stables, managing director for the coach company, talking with local media. “It is tough to think of anything more quintessentially British than a market town and we think that is worth celebrating.”

The news of the survey was greeted with delight by Devizes Mayor Jane Burton. She commended local leaders for helping to create a welcoming atmosphere in the town, making it a worthy destination for visitors.

Tony Aldridge from the Devizes Tourism Partnership was especially pleased with the recognition of hard work.

“It is appropriate that such an interesting variety of attractions and independent shops and restaurants is recognised by this latest of many accolades,” Aldridge said. “Visitors by canal, coach and car are assured of a great welcome in Devizes.”

In the poll, Ross-on-Wye near the Forest of Dean came in top place – another location with a number of great holiday cottages nearby. Thirsk in North Yorkshire was in second place. Chippenham was in the sixth spot, whilst Devizes tied with Bridport for number eight.