Hinton Lodge

Lodge Exploits

For a number of years we have run a little "Red Book" for our guests to share their exploits and fun experiences whilst staying at Hinton Lodge. Things like days out, walks, attractions, what to do, what not to do, etc. All the comments have been copied totally verbatim.

We have decided to include them on the website to give you some ideas prior to your trip of the delights that Hinton Lodge could offer if you decided to come and stay there. Each section includes a range of comments from our guests who all added bits to it. Transcribed below are verbatim quotes as seen in our "Red Book", in other words it is a bit like a "blog", but it was done in a “hard copy” format and transcribed.

Salisbury Plain

(10 minutes away)

“The hills in front of the Lodge are Salisbury Plain! It is a military zone but the

Perimeter Road
is generally used by the locals. The views are great, the landscape is different and if you have a 4x4 now is your chance to explore its potential! but you will also be fine in a normal car.

The road from Westbury to Market Lavington has numerous roads and tracks that go up to the Plain and meet the

Perimeter Road

Above Bratton, you can access the White Horse and the local beauty spot, the rest is more isolated. Just West of the White Horse is a deep, deep chalk pit which provides the cement works with chalk. You would not know it, but it is there behind a hedge – definitely worth a look.

Stray off the Perimeter road at your peril. The interior is definitely out of bounds except for a couple of weeks in the summer and on occasional Bank Holidays when you can visit ImberVillage, a ghost town. “


(45 minutes away) - A350, A303 well signposted

"Fantastic lake with lots of grottos, temples all around. Good gravel track makes it suitable for pushchairs and toddlers.

If you like walking, you can park at King Alfreds tower and get in via a public footpath and OS map."

"Beautiful garden, nice views and lots of different Rhododendrons in different colours. The house is also very lovely with lots of men and women who can tell you everything about the house and family. When you visit the house, don't forget the family picture book in the Italian Room. There is a nice picture of Audrey Moore, the heir that lives there now."

"Just up the road from Stourhead, visit King Alfred’s Tower. The climb to the top (205 steps) is worth it. You get great views of 3 counties, Glastonbury Tor, some 15 miles away, is clearly visible on a clear day. It's said that on a clear day you can see Dunkery Beacon on Exmoor (52 miles away) so give it a go!"

"We visited in the pouring rain. Made good use of the Grottos and Temples to shelter in! Taking the longer footpath around the lake is recommended; we spent nearly 3 hours there and didn't even go in the house!"

“Lovely gardens, house and King Alfred’s tower closed on Thursday (Tower due to lack of staff) so ring in advance to check opening – worth it!”


(20 minutes)

"Great for kids of all ages. Picnics will let you enjoy the grounds more. Busy in the holidays. If you don't have a company car, you may like to save your window wipers and trim by staying out of the monkey enclosure in the safari park .....they are monkeys! "

"Fantastic days out, we had Longleat Passports, which allow more than one visit to the Estate but to each attraction once, so no need to jam everything into a single trip. Food pricey, so picnic recommended. Ice creams are tasty though! Passport at £19 for an adult and £15 for a child, lasts the entire season."

"Brilliant! We'd recommend buying a Passport Ticket that allows you to go back over the course of your stay. It took us two days to visit all the attractions. It cost £72 which sounds expensive but in fact is very good value considering how much there is to see and do. Safari Park (watch out for monkeys - the car in front had bikes attached and we watched one monkey completely shred the seats!) Boat Safari, adventure park, house, gardens, .... FAB!"

"One of the reasons we chose to stay here was to re-visit Longleat. We again split the trip over 2 days and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. "

"Excellent day, picnic or buy food although expensive to eat there."

“Great day out. Under 3’s go free. So much to see and do.”

“Excellent, food much better at cellar café, same price as rest £4.50 Kids + drink, £7.50 adult, but home cooked family fares so good value. Kids passport tickets have extra kids things on adventure castle, postman pat etc. we nearly missed it so check. Took us 2 days to do it all but enjoyed by all.”

“Longleat passes are a great way to enjoy all the attractions for a single ticket price. Our son realised a dream and was allowed to hold a live tarantula! Longleat remains a fantastic choice for kids and its success and the TV has left it and its staff unaltered.”

Practical tips

"For early morning papers, even on Sunday, the BP garage on the outskirts of Trowbridge was open at 7.30. Follow directions in property information towards Tesco. Also re-cycling facilities at Tesco."

“Tesco’s in Trowbridge & Sainsbury’s in Melksham close at 4pm Sundays. Tesco Express in Trowbridge open although limited selection available.”


"Footpaths are generally signposted clearly. The bridleway opposite the Lodge is very overgrown for about 100 yards, but not impassable. Seems to be a sunken road."

"Watch out for the bull! I went for a short walk and stood face to face with a bull. Luckily there was a fence between us and the bull was talking to his girlfriend the cow at the left fence. (I was on the bridleway). "

"Walked down lane to Steeple Ashton (the church can be seen from the front of Hinton Lodge). Very pretty village whose church looks more like a cathedral close to. Pretty little green has the old village lock up on it. There is also a pub and a village store. We tried walking back over the fields, following the White Horse Trail for a while, then cutting across other footpaths to come out on the lane just below Hinton Lodge. Paths very badly marked and do not appear to be used much. Only achieved this by using OS map from their Explorer Series and map reading. DO NOT ATTEMPT WITHOUT AS COULD EASILY GET LOST. "

Pubs and Eating Places

The Lamb on the Strand - "a bit noisy on the main road." "Good quality simple food at reasonable prices. Open on Mondays (not much else is!)"

The Well in Bulkington

The Raven at Poulshot

No pub in the pretty village of Keevil

The Beef and Barge at Bradford-on-Avon - "average food but good play area and view of canal marina"

Black Horse near Seend - view of the canal

Barge Inn in Seend Cleeve - "on the canal, really marvellous position, atmosphere and food"

The Longs Arms in Steeple Ashton - "nice food." “Great. Recently employed new chef and meals were fab, very accommodating with children and friendly staff. Tuesdays they have ‘fish and chips takeaway’.” “Really family friendly – didn’t eat there as a little late for us; 6.30pm opening that goes for all pubs, but lovely and large enclosed garden with play things for kids.” “Superb Xmas Eve lunch. Lovely old pub, great atmosphere, real ales and very good food. Well worth a visit.”

The Bistro in Devizes - "if you like organic/healthy eating, it's very nice. Food is excellent and very pleasant surroundings. Just off the High Street. "

Franco's Italian on the High Street in Devizes - "very good and authentic"

The Lock Inn in Bradford on Avon – “Pub grub at a great price on the canal side. Great fun for kids at the ‘Barn’ next door.”

Stone Circles and Other Heritage Sites

"Avebury village for great circle of stones, afterwards walk from visitors car park across road to Silbury Hill - 1 mile - fenced level path. Take left fork when path divides to view hill from view point just off road. Then walk up road to footpath leading to West Kennet Long Barrow - at top of hill with spectacular views. Unusually, you can walk inside the Barrow and see the burial chambers - spooky!"

"We visited the KeilerMuseum and the gardens of Avebury House - which were lovely. Especially good value as National Trust Members. Spent 5 hours there! The place to visit for history and walking. Young kids might not be interested. "

"Avebury stone circle - Fab! AveburyVillage - Fab! Avebury museum - Fab! Avebury Manor and garden - beautiful but watch out for National Trust Tennant - she would be more suited to life in a gingerbread house surrounded by dark and threatening forests, she really REALLY doesn't like children, no matter how well behaved they are!"

"Reasonable for a short visit, but NT car park costs £5, so bring plenty of change. Thought that was too pricey. Catering very restricted. Only at NT restaurant and a pub which didn't have a terribly varied menu = bit 'faffy' menu. Don't go there expecting too many places for refreshment. The museum in the village costs another fiver, so didn't bother to go in."

"Impressive large circle, with lots of stones missing, but the gaps have been filled in with concrete blocks as to give you an impression of the size. Parking is GBP 5, but entrance to the stone circle is free. One can wonder around the stones, between the grazing sheep. Although it had good reviews, we did not do the museum. From the parking lot (looking toward the entrance of the parking lot) one can see Silbury Hill, the largest man made hill in the prehistoric times in the world. Also do not miss out some of the Wiltshire White horses on the slopes of some of the mountains (near Cherhill, looking towards the South) and near Alton Barnes). Carvings of many 10s of meters larger, in the white chalk of the hills."


"Stonehenge/Salisbury/Old Sarum also make a great day out."

"Stonehenge made a big impression, but lots and lots of people on Saturday! A lot is also explained in the WiltshireHeritageMuseum in Devizes. We went there on Sunday and the entrance was free. (don't know if that is the case every Sunday). "

"As one would imaging one of the most visited sites in the neighbourhood. We went to Avebury stone circle first, before visiting Stonehenge. Parking at Stonehenge is free, but tickets are GBP 7.5 each. However, this includes an audio guide which adds a lot to the experience. The stories are very nicely done, and one picks up much more than otherwise from walking around these standing stones. In the vicinity, just north of Amesbury, one finds Woodhenge, a wooden version of Stonehenge."

Wookey Hole and Caves

near Shepton Mallet and Wells

"About 1 1/4 hour drive but it was raining so it didn't matter! Good for 1/2 day entertainment, the children loved it. Followed on to Wells which is a lovely old city to look around. Cathedral is beautiful. "

Wiltshire Heritage Museum

Devizes (Long Street and Georgian town houses)

"This museum has been 'designated' as having an outstanding collection. They have a large collection built up covering the Archaeology, recent history, natural history and out of Wiltshire. There is also a shop containing beautiful stones and fossils for £1 each for children or adult's collections."

The City of Bath

"Too much to see for one day! Nice shops, the Jane Austen Centre, the Roman Baths, the Circus, the Assembly Rooms and the Museum of Costume".

"Excellent day lots to see. Tour Bus, good way, hop on and off. "

"Took Southern Park and Ride, easy to use, £2.20 per person. Chose to visit Roman Baths (£10 each), very interesting, although busy with school trips. Decided to spend rest of day visiting sights which did not cost us anything. And were fortunate to find a film crew at the Crescent, filming a costume drama which gave it great atmosphere. In the same area we saw the Circus and visited the Botanic Gardens in Victoria Park (which were still in good order in autumn). The PultneyBridge is worth a look with shops on both sides, walk along the river and the weir is spectacular. There are many fine flower displays around the city. "

"Our boys enjoyed the Roman Baths, it was £24 for a family ticket and it kept us happy and dry for a couple of hours on a very wet afternoon. The Abbey is worth a visit and the only ask for donations so you can pay what you can afford! Lots of nice eating places. "

"Used Park and Ride, excellent. Some years since last visited but still a favourite City. Abbey stunning as before. Roman Baths very well organised and the audio aids a great help particularly for our 6 year old. Lovely lunch in the Pump Room, but a little expensive. 'Putting" in the afternoon (well, crazy golf now). Good fun despite the queues!"

“A superb place to eat is Martini – an Italian. Just around the corner from museum. Friendly and family more than welcome! Park in

Charlotte St
car park and there’s a superb, in fact, the best ever park for kids – so much to do & there’s even something for ALL ages! Well worth the visit just for the park! Head west from the car park for the park.”

“If you would like a guided walking tour of the beautiful city of Bath, filled with historical narrative and informed commentary, then don’t take the Bizarre Bath tour. On the other hand, if you want to have a hilariously good time seeing Bath in a whole new way, then join this tour at The Huntsman Inn at 8pm any night. Bizarre Bath is a delightful mixture of both comedy and magic. Although there were some bits that may be upsetting to young children, our 3 year old and 6 year old loved it, as did we. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!”

"Great city, relatively easy to walk from one side to the other - we parked near the Southgate bus station and walked via the Roman Baths and the Abbey to

Royal Crescent
and back. Visit of Roman Baths is a must – even for families with children. The Museum and exhibition is very nicely done, and one could easily spend couple of hours here. Also good for a rainy day as most of the exhibition is indoors. We also visited the Abbey and then walked to The Circus (spectacular view) and
Royal Crescent

The Jane Austen Centre

40 Gay Street, Bath, BA1 2NT, 01225

"A lot of information of her life during the time that she lived in Bath. Nice shop (with all her books at variety of prices) and costumes, film and old furniture in the museum. You can also have something to drink at the top floor."

The Roman Baths

"You don't see it outside Bath, it is quite big! The audio guide is included with the entrance price in several languages, lovely!"

The Circus

"Nice to walk around, seen in many costume movies".

The Museum of Costume

"Real costumes from the olden days in silk with beautiful paintings. Here is also an audio guide available. Really great for costume lovers!"

The FashionMuseum

“Fashion museum takes about 1-11/2 hours to do. Good for kids as they can try on outfits and design their own outfits (colouring corner). Not sure it’s worth the £7 admit fee?”


"Salisbury is a nice town with lots of nice shops (for gifts, cards, etc. ) You can also visit a number of historical sites like Salisbury Cathedral. I especially liked Dinghams Cookshop on

20 Market Place
. They have everything Nigella Lawson ever dreamt of (and me!)"

“Great park for a play and to feed the ducks – Queen Elizabeth gardens. You can park there – it’s a pay & display, and you can still walk into the town centre from there.”

“Salisbury was well worth a visit, our soon loved to see the fish and the swans by the Millstream Car Park. The shopping Centre was well equipped for those seeking retail therapy as well as taking in the cathedral.”

Salisbury Cathedral

"Very big church with a lot of saints and important people buried there. I liked the capitel of Saint Michael the Archangel."

"Beautiful, the walkthrough guide is well worth buying for the Cathedral."

Bowood House

near Calne - approx. 20 minute drive

"Really good day out for a family. Cost £7.50 per adult and children under 2 free. We took a picnic and really enjoyed the grounds and adventure playground with our 15 month old. House was really interesting and exhibits were well set out including Napoleons death mask!! You can go in the house with a buggy but most of the good exhibits are upstairs, so we left ours with the guide on the door and really enjoyed the property."

"Family ticket £23.20, excellent value. This garden has some of the most beautiful trees I've seen. Great play park for kids."

"Thoroughly enjoyed our visit, spent two hours in the house and had excellent lunch in 'Lansdowne Arms' pub on A4 on corner of the road leading to Bowood House. The under 12's will love the Bowood Adventure Playground."


"Very beautiful little town with lots of lovely places to eat. 'Bridge' is an award winning coffee shop but we were not allowed in with our pushchair so went to the Fair-trade Organic Cafe instead. Gorgeous food reasonably priced and a pleasant courtyard more suited to a toddler!"

"The Lock Inn Cafe is a great family friendly place to eat on the Canal side. We spent just £12 for 3 meals and accompanying drinks. You can also hire bikes, trailers , etc. to ride along the towpath - £7 adult (3 hours), £3 for a child seat. Lots to see nearby with BartonFarmPark for the kids and Tithe Barne and other selling crafts arts and handmade oak furniture. All in all this combined with the quaint roads and curiosity shops in the centre makes for a great family day out. It kept our 3 year old amused."

"Tithe Barn impressive. If you like walking, walk from there along Avon to Avonbridge where you will find an aquaduct carrying the Kennet and AvonCanal over the river. We then walked back along the canal."

"Can hire bikes here and cycle along Kennet and AvonCanal, we went to Bath. A lovely run (11 miles each way to Bath Centre) but need to allow 1 1/2 hours each way to avoid rushing!"

Caen Hill Locks

"Worth a visit, although you would not spend all day there. Car park £1 for all day, can walk lots of different routes from there. The 'staircase' of 29 locks is a magnificent engineering feat. You can also walk in to Devizes."

"Really enjoyable day. Can walk from the car park, up to DevizesWharf and return and walk to the bottom. Highly enjoyable on a fine day. There's a good cafe not far from the car park which serves excellent refreshments, clean toilets as well! Leisurely walk took 3 1/2 hours with stops. "


"Nice historic village, owned by National Trust. One easy to use car park - short walk into village. Lots to see and do. Walk round village - unchanged for centuries. Bakery has lovely bread and pasties. See the PackhorseBridge and Ford. If not NT members, you need to pay for car park and entry to the Fox-Talbot PhotographicMuseum (interesting) and the Abbey (House, Cloisters and Grounds). All in all a good day out."

"Lovely village, mentally remove the residents' cars and you can see why they would film there. However do note that the Abbey Rooms (ie. the House) are closed on Tuesdays. Everything else open and still worthy of a visit but..."

"Still a lovely place but we returned to have our 25th anniversary lunch at the 'Sign of the Angel', still a good reason to return. Warning, keep your wife out of the jewellers."

"Children enjoyed as film location for Harry Potter."

"Try to go to Lacock before 10am, you will have an enjoyable crowd free stay. Good bakery."

“Shame about all the cars as it’s a wonderful site – maybe they could pedestrianise?? Our son spent the time trying to identify which parts had been in Harry Potter, whilst I loved the ford and the jewellers!!”

" Lacock village is nice, but not as spectacular as Castle Coombe since a lot of the atmosphere is ruined by the cars parked all over the place. The abbey is beautiful (especially the cloisters where some of the Harry Potter scenes were shot) and the rooms inside give a good impression of life in the old days. We had a wonderful time in a room with some old costumes that we did put on and made pictures of us, going back in time."

Castle Coombe

"Park in new car park at the top of the hill and walk down (long haul back if infirm, very young or unfit!). Village very pretty, but shame some streets private as owned by a hotel. Apart from a couple of pubs and a shop there is not much to do there for families. Could walk around valley on 2 1/2 mile walk recommended by the AA. Still worth a short visit if in the area."

"You might be lucky and find parking at the bottom of the hill, also near toilets over the bridge."

The CourtsGardens

National Trust - in Holt

"Well worth going to if you like gardens. A good mix of formal gardens and more informal arboretum. We found two little cats who followed us around and were entertaining."

"Small, compact and calm. There can be long waits for tables in the small restaurant and they don't take cards! We had excellent food there however. Privately run with strawboated Mr 'Owner' Front-of-house with his lady as Chef and very much in charge. Only she, for example, could slice a cake (in the dessert cabinet) and as she was due for a break it was touch and go if our six year old could have some! He did, a very large slice and delicious."

Farleigh HungerfordCastle

English Heritage

"Only about 4 miles west of Bradford-on-Avon. Small enough that you would not get bored but interesting all the same."

Bristol Zoo

"About an hours drive but well worth the visit, rain or shine, you will get a good day out for around £30 for 2 adults and 2 children. The food is not much so take a picnic if the weather is fine."


"Journey disrupted by closure of 371, but made it to and fro. The clean, cream Abbey very impressive and similarly the BishopsPalace. The Town? Hmmm! We found the streets off the main square rather grotty and with too many of the unkempt and unwashed with dogs on string leads plodding the pavements or slumped around. "

"On a very rainy day we went to Wells – takes about 1 hr to get there; nice ride through the countryside. The Cathedral is magnificent (façade of almost 50m wide, with 300 statues) and we were lucky to see the rehearsal of a choir. Do not miss the ancient clock inside the Church and notice the knights chasing each other every 15 minutes."


"Mendip Steam Railway takes about 30 minutes to get there. Would make a good 1/2 day out on the steam days. The cafe ok for what it is."

Cheddar Gorge and Caves

"Well worth a visit. We didn't go down the caves as the weather was too nice (in November!). but did a very pleasant circular walk round the gorge. You have to pay to go up the right-hand side of the gorge (looking up the valley) but the other side is free NT access. Lots of local cheese and cider to taste and buy in the village."

“Superb day out. Lovely village with lots to do – more than caves! There’s a museum, walks, tour buses. The drive to the caves is wonderful, Jo took lots of camera film!! Riverside pub at the end of the village is a great place to eat – and once again family friendly. Don’t forget to buy your cheddar cheese after visiting the cheddar cheese museum and the shop next door sells Legbender Cider!”

"On a rainy day we went to the Cheddar Gorge (and visited Wells first, as the two locations are only 15 minutes apart). The Gorge is nice, with a road winding through it for couple of miles. Did not visit a cave, but did buy some Cheddar at the only cheese making company there. Lots of small shops give it a very commercial flavour – nice, but certainly not spectacular."

Shepton Mallet

"Nice stop on way to Cheddar. Pleasant market town (had market on Friday when we were there). 'Peppers' deli and cafe lower end of the

Market Square
had delicious light lunches and cakes at reasonable prices."

Fleet AirarmMuseum


"Very interesting, do not miss the 'Aircraft Carrier Experience!'. Combine this with the HaynesInternationalMotorMuseum, nearby at Sparkford, for a good day out. Food available in both museums. "

Butterfly World


“Great half-day entertainment. Walk around the tropical gardens amongst the butterflies or sit and watch the wonderful animals. There’s an outside bit full of goats, chickens, birds and rabbits. There’s a fun play area for the kids which is superb and very organised. There are many craft shops including paint your own pots; make your own necklaces etc. You could even get a family photo done!”

Swindon Outlet Centre

“Good place if you like your designer labels. E.g. Pink, Jagger, Henry Lloyd etc…”

Montacute House

National Trust Somerset

“Lovely house and gardens. Staff really helpful, national portrait gallery display there. About 45 mins- 1hr drive.”

Infantry Weapons Collections

UK Lands Forces, Warminster

“Follow signs for ‘Military traffic’, then take entrance gate “UK Land Forces’. You need to book in advance and bring photo driving licence ID. Curator led tour of largest collection of small arms in UK. All weapons are ‘active’ as it is also an armoury. Many items can be handled. Collection dates development of ornament technology over several centuries. Free admission BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Children friendly.”

“Tuesday – Thursday 9.30 – 16.30, 01985 222487 or email: regsec@sasc-comrades.org or visit: http://www.infantry-weapons.org

Bannerdown Gliding Club

RAF Keevil

“Only 2 miles away through Steeple Ashton, weekend gliding lessons and rides give wonderful views of countryside. Club is operated by RAF Gliding Association and open at weekends only. Visitors welcome.”


Watchet, West Somerset

“It took us around two hours to drive down to Tropiquaria but it was well worth it. Our Son got up close and personal with snakes, spiders and lizards. It has a fantastic pirate ship play yard as well as an indoor play area. The puppet show is a must and don’t forget the meerkats, otters, marmosets and lots more. The café is reasonably priced and gives large portions. A cuppa is £1! For a family of 4 it is £25 and you can stay all day. Well worth the journey!”

Guest Comments

"Wonderfully cosy cottage with everything you could possibly need to ensure a relaxing break. Lovely location with so much to do nearby. Wanted to stay longer. Thank you so much for an enjoyable break."
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