There are two main reasons to visit Salisbury: the first is to see a beautiful historic town in the United Kingdom, and the second is to use it as a base for exploring the rest of the county of Wiltshire, and specifically Stonehenge, from there.
Undoubtedly, Salisbury has a long and illustrious history that began with the settlement of Old Sarum, which was only a few kilometres from the current city centre. Because Stonehenge is only a few kilometres away from Salisbury, it is reasonable to assume that the area was inhabited long before the arrival of the Romans.
Salisbury still has many medieval buildings, many of which are Tudor or from the 1700s, but it also has a thriving modern bar and restaurant scene. There are several guided walks available in Salisbury, which you can find here.
The Cathedral of Salisbury
The first thing to see is unquestionably the cathedral, which is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful churches in all of England, with a spire tower that rises to a height of 123 meters and is the highest point in all of England, making it visible for kilometres around. You can also get on it, and you can find out where to book a tour here.
The cathedral, which was built in 1200 in the early English Gothic style and is very ornate on the outside but rather austere on the inside, was built in the early English Gothic style and was completed in 1200. Do not miss the medieval tombs and a copy of the Magna Carta, which is one of only four remaining copies still existing, one of which is on display here. In addition, the cathedral is home to the world’s oldest working clock.
As is customary, Christopher Wren inspected the cathedral and discovered that the tower was suspended by 75 centimetres, that the slope was being monitored continuously and did not appear to be getting worse, and that the tower had been reinforced in any case. Additionally, take note of the surrounding structures, which date back to the Middle Ages as well as the cathedral.
Visit the Salisbury Museum, which houses the famous Stonehenge Archer, or the skeleton of a man who was discovered in a ditch near Stonehenge; among the bones is an arrow that was almost certainly used to kill him. It dates back to 100 BC, so it is not as old as Stonehenge, but it has always existed before the arrival of the Romans in Britain. The museum, which is located in the historic centre, frequently hosts interesting art and history exhibitions. It is well worth a visit.
While you’re there, you should also pay a visit to Mompesson House, which is located just behind the cathedral and is a patrician house from the 1700s, complete with period furniture and art objects.
And now, let’s take a stroll through Old Sarum and Wilton House.
In addition to the obligatory visit to Stonehenge with bus 8, which you will be passing through anyhow, you can also visit Old Sarum, which was the old part of Salisbury and where you will find the old Salisbury cathedral, which dates back to 1200!
This fort dates back to the Iron Age and was later used by the Romans and the Saxons. Following the Norman invasion, Old Sarum developed into a town, which was one of the most important in the area at the time.
Fu constructed the first proper cathedral in Great Britain in 1092, but Old Sarum was plagued by water problems, and the bishop of the time had a new cathedral built (the current one) a few kilometres away to alleviate the situation. When the cathedral was relocated in 1300, everyone relocated with it, and the old cathedral was demolished. Salisbury’s location on five rivers, which was a significant advantage in those days, is preserved in the current city.
In the surrounding area, you can also visit Wilton House, which has been the residence of the Earls of Pembrokes since 1542. The villa is worth visiting not only for the rooms designed by Inigo Jones, but also for the many objects of art and paintings by Rembrandt, Reynolds, and other notable artists.
The villa and its magnificent garden are frequently used for the filming of period films and dramas, such as adaptations of Jane Austen novels, among other things. From Salisbury, it is only a few miles away, and you can get there by taking bus number R3.
Is this a day trip from London?
Salisbury can be a day trip from London, but with all the things to see, if you include Stonehenge it is worth staying at least a weekend. You can take a train from Waterloo Station or a National Express bus from Victoria Coach Station.