The town developed around Devizes Castle, an 11th-century Norman castle, and received a charter in 1141 permitting regular markets, which are held weekly in an open market place. The castle was besieged during the Anarchy, a 12th-century civil war between Stephen of England and Empress Matilda, and again during the English Civil War when the Cavaliers (Royalists) lifted the siege during the Battle of Roundway Down. Devizes remained under Royalist control until 1645, when Oliver Cromwell attacked and forced the Royalists to surrender. The castle was destroyed in 1648 on the orders of Parliament, and today little remains of it.
From the 16th century Devizes became known for its textiles, and by the early 18th century it held the largest corn market in the West Country, constructing the Corn Exchange in 1857. In the 18th century, brewing, curing of tobacco, and snuff-making were established. The Wadworth Brewery was founded in the town in 1875.
Detailed information about public transport is available from the town website.
The town is about 10.5 miles (16.9 km) southeast of Chippenham and 11 miles (18 km) east-north-east of the county town of Trowbridge.
Every Easter, hundreds of canoeists set off from Devizes Wharf heading for the Thames at Westminster in the annual Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race.
- The Trans-Wiltshire Express (no.49) from Swindon via Avebury to Trowbridge
- From Bath via Melksham on the X272
- From Pewsey using the Connect 2 Wiltshire Service
Leave the M4 at Junction 15; take the A346 to Marlborough, then the A4 and the A361 to Devizes.
From Bristol via the M4
Leave the M4 at Junction 16 and take the A3102 and then A342 to Devizes via Calne.
From the South-East
Follow the M3 to Junction 8 and take the A303 and A342 via Ludgershall.
From the South
Follow the A350 to Semington and then the A361 to Devizes.
- 1 Wiltshire Museum, 41 Long Street (South of the Market Place), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su & Bank Holidays noon-4PM. Britain's best Bronze Age Archaeology collection displayed in new award-winning galleries. Includes finds from the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site. £5, £4 concessions, children under 16 free.
- 2 Kennet and Avon Canal. The canal runs through the town, with the spectacular flight of 26 locks at Caen Hill. At the Wharf in Devizes is the Canal Museum, with cafe and canal boat trips.
- 3 [formerly dead link] Wadworth Brewery Visitor Centre, Northgate Brewery, SN10 1JW, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su closed. Visit the brewery to find out how the famous 6X beer is brewed, see the sign-painting workshop and meet the Shire Horses that deliver beer to pubs in the town every morning.
- 4 Caen Hill Locks are 29 locks in three flights, lifting the canal 237 feet over 2 miles (75 m over 3.2 km). The middle flight is an impressive set of 16 straight up the hill. It takes a boat 5-6 hours to traverse the complete lock system.
- 5 Pewsey Heritage Centre, High St, Pewsey SN9 5AF, ☏ . Apr-Sept. This is the former Whatley Foundry, built around 1870, which made water wheels, pumps and mill gears.
- The Devizes International Street Festival attracts thousands of visitors to the town for two weeks leading up to August Bank Holiday each year, beginning with a long-standing "confetti battle" where, at a given signal – usually cannons firing confetti hundreds of metres into the air – the public are invited into the Market Place to throw as much confetti as possible at one another.
- The annual Devizes Arts Festival has a broad spectrum of musical events, poets and authors, literary talks, comedians and other performers.
- Each autumn, the Devizes Food & Drink Festival includes opportunities to dine in unusual places.
- Every Easter, hundreds of canoeists set off from Devizes Wharf heading for the Thames at Westminster in the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race.
There are over 70 independent retailers in the town centre, many around the Market Place, Little Brittox and Brittox (both pedestrianised), and in Sidmouth Street.
Wadworth has 13 pubs in the brewery town of Devizes including:
- 1 The Crown, 19 New Park St, SN10 1EA (Next to Wadworth Brewery), ☏ . W-Sa noon-10PM, Su noon-6PM, closed M Tu.
Pubs along the Kennet and Avon Canal:
- 2 The Bridge Inn, Horton Road, SN10 2JS (on the canal east of Devizes), ☏ . For food W-Sa noon-8PM, Su noon-4PM, closed M Tu. A canal-side pub, that specialises in food and serves Wadworth Beer.
- 1 Travelodge, London Rd, SN10 2HL, ☏ .
- 2 The Castle Hotel, New Park St, SN10 1DS, ☏ .
- 3 The Bear Hotel, 2-3 The Market Pl, SN10 1HS, ☏ .
- Devizes Area Tourism Partnership, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. General advice about visiting Devizes and the local area. Run by a volunteer group.
- Devizes Area Accommodation Providers, ☏ . Accommodation line to find somewhere to stay.
- Visit Stonehenge and Avebury and explore the wonderful Wiltshire landscape of the Vale of Pewsey
- Visit Lacock and Bradford-on-Avon on the way to Bath
- Follow the Prehistoric Wessex Trail