Perched high on a hilltop and with the River Avon curling its way around the town on three sides, Malmesbury is a sought-after market town that’s full of character, culture and charm.
There are around 300 listed buildings and whilst the Abbey bears the scars of cannons and gunshot dating back to the Civil War, the town’s high street boasts a fabulous range of modern, independent shops selling hard-to-find gifts and charming pubs and restaurants serving locally-sourced food.
There is a new Waitrose just 3 minutes drive away and you’ll find even more amenities in Cirencester to the northeast and Chippenham to the south. For serious retail therapy, however, head to the Swindon Designer Outlet village, just 16 miles away.
Families of all ages are well catered for when it comes to sporting and leisure activities too. The town has its own thriving Community Choir, a cricket, tennis and football club and The Activity Zone Leisure Centre is close by, offering a range of fitness and leisure opportunities.
Charlton Park, a couple of miles away, plays host to WOMAD, the world music, arts and dance festival each year and in February, hundreds of youngsters with skateboards descend on the abbey to take part in the ‘Malmesbury Abbey Skate.’
Malmesbury and the surrounding Cotswold countryside is a haven for lovers of good food and drink. The annual Malmesbury Beer and Sausage Festival attracts visitors from far and wide, whilst locals take advantage of the fabulous Farmer’s Market held at the Market Cross on the second and fourth Saturday of the month.
Here you’ll find everything from locally baked cakes and rare breed organic pork products, to chilli sauces, chutneys and an amazing selection of cheese from Greens of Glastonbury.
If you’d rather relax and linger over a coffee, pop into The Old Bell Hotel next to the abbey - reputedly England’s oldest hotel; tempt your tastebuds to a tasty Italian meal at Europa & San Remo in Oxford Street, or venture a few miles down the road to the delightful Potting Shed in Crudwell, winner of the Wiltshire Pub of the Year in 2014.
For a real Michelin-starred treat, visit Marco Pierre White’s latest restaurant at The Rudloe Arms in Corsham, just 15 minutes drive away.