Poor Salisbury has had a tough time since March, people have been asking me a lot about it and since its my home city I’ve never looked at it through a tourists’ eyes but have compiled a blog post about things to do and see in Salisbury and the surrounding areas of Wiltshire.
Firstly, Salisbury can probably be done in one day (max 2) there aren’t exactly a lot of sights but you can certainly spend more time in the county. You will need a car! Salisbury has a direct train link from London but to get to Stonehenge and other places its best to drive as buses are infrequent and you’ll have much more freedom for other excursions.
- Salisbury Cathedral:
Pretty surprised to find out that it’s the tallest church spire in Britain and is obviously famous for housing the best surviving copy of the Magna Carta. The foundation stone was laid in 1220 and was mostly built over the next 38 years which makes the style English Gothic. Sir Christopher Wren the architect (born in the area) also played a part in reinforcing the beams in 1668.
The Cathedral Close is a really nice area to wander around and have picnics etc. There are also loads of events held here throughout the year like Solstice Festivals and cinema screenings.
2. City of Salisbury
Salisbury is small but has everything you need with shops and places to eat. It’s one of the best preserved Medieval cities in England and I’d advise you to look up above the shop fronts to the higher parts of buildings to see this influence.
If you want those medieval vibes I’d highly recommend having a drink in The Haunch of Venison. A tiny wood-panelled pub that has loads of hideaways to relax in is one of my favourite things about Salisbury.
If you’re into Archeology then the Salisbury Museum has lots of talks and exhibitions about excavations around Old Sarum, the museum is in the Cathedral Close. Whilst there, you can also see Arundells (former home of Sir Edward Heath, Prime Minister) and Mompesson House from the 18th Century which has really nice walled gardens and art collections.
So Salisbury city is really suitable if you’re after a relaxed walk around and a drink by the river, if you’re after hard core nightlife and lots of sightseeing, keep going on the train to Bath or Bristol (blog posts to come).
I won’t go into much detail about Stonehenge but will tell you this, as I’ve had to burst quite a few bubbles in my time. You cannot touch the stones except on the Solstice festivals. You will be standing about 15feet away from the stones behind a rope cord in a field of sheep. Sorry. I’d encourage a visit though as you’ll be arguing constantly about the theories of how the stones got there and its good to walk around the Salisbury Plains when you’re done- might spot a tank or a helicopter demonstration.
Onto my two favourite places….
Can’t tell you how good Longleat is, I have such good memories of being there as a kid. Obviously, you should go on the safari, drive your car around as they have a really impressive and quite surprising range of animals to see- always told to beware the monkeys ripping your car apart but they didn’t do anything to mine. You can also feed the Red Deer from your car (they stink but its fun). Big cats and the wolves are pretty eerie to drive through but its exciting.
Going into the house grounds you have more animals like otters and penguins and also a great adventure playground for kids. The house has a really informative tour, it has a big history and used to be a hospital during both wars. There is also a Centre Parcs at Longleat so you can have a really good weekend here no matter what your age!.
5. Stourhead House and Gardens.
Probably figured out by now that activity in Wiltshire basically means visiting houses and gardens, I would normally not be enthused by this but Stourhead is hands down my favourite place to go in this area that I grew up in. I’m just going to show you pictures (free entry with a National Trust card).
So if you’re after a picturesque and quiet weekend in Wiltshire, you’ll have a nice time here.
More UK city blog posts coming soon.
Ciao for now x