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Insider tips: Planning a trip to Salisbury

Thomas Dowson is the founder of Archaeology Travel, a website for those seeking adventures in archaeology and history. As a professional archaeologist Thomas enjoys visiting archaeological and historical sites around the world. On his blog, you can find more information and all the details for planning a trip to Salisbury.

What should I do on my first trip to Salisbury?

Salisbury is one of England’s designated Heritage Cities. So there is a lot to see for those who enjoy history. With England’s tallest spire, you will not be able to miss Salisbury Cathedral. England’s tallest spire houses the world’s oldest working clock. And you really should not miss getting up closer. On display in the Chapter House is one of four surviving copies of the 13th century Magna Carter. The Cathedral Close has a number of historic houses, including one that now houses the impressive Salisbury Museum.

What are some hidden gems to see in Salisbury?

St Thomas’ Church houses the largest and best preserved Doom Painting in the United Kingdom. Painted by an unnamed artist in 1470 and depicting the Last Judgement, it was covered in the early 16th century during the Reformation. This extraordinarily detailed painting was not seen again until 1819 and not uncovered fully until 1881. In 2019 Salisbury’s Doom Painting was fully restored, and is on display free, for all to see.

How much time should I spend in Salisbury?

Two days in Salisbury would give most visitors enough time to see a lot that this historic city has to offer. Besides the cathedral, there is the Iron Age and medieval site of Old Sarum on the edge of the city, and the world famous stone circle, Stonehenge, that is not even half an hour from the city centre.

What is the best way to get around Salisbury?

Salisbury is not a very big city. So getting about is very easily done on foot. Even Old Sarum is a pleasant walk from the city centre, at around 40 minutes. Stonehenge, on the other hand, is a bit further out. For those without a car, and not wanting a 3 hour hike, there is public transport from the city centre to the prehistoric stone circle.

What are the best months to visit Salisbury?

Salisbury has a charm of its own throughout the year. But for me, my favourite time to visit Salisbury, as with much of southern England, is spring into early summer, from April to June. That said, on a crisp autumn day the autumnal colours of the trees set against a bright blue sky make October a very close second.

What is neighborhood Salisbury known for?

Not a neighbourhood as such, but Cathedral Close and the area around the cathedral is the historic centre of Salisbury. The Close itself has a number of historic properties, in which a number of Salisbury’s more famous residents have lived. For example, the late Sir Edward Heath - a former British Prime Minister. This is also a wonderful, quiet space to escape the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Salisbury?

Salisbury Cathedral is not just for adults, but children enjoy exploring it too. Besides a walk around the vast church, on offer for the whole family are guided tours up into the church tower. Climbing up into the roof space with its 13th century wooden beams is an adventure itself. Here children are fascinated by the medieval graffiti and being able to stare into England’s tallest spire.

Frequently asked questions about Salisbury

What top attractions are a must-see in Salisbury?

The must-see attractions in Salisbury are:

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What are the top things to do in Salisbury this week?

Which tours in Salisbury are taking additional COVID-19 precautions?

These experiences in Salisbury are taking additional COVID-19 precautions:

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Other Sightseeing Options in Salisbury

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What people are saying about Salisbury

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 2,272 reviews

Amazing, the visitor site was clean light and open the staff are very friendly and helpful. I have a problem with my left leg so the shuttle buses were a welcome relief as the walk is approximately 30 minutes. The walk around the stones gave different views and the walkway so that you could get closer was great. I wish I had gone at a time when you were able to touch the stones as I’m aware that the temperature of each stone is different. I was not aware that you are able to take dogs though they cannot go in the inner area, which in a way defeats going unless one holds the dog whilst the other spend the time within the area to view the stones. The museum was extremely interesting and I was amazed at what I learnt , not just about Stonehenge but about the time line of other historic sites, the date of Michu pitchu was a surprise. The gift shop sold alot of interesting gifts and souvenirs not just about Stonehenge, there was something for everyone and good value.

Definitely worth a visit. Easy to park, free parking if already purchased a ticket in advance. We walked rather than taking the bus. Nice walk. We'll organised and maintained. Nice facilities and interesting exhibition

Perfect day out for the last minute traveller ….. We felt a true realism that with all the troubles today it’s not that bad ….. We all have it too easy compared to our ancestors…….

Bruce was great! Knows many things and very personable. I was disappointed that the Salisbury portion was cut out, but it was a full complete day regardless.

Stonehenge was on my bucket list. And I wasn’t disappointed enjoyed every moment. Would throughly recommend.