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Reasons to Visit Salisbury, Wiltshire

Salisbury in Wiltshire is a stunning cathedral city primarily known for its fascinating history, but there are many more unforgettable reasons to visit for both short breaks and long holidays.

A modern medieval city, Salisbury has been a beacon for travellers, merchants and pilgrims since 1227. With its timber-framed buildings, world-famous historic sites and panoply of shops, attractions, restaurants and cafés, it continues to attract people from far and wide. Here are some of the top reasons to visit. 

The Architecture

Thanks to its position along the trade route from London to Exeter, Salisbury enjoyed an influx of wealthy merchants and traders during the Middle Ages who poured money into the city. These days, the city enjoys an architectural medley on every street. One particular timber-framed building, that now houses a popular clothing company, dates all the way back to 1306.  

The Shopping

From independent boutiques to quirky stores to world-famous tailors, there are all sorts of shopping experiences waiting to be had in Salisbury. Wander the streets and treat yourself to some retail therapy. Another highlight is the historic Charter Market, held in the heart of the city each Tuesday and Saturday. Dating back over 800 years, it’s a must-see in the city.

The Silver Screen

With its picture-perfect aesthetics, it’s no surprise that both Salisbury and its surrounds have been used as the backdrop for many films and TV series. Just some of the productions that have been filmed in the area include period dramas Bridgerton, Emma, The Crown and Pride and Prejudice, as well as family-friendly favourites Johnny English and Tomb Raider

The Cranborne Chase AONB 

Another reason to visit Salisbury is the city’s proximity to the Cranborne Chase AONB. With wild open spaces, sprawling chalk downland and chalk ridgeways, ancient woodlands and river valleys, it has something for everyone. Don a good pair of walking boots or hop on a bike and explore the area, discovering its many footpaths, trails and bridleways.

The Cathedral 

Salisbury Cathedral is the finest Medieval cathedral in the country and has been drawing worshippers and admirers since the 13th Century. Topped with the country’s tallest spire, it boasts many claims to fame including the oldest working mechanical clock in the world and the best-preserved copy of the Magna Carta in existence. 

The History 

As well as its stunning cathedral, one of the best reasons to visit Salisbury is for its fascinating history. The city is only a stone’s throw from the world-famous site of Stonehenge, one of the wonders of the world and the most famous prehistoric monument in Europe. It’s also a couple of miles from Old Sarum, the deserted remains of Salisbury’s first settlement. 

The Cathedral Close

The Cathedral Close around Salisbury Cathedral is the largest of its kind in Britain, covering more than 80 acres. As well as being a lovely place to wander, the Close is also great for its large number of museums and attractions, including The Salisbury Museum, the National Trust’s Mompesson House, the former home of Sir Edward Heath, and The Rifles Berkshire & Wiltshire Museum. 

The Food and Drink

One of the best things about Salisbury is the number and variety of places to eat. Whether you fancy a fine-dining experience, a wedge of cake in a cosy café, a refreshing drink in a local pub or a hearty traditional roast with all the trimmings – you’ve got it. Wiltshire in particular is also famed for its pork, Wiltshire Lardy Cake and cheeses, all of which can be sampled in Salisbury.

The Activities 

A place with multi-generational appeal, Salisbury has something for everyone. Among its eclectic array of activities, you’ll be able to choose from escape rooms, guided city tours, spa days, golfing, walking, go-karting, horse-riding and more. To really stretch your legs, you can also pick up the Avon Valley Path, a long-distance route leading from Salisbury to the coast. 

The Arts and Entertainment 

The city of Salisbury is a wonderful place for arts, entertainment and culture. In addition to the many arts venues and galleries around the city, you can also make the most of a busy social calendar, which includes the annual two-week Salisbury International Arts Festival. The city’s Purple Flag status also means it’s one of the best places in the country for a great night out.

The Salisbury Plain

Another reason to visit Salisbury comes in the form of Salisbury Plain. Around 12 miles from the city, this area of grassland supports many species of wildlife and is popular for walks and local safari tours. The Plain is also well-known for the remains of the village of Imber (open during certain days of the year) from which villagers were evacuated during World War II.

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