Cricklade is a well-preserved example of an Alfred the Great, west Saxon town. Located on the upper reaches of the River Thames, it was initially developed as a walled town to defend against the Danes.
A pleasant little settlement, with many buildings of architectural and historic interest, including the attractive stone built Jenner School, in Bath Road. Founded by London Goldsmith and Member of Parliament for Cricklade, Robert Jenner, in 1652.
The town's wide High Street is lined with several good independent and specialty shops, pubs, eateries and hotels. An elaborate Jubilee clock stands outside the Vale Hotel, where a market cross once stood. It was erected in 1898, in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. In 2012, a Jubilee mosaic was added to the Saxon’s Rest community garden, to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.
The town has two historic churches. The Norman church of St Mary's and the magnificent Church of St Sampson, which boasts a richly adorned, four-pinnacled tower of 1553, that soars above the locality.
Lying just outside the Cotswolds 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty', Cricklade is surrounded by lovely countryside. The Thames Path National Trail runs through the town and the surrounding area is ideal for walking, riding and cycling. To the north is North Meadow, a 150 acre nature reserve that preserves most of Britain's wild Snake's Head Fritillaries.
From Cricklade you can walk to the former junction of the North Wilts Canal with the Thames and Severn navigation, near Latton. Also, about 3.5 miles west of the town is the pretty village of Ashton Keynes, where numerous little bridges span the Thames.
Cricklade has a good range of facilities and sites of interest for visitors, including free parking in the town centre. For more information download a copy of the village trail leaflet and use this to follow the town's key historic sites via a series of information boards.
A small local history museum that houses more than 10,000 historical artifacts, mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Opening times: see website for details
Location: 16 Calcutt Street Cricklade SN6 6BD.
Tel: 07453 766744
This National Nature Reserve is a lowland hay Meadow renowned for Snakeshead fritillaries and other wild flowers. The nearby De Vere Cotswold Water Park has 140 fresh water lakes, a natural haven for wildlife and a great place for bird watching.
Fritillaries in North Meadow (image by blueflamingo)
A collection of heritage steam and diesel locomotives and preserved rolling stock run by volunteers. There are passenger rides on certain Sundays and Bank Holidays, which run along 4km of the former Midland and South Western Junction Railway, from Cricklade to Swindon.
The museum at Blunsdon station covers the the history of the GWR and the M&SWJR. On display is an interesting collection of railwayana including guards' lamps, station clocks and signage.
Opening times: weekends and special event days - see website for details.
Location: Blunsdon Station, Tadpole Lane, Blundson, Swindon SN25 2DA
Tel: 01793 771615