Journey to–and Around–Avebury 3: Dorwyn Manor B&B

As I’ve noted before, Avebury offers a limited number of guesthouses (it’s a World Heritage Site. Not much room for development to appease tourists). While surrounding towns such as Marlborough* and Swindon offer a greater variety of accommodation, you’ll find some wonderful Bed and Breakfasts in (or very near) the village. TripAdvisor has a helpful listing. However, please know that very few lodgings are actually in the village. If you’re not driving, be sure to check your preferred B&B’s proximity to the village and if it offers transport back and forth. A few guest houses are some distance from the village despite having an Avebury address, and several of them are on quite busy roads.

IMG_20170602_162841
Apologies for the wonky image. I’m surprised I did not take more than one tbh.

Based on TripAdvisor’s ratings, we reserved a room for one night at Dorwyn Manor. The house is just about half a mile from The Red Lion, but we had to ring them when we arrived because we were unsure of its exact location. A member of staff drove to pick us up.

As we’d just decided to stay a second day at Avebury, we were a bit anxious whether we’d be able to stay a second night (there are only about five rooms, and they are nearly always full up). Thankfully, we were able to add a second night just as we checked in.

20170602_210057
Partial view of the B&B’s garden

Our room (named for archeologist Alexander Keiller) was clean, comfortable, and quiet–fairly ideal for our needs. We slept very well indeed.

I must say that the family operating Dorwyn Manor were absolutely lovely. We found them kind, helpful, and eager to talk about Avebury and the surrounding area (including several spooky stories about the Red Lion’s alleged haunting). To be honest, I generally dislike B&Bs as I feel like I’m intruding on someone’s home. Mike and Debbie, however, went out of their way to make us feel welcome and at ease. It’s mostly because of they’re warmth that I’d like to recommend Dorwyn Manor, but I do so for a few other reasons:

20170602_210239
Across the garden on a misty eve
  1. Breakfast
    You have your choice of  continental and/or “Full English” (eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, tomato, mushroom, toast, etc). The cooked breakfast was easily the best I had in the UK this past trip. I usually avoid breakfast, but I had it both mornings at this B&B.
  2. Lunch
    The B & B offers a substantial packed lunch if you plan on spending the following day rambling through the countryside. Request your lunch the night before your adventure, and after breakfast you will receive a paper bag with water, a sandwich, fruit, crisps, and a sweet. It’s well worth the additional £ 5.00 (we actually had our packed lunches for dinner the evening after our walk).
  3. Dinner
    While the B&B doesn’t offer dinner, guests receive meal discounts at The Red Lion. Let Mike or Debbie know if you’ll be going into the village for dinner, and they will phone the pub to arrange your discount.
  4. Drinks
    A welcome drink on arrival. Plentiful supplies of water, tea, coffee, and biscuits in your room. Also, there’s an honor bar in the foyer.
  5. Heat and pressure
    The shower had more than enough hot water and pressure to ease aching muscles after a hard day’s trek over hill and through mud.
  6. Rides into town
    Staff at the B & B are happy to drive you to/from the Red Lion (the heart of the village). Because Dorwyn Manor is located on a fairly busy road, you need to walkon the verge for about 1/4 mile (the rest of the way has a pavement– part of itthrough the stones).  If you’re anxious about walking too close to traffic,  this courtesy is a godsend. Addendum: the traffic is not too awfully bad in the morning and in the evening. As long as it’s light out, you’ll be fine.

We truly enjoyed our stay at this Bed and Breakfast and thought it excellent value for money. We’ll definitely return.

*Recommendation for the Castle and Ball Hotel ( @castleandball on Twitter) in Marlborough. Beautiful 15th century building, lovely menu, great staff.

Advertisements

Journey to–and Around–Avebury

When we began planning our recent trip to Britiain, my travel partner expressed interest in visiting some of Wiltshire’s Neolithic sites. Originally, we anticipated spending two days at Salisbury / Stonehenge and one day at Avebury. Plans changed the moment we arrived at Avebury; it’s where we spent all of our time in Wiltshire

Of course you’re familiar with Stonehenge, but if you’re not familiar with Avebury (the largest Neolithic henge in Britiain) you might be interested in English Heritage’s introduction to Avebury and its history; you might also take a look at The National Trust’s Avebury site.

Stonehenge and Avebury, separated by just 26 miles, belong to the same Unesco World Heritage Site. Yet while Stonehenge is treated as a museum piece (most visitors are guided, at a distance, around the monument), Avebury’s megaliths remain completely accessible. You wander about them freely and can touch them. In fact, people live within the stone circle—centuries ago, a village cropped up in its center. The village pub seems to stand at the very center of the stone circle. Moreover, other significant Neolithic sites (including Silbury Hill and the West Kennett Long Barrow) lie within an easy walking distance to the village. Consequently, once we stepped off the Swindon-to-Avebury bus we decided that Stonehenge could wait for a different trip.

To detail our Avebury journey would take far too long for one post. Instead, I’ll break it up into several. In these other posts, I’ll touch on transportation, lodging, and rambling. In brief:

  1. Unless you are walking, cycling, or driving, Avebury is accessible only by a single bus route. (See this post for transportation information)
  2. There is a magnificent pub, The Red Lion, and there are a few guest houses in/near the village. We stayed at a wonderful B & B called Dorwyn Manor, which is approximately half a mile from the pub. (See this post about our B&B experience)
  3. You are encouraged to interact with the landscape and its monuments. You can peer into each stone’s divots, touch each megalith, and even clamber atop and nose within a 4,000 year old barrow.
  4. We spent a day exploring the area outside of the village. We did not bring a proper survey map, so we got lost more than once while traipsing about the landscape. Thankfully, other ramblers would appear and advise us on directions. Even so, Wiltshire is not so uninhabited that one can be lost for very long.

20170601_202609

I hope you enjoy these posts. If you have any questions or points you’d like to contribute, please feel free to let me know.

20170603_094909