Monday, 4 Dec 2023

The magical ancient tower that offers unspoilt views of three counties

An ancient tower offers stunning views across three UK counties if you can cope with the “thigh-burn from the 205 steps”.

Owned by the National Trust, King Alfred’s Tower boasts its pretty little spiral staircase of 205 steps that visitors can clamber up to get a taste of the fresh air.

The quaint tower is situated right on the edge of Somerset, with Wiltshire and Dorset firmly in sight.

Standing at 59m tall, the popular landmark is officially a “high folly”, according to Wiltshire Live. This means that it was built purely to “enhance the natural landscape”.

Built in 1722, the triangular tower was designed by Henry Flitcroft to commemorate the accession of King George III in 1760 and the end of the Seven Years War three years later.

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The area was the scene of a dramatic fight in 870 where King Alfred battled off Danish invaders after he raised his standard.

The historic landmark has garnered some impressive reviews on Tripadvisor, scoring 4 out of 5 stars out of 53 reviews.

Lizpop from Crewkerne described the experience as having “amazing views from the top even on a hazy day”.

They said: “Well worth the thigh-burn from the 205 steps! Lovely staff who were happy to answer our questions.”

Meanwhile Toby C described it as “kinda scary on those spiral stairs”, adding “if you fell I can’t see any way to stop until you reach the bottom”.

He went on to say: “Yeah I hate heights, they could probably fit a lift into the middle as it’s hollow inside so that would help.”

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The very English tourist destination was also visited by Ismael from Azerbaijan, who had kind words to say in his 5 out of 5 review.

Titled “hidden weird gem”, he described the tower as “very special, looking a bit weird, but still worth visiting”.

As well as the tower, visitors can enjoy the wildflower meadow that surrounds the structure. Roe deer can often be seen in the woods nearby, especially at dusk and dawn.

Reaching the monument is easy by car. It is a 3-mile drive from Stourhead and there is a small car park a short walk from King Alfred’s Tower.

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