Salisbury: mystical city Ancient landmarks, idyllic vistas and a thriving culture scene give this vibrant city a romantic atmosphere. There are plenty of reasons to visit … (Article extracted from the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk)
Historical high points The only city in Wiltshire has an incredible heritage. In 1069, William the Conqueror built a wooden castle at Salisbury Hill, overlooking a small settlement with a mint and a market. In 1220, building work started on Salisbury Cathedral, a key part of our country’s history too. Its construction was masterminded by William Elias of Dereham, one of the key negotiators of the Magna Carta. You can find one of the finest preserved copies of the 1215 charter inside the gothic cathedral, as well as 332 steps up Britain’s tallest spire. After your tour of the building, take a trip to Salisbury Museum. The atmospheric Grade I-listed, 13th-century building houses a fine collection of prehistoric and medieval artefacts.
Ancient and mystical monuments Just beyond the compact city lies a magical prehistoric landscape. Explore it with the experts, Spire Travel, who offer luxury one-day tours. You’ll take in the Unesco world heritage site Avebury and Stonehenge, which was completed 3,500 years ago and is thought to have been a temple for worshipping the sun and the moon. The megalithic henge and stone circles, looked after by English Heritage, are considered to be the most important prehistoric earthworks in Europe. For an unforgettable experience, snap up limited camping places for the summer or winter solstice.
Green and pleasant land The ancient sites are surrounded by glorious Wiltshire countryside. Hudson’s Field, situated below the remains of the iron age hillfort Old Sarum, is ideal for walkers and kite-flyers. Further into the city, you can cycle or walk around the water meadows and river banks that captivated English Romantic painter John Constable from his first visit in 1811. There are three main parks to stroll through, as well as several open spaces. Alternatively, go on a romantic adventure through the area by VW campervan: Stonehenge Campervans have three to hire.
Cultural corners There’s a thriving arts scene in Salisbury and a strong theatre tradition that helped to launch the careers of household names such as Prunella Scales and Kenneth Williams. The Salisbury Playhouse is the south-west’s leading producing theatre, while one of this year’s cultural highlights will be the Salisbury international arts festival (24 May to 8 June). One high point is King Lear, which will be performed at 14th-century Old Wardour Castle in Tisbury, a historic village 13 miles from the city and the site of a bronze age settlement. Refresh en route in the local tearooms and bookshop, Beatons; they have 25 varieties of loose tea.
Shop, drink, then drop Thanks to its annual fair, Salisbury has been a shopping destination since 1075. Two current gems are the art and design studios at Fisherton Mill and the Cambridge Wine Merchants. As the city has been awarded a Purple Flag for the quality of its nightlife, head to The Chapel or The Cathedral Hotel for a cocktail before checking into your hotel. Luxury city-centre accommodation includes the Grade II-listed Milford Hall. Or try a more rural experience at Shepherds Hut at Marshwood Farm, Dinton, close to the city (pictured left).
Salisbury is well connected to the majority of the UK, by road via the A30 and M3, and by the city’s train station.
From London: 90 minutes by road, and one hour and 20 minutes on the train from Waterloo. Prices from £34.70 From Bristol: one hour and 10 minutes. Prices from £4 From Birmingham: two hours and 50 minutes. Prices from £28.50
We operate daily small group guided tours from London visit Salisbury Cathedral, Stonehenge and Avebury. Please visit our website for full details
The Small Group Tour Experts