When my husband suggested that we see the white horses in Wiltshire, I assumed these were beautiful animals. He explained to me that they were actually made of chalk on the side of hills. I was curious and felt like I needed to see them for myself.
In 2018, we planned a weekend trip to find all the white horses. Let me tell you why it was worth the trip and give you details on the best spots to see these white horses in Wiltshire.
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- About the Wiltshire White Horses
- White Horse Trail in Wiltshire
- Visiting the White Horses of Wiltshire by Car
- White Horses of Wiltshire Map
- Details for the White Horses in Wiltshire
- White Horse Pubs
- Other Things to Do in Wiltshire
- Where to Stay in Wiltshire
- Other Hillside Chalk Artwork in England
- Expert Tips for Seeing White Horses in Wiltshire
About the Wiltshire White Horses
There have been 13 white chalk horses carved in the hills of Wiltshire, but now only 8 are still visible. The ones that you can’t see may still be there just covered over by grass. You might think these White Horses are ancient, but in fact none of the ones still visible in Wiltshire are more than 300 years old.
White Horse Trail in Wiltshire
If you are up to it, there is a hiking trail that goes to the 8 different White Horses appropriately named the White Horse Trail. The trail goes through Pewsey, Marlborough, Broad Town, Cherhill, Devizes, Steeple Ashton, and Bratton and passes by some of the other historic sights in the area. It covers 90 miles and can be walked in either direction.
Detailed directions for the hike can be downloaded for free here.
Visiting the White Horses of Wiltshire by Car
In my opinion, the best way to see Wiltshire’s White Horses is a little road trip. Keep in mind, some of the horses are off of single track roads, so you need someone to drive that is comfortable with typical UK country roads.
All the White Horses are free to visit, so it could be a fun and budget-friendly road trip. You might find our guide to packing and preparing for a road trip helpful.
Some horses you will be able to see from the road while others you will need to get out and hike to. Even some of the ones that you can see from the road, have optional hikes (or short walks) to get closer. Be sure to bring some walking shoes!
We used our drone to take photos of the white chalk horses, but this was back in 2018. Please check the latest drone rules before you fly your drone as things are constantly changing. Grab our free drone user checklist here to prepare for your flight.
White Horses of Wiltshire Map
Here is a map to give you a better idea of how the White Horses are spread around the county of Wiltshire. It is fun to visit all eight White Horses!
Details for the White Horses in Wiltshire
It’s not as easy as just using google maps to find the White Horses since not all of Wiltshire’s White Horses are easily visible from a main road. I wanted to share my thoughts on each of the white horses in Wiltshire, a bit of their history, and give you tips for finding them.
#1 Westbury White Horse
To me, the Westbury White Horse was the most impressive one we saw. It’s huge and I liked the style of the horse. Impressive, especially when you consider it was made in the late 17th century, making it the oldest White Horse in Wiltshire. There actually was a White Horse on this site before the one you see today, but not much is known about it.
You can see the horse when you drive on B3098/Bratton Road, but there is also a designated viewpoint off of Port Way. Park your car in the parking lot then it is a short walk to where you can see the horse. The views of the countryside are also worth noting. We took a short break and sat on the benches.
#2 Devizes White Horse
This is the newest White Horse on the trail as it was made for the millennium. It was designed by Peter Greed, who is from the area, and cut in 1999 with the help of 200 local people.
To get to this White Horse, turn on Folly Road from the A361. Keep to the right at the fork and the White Horse will be on the right. The road up to the Devizes White Horse was a bit rough. Once you get close, there are some parking spots along the road. Go through the kissing gate and you will see it.
#3 Cherhill White Horse
The Cherhill White Horse (sometimes called the Oldbury White Horse) is the second oldest in Wiltshire dating back to 1780. It was made under the guidance of Dr Christopher Alsop of Calne, who instructed the team of workers from a distance, using a megaphone. This horse inspired the design of the Alton Barnes White Horse.
Over time, the horse became faded and the outline needed to be re-cut. In 2002, the local Parish Council Cherhill horse oversaw the major restoration project which included moving 160 tons of fresh chalk to the top of the hill and packing it on to the horse. They also added wooden boarding to hold it in place. Now the Cherhill White Horse Restoration Group working together with a local scout group makes sure the horse is maintained by weeding and re-chalking it every two years.
It is located on the edge of Cherhill Down close to Oldbury Castle and the Lansdowne Monument, and about 3.5 miles from the town of Calne. You can see the horse from the A4.
#4 Broad Town White Horse
While there are various theories about who made this white horse and when, it is generally believed that It dates back to the 2nd half of the 19th century. In 1991, the Broad Town White Horse Restoration Society was formed to restore the horse and they have been taking care of it ever since.
The Broad Town White Horse measures 80 feet by 60 feet and stands on a steep slope above the Littletown farmhouse outside of Broad Town. While it has well defined edges, the chalk is not quite as white as some of the other horses.
The best view of the Broad Town Horse is from the farm track that leads from Chapel Lane to Littletown farmhouse. You can get a bit closer using the footpath from this track, but the steps up to the horse are very dangerous and should not be used. There are no designated parking places so you will need to find a spot on a road in Broad Town.
You can also get to the horse from footpaths at the top of the hill, but there is no parking. It is also visible from the B4041 and from the center of Broad Town. This is the most challenging White Horse to photograph, and unfortunately we were not able to get a good shot of it.
#5 Hackpen White Horse
It is believed that the Hackpen Horse was cut in 1838 to mark the coronation of Queen Victoria by Henry Eatwell, parish clerk of Broad Hinton and a local publican. Some people also think the expression “as different as chalk and cheese” refers to the land divided by Hackpen Hill. It sits between the high chalk downs and clay cattle country where cheese is made.
The Hackpen White Horse is 90 feet by 90 feet making it the only horse with square dimensions in England. Hackpen Hill is tall (600 feet), but has a more gentle slope than the other hills where you will find Wiltshire horses. They had to bank up the horse so that it was raised from the grass slightly to make it more visible.
If you want to see the Hackpen Horse, there are a few options. You can see it from the A361 between Avebury and Swindon at Broad Hinton or from the nearby B4041 road. Alternatively, there is room to park the car where the Ridgeway crosses the B4041 road. From there, use the footpath to walk down to the horse.
#6 Malborough White Horse
The Marlborough Horse is one of the smallest horses in Wiltshire, measuring 62 feet long and 47 feet high. It sits on the grounds of Marlborough College. The horse was designed by William Canning, a student, and was cut by a group of classmates in 1804.
The Malborough White Horse can be spotted easily from the A345 (Pewsey Road) right outside the town of Malborough. Unfortunately, there is no place to park along that road so if you want to get a closer look, you need to park in the town center and then walk a bit. Look for a path off the end of Granham Cl.
While you are in Malborough, be sure to stop in one of my favorite places, The Polly Tea Rooms. I love how nicely it is decorated and the full English breakfasts are delicious and reasonably priced.
#7 Pewsey White Horse
The Pewsey Horse we see today was cut by volunteers from Pewsey Fire Brigade in 1937 to commemorate the Coronation of George VI. They also cut the year above the horse, but that has disappeared. There was another horse from the 18th century on this site but it was lost before the current horse was made.
It is the smallest white horse in Wiltshire, measuring 35 feet by 67 feet on Pewsey Hill about 500 feet above sea level. While the Pewsey White Horse is cut on private land about a mile south of Pewsey Village, it is still accessible to visitors.
You get the best views of this white horse from the Pewsey to Everleigh road below Pewsey Hill. It can also be along the A345 near Pewsey Village. If you want to get closer, try to find a spot to park on the top of Pewsey Hill and walk along the footpath to the horse.
#8 Alton Barnes White Horse
Alton Barnes White Horse is the second largest horse in Wiltshire and believed to be modeled after the Cherhill White Horse. Local farmer Robert Pile commissioned the horse in 1812. John Thorne, an inn sign painter, was supported to design and cut the horse, but left with his advance money and employed local resident John Harvey to do the work instead.
It is located on Milk Hill, the highest point in Wiltshire near two Iron Age hill forts and the Adam’s Grave long barrow on Walker’s Hill. The horse is approximately 180 feet high and 160 feet long but may have been a bit bigger in the past.
Like the other horses, upkeep is required. Recently they used 150 tons of chalk brought in by helicopter to resurface it. Over the years, the shape has changed. The neck is now thinner and the eye is larger. Ears and lips have been added.
Locals enjoy celebrating this horse. There was a lantern parade for its 200th birthday. During some winter solstices, they have outlined it with candles. There have also been a few times when pranksters have turned it into a zebra for April Fools’ Day.
While you can see the Alton Brown White horse from the road between Boreham and Alton Brown, it is worth taking a walk to get closer. You can park at the Pewsey Down Car Park and walk on the footpath to reach the horse. There is a fence around the horse to prevent damage from wildlife, livestock, and tourists.
Bonus: Uffington White Horse
Technically the Uffington White Horse is located in Oxfordshire which is the next county over from Wiltshire, but it is too significant to not mention in this post. When I first saw it I wasn’t too impressed because it is a stick figure. Some people think in a way it looks like modern art, maybe something that Picasso would have designed.
When I learned it is by far the oldest white horse in Britain (dating back to sometime around 1000 BC), I changed my mind. It’s crazy to think that people have been working to keep the horse maintained all these years – otherwise the grass would be covering it.
You can see the Uffington White Horse from the B4507. If you want a closer look, then you can park at the White Horse Hill Car Park and walk towards it.
White Horse Pubs
White Horse is a common name for a British Pub. In some cases, towns may have a chalk white horse and a White Horse Pub. Be careful which one you choose in Google maps! It is easy to choose the wrong one, I know from experience!
Other Things to Do in Wiltshire
You might be surprised to know that there is actually a lot to see in Wiltshire in addition to the white horses. While you are in the area, you should also try to see:
- Stonehenge – The most famous ancient monument in the UK is definitely a must-visit, but be sure to book in advance as it is popular. Read more in our guide to visiting Stonehenge as it is not the only ancient monument in the area.
- Avebury – The Avebury Stone Circle is actually much bigger than the one in Stonehenge. There are also several other interesting ancient monuments nearby. Read more in our guide to Avebury.
- Salisbury – Salisbury is a picturesque city. You must see the famous Salisbury Cathedral, which has the tallest spire in Britain and a copy of the Magna Carta.
- Old Sarum – On top of a hill, you can visit the ruins of the earliest settlement of Salisbury, just two miles from the modern city. Get more information here.
If you plan on visiting Stonehenge, Avebury, and or Old Sarum, you might want to consider joining English Heritage to save on admission. Get more information here.
A weekend might not be enough! If you can, I would recommend spending more than a weekend in the area or plan on multiple trips. You will be surprised by how much there is to do here.
Where to Stay in Wiltshire
Since it’s not practical to see all the Wiltshire White Horses in one day and you want to see more of Wiltshire’s attractions, you may be wondering where you should spend the night. My favorite town in the area was Marlborough. There are several appealing accommodation options including:
- The Green Dragon – Located right on the High Street, it has family rooms, a restaurant, bar, a shared lounge and garden. While it’s an old property it has been modernized in a sympathetic and interesting way. Read reviews, check the price and availability here.
- The Old Chapel – This two-bedroom holiday home is a converted chapel. It has a well-equipped kitchen with a dishwasher and a microwave, a washing machine, a bathroom with a shower, and a sun terrace. Read reviews, check the price and availability here
Other Hillside Chalk Artwork in England
Wiltshire is not the only place in England where you can see chalk horses on hills. In some places, the subject won’t be a horse. Here are a few more chalk art pieces that you can still visit:
- Cerne Giant, Dorset
- Long Man of Wilmington, East Sussex
- Osmington White Horse, Dorset
- Kilburn White Horse, Yorkshire
What do you think of the White Horses? Would you be up for doing the White Horse trail hike or would you prefer to do a road trip like we did? Regardless of how you go about it, they are all worth seeing!
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Last Updated on January 23, 2024