Holiday cottages may be a fairly recent way of taking a break, but there have been plenty for visitors to do in Marlborough for centuries. They used to mint coins in Marlborough in Norman times. Things have moved on a bit since, but many visitors have left their architectural mark on this quintessential English market town. Tudor Kings hunted deer hereabouts – and today it is still possible for those staying in local self-catering homes to buy venison in the traditional butchers' shops in the town centre to serve for dinner.

The Georgians left the town with a fine heritage of splendid houses, coaching inns and a wide main street, one of the widest in the UK, which still hosts a traditional twice-weekly market and is lined with tearooms, restaurants, antique and galleries.

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    Things to do in the town include a trip to the Crofton Beam Engines; now some 200-years old they are still going strong and are a great hit with all the family. For lovers of historic houses, then don’t miss the Merchant’s House in the High Street which is being fully restored in 2013.

    If you’re looking for an active holiday that will incorporate riding, shooting, flying, or a round of golf then you’ll be spoiled for choice. And talking about being spoiled, you’ll not go hungry during your stay. Marlborough boasts an eclectic range of restaurants, traditional tea rooms, cafes, delicatessens and inns – hardly surprising for a town that developed as a principal coaching stop on the old A4 between London and the West Country.

    A splendid retail reputation goes hand-in-hand with the town’s food offerings, with an impressive mix of High Street names interspersed with lots of local shops – particularly where women’s fashion and accessories are concerned.

    Beyond Marlborough are some delightfully beautiful villages where you’ll find the menus and local ales at the local pub make for exceedingly long lunches. The Avebury Stone Circle is one of Europe’s largest stone circles. It’s not only arguably more impressive than its more famous neighbour at Stonehenge, but you can go right up to the stones and picnic in their midst. Take a day trip to Lacock and do the Village. Treasure Trail. You’ll recognise the village, as it’s one of the most regularly used locations in England for historical films and TV dramas. Alternatively, visit Highclere Castle near Newbury – a family owned castle and home of the fictional Downton Abbey. All in all, a self-catering holiday in Marlborough, whether with friends or the family, promises to create a lasting wealth of happy memories.