Devizes is lucky to have kept many small independent shops
offering a wide range of goods not found elsewhere – with service to match. Weekly general and collectors’ markets and regular farmers’ and continental markets bring added colour. The Market Place hosts many of the town’s coffee shops, restaurants, pubs, shops and the indoor market; more are to be found in the streets and alleys leading from the Brittox – the main pedestrian shopping street.
The town has 3 major attractions:-
- Wadworth’s Brewery is a landmark at the north end of the Market Place and their famous shire horses make daily deliveries in town. The brewery is independent and the ales may be sampled at their visitor centre where tours of the brewery and stables can be booked.
- Wiltshire Museum has new displays featuring Gold from the Time of Stonehenge. Rated one of the top 3 visitor attractions in Wiltshire on TripAdvisor, it has the best Bronze Age archaeology collection in England with much material from the World Heritage Sites of Avebury and Stonehenge. Spread over 5 buildings, the museum tells the story of Wiltshire and the town of Devizes. It features regularly in TV programmes and is open daily throughout most the year.
- Kennet and Avon Canal – including the spectacular Caen Hill flight of 29 locks leading up to Devizes was a major engineering feat when built at the end of the 18thC. In the town, the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Museum is on the Wharf overlooking the canal. It tells the tale of the construction, operation, closure and restoration of the canal. The tow path from the Wharf leads to the locks and provides excellent views of the countryside. Boat hire and trips on the canal are available in the summer.
The town has a fascinating history. It was founded in Norman times at the boundaries (the Latin ‘ad Divisas’) of surrounding villages, the town grew up around the castle. The outline of the town walls shows in the ‘D’ shape of the centre which retains its mediaeval street plan. The town is compact and, being on the level, easy to walk round. Some buildings survive from the 16thC including the renowned hat shop in St John’s Alley.
In the Civil War the town was the centre for the nearby Battle of Roundway Down and the castle demolished. Rebuilt in Victorian times as a residence it is now private flats. The town prospered in Georgian times when many of its finest buildings were erected. Today Devizes can boast nearly 500 listed buildings, probably the highest concentration anywhere in England.
The surrounding countryside offers stately homes, picturesque villages, great pubs, attractive waterways and fantastic walking and cycling in stunning scenery.
Devizes is a perfect centre for trips to Bath, Stonehenge, Avebury, Salisbury, Marlborough and Swindon.
Devizes is also the focal point for the surrounding villages of All Cannings, Bishops Cannings, Bromham, Easterton, Erlestoke, Etchilhampton, Great Cheverell, Little Cheverell, Market Lavington, Marston, Potterne, Poulshot, Roundway, Rowde, Seend, Stert, Urchfont, West Lavington, and Worton.
Information courtesy of Devizes Town Council, the Devizes Development Partnership (DDP), Devizes Comunity Area Partnership (DCAP) and the Devizes Area Tourism Partnership (DATP)