Welcome to Salisbury, a charming city in the heart of Wiltshire that is steeped in history and brimming with culture. From medieval cathedrals to ancient stone circles, this picturesque city has something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or simply looking for a tranquil getaway, Salisbury is the perfect destination. In this article, we’ll guide you through the top 10 best places to visit in Salisbury and help you make the most of your trip. So let’s get started!
Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Salisbury
1. Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral is an iconic landmark that dominates the skyline of Salisbury. This medieval masterpiece boasts the tallest spire in England and has been a place of worship for over 750 years.
Inside, visitors are treated to a treasure trove of artefacts, including one of only four surviving copies of the Magna Carta from 1215. The cathedral’s stunning stained glass windows and intricate architecture are awe-inspiring and offer a glimpse into the past.
One must-visit attraction inside the cathedral is the Chapter House, which dates back to 1263. Its octagonal shape and stunning vaulted ceiling make it one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture in Europe.
Visitors can also climb up to the top of Salisbury Cathedral’s tower for unforgettable views across the Wiltshire countryside. It’s not for those afraid of heights, as there are over 332 steps to climb!
Salisbury Cathedral is a must-visit destination for anyone coming to this historic city.
As you approach Stonehenge, the massive stones looming in the distance are a sight to behold. The ancient monument has stood for over 4,000 years and still retains an air of mystery that draws visitors from all over the world.
Walking around the perimeter of this prehistoric circle allows you to appreciate its sheer size and magnitude. It’s hard not to be awed by how these giant rocks were transported and arranged so precisely without modern technology.
While there is much speculation about why Stonehenge was built, no one knows for sure what its true purpose was. Some believe it served as a religious site, while others think it may have been used for astronomical observations or even healing rituals.
Regardless of its original intent, visiting Stonehenge today is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with more questions than answers. You can also take advantage of audio guides available on-site, which provide fascinating information about the history and significance of this iconic monument.
If you’re interested in learning more about British history or simply want to witness one of humankind’s most impressive feats of engineering up close, a visit to Stonehenge is well worth your time when exploring Salisbury.
3. Old Sarum
Old Sarum is a fascinating historical site that offers visitors a glimpse into the past. Dating back over 2,000 years, this was the original settlement of Salisbury and has seen many changes over the centuries.
Explore the remains of the Iron Age hillfort and imagine what life would have been like for those who lived here all those years ago. The impressive fortifications are still visible today and provide an insight into ancient British engineering practices.
The Norman castle, which was built on top of the hillfort in the 11th century, is also worth exploring. Although much of it now lies in ruins, you can still see its impressive earthworks and get a sense of how formidable it must have been in its heyday.
One of the highlights of visiting Old Sarum is undoubtedly the stunning views that you can enjoy from up on top of this historic site. Look out across the surrounding countryside and take in panoramic vistas that stretch for miles around.
If you’re interested in history or just looking to experience something unique during your visit to Salisbury, then be sure to add Old Sarum to your itinerary!
4. Wilton House
Wilton House is a magnificent stately home located near Salisbury, surrounded by beautiful gardens and parkland. The house has been the ancestral seat of the Earls of Pembroke for over 400 years and boasts a fascinating history.
Visitors can take a guided tour of the house to learn about its rich history and admire its stunning collection of art. There are over twenty rooms to explore, each one decorated with exquisite furniture, paintings, sculptures, and tapestries.
One of the highlights of Wilton House is the Double Cube Room, designed by Inigo Jones in the 17th century. This impressive room features intricate plasterwork on its ceiling and walls and houses some remarkable works of art.
Art lovers will be delighted to discover that Wilton House has an outstanding collection that includes works by Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Reynolds, Gainsborough, and Stubbs, among others. The Earl’s private apartments also contain rare porcelain pieces from all around Asia as well as Europe.
After touring inside this grand property, don’t forget to explore outside too! Wilton Gardens has everything from rose beds to water features!
5. Salisbury Museum
Salisbury Museum is a treasure trove of history, showcasing the fascinating story of Salisbury and its surrounding area. One of the museum’s top attractions is the Amesbury Archer exhibit, which features one of Britain’s most significant archaeological discoveries.
The Amesbury Archer was discovered near Stonehenge in 2002 and is believed to date back over 4,000 years. The exhibit showcases some of the items found with his remains, including arrowheads and gold earrings.
But that’s not all there is to see at this incredible museum. Visitors can explore exhibits on everything from prehistoric times to medieval life and beyond. Highlights include a collection of ancient Roman coins and an interactive display on Victorian-era shopping.
For those interested in art, Salisbury Museum also boasts a fantastic collection featuring works by renowned artists such as John Constable and J.M.W Turner.
Salisbury Museum offers visitors an unforgettable journey through time while providing valuable insights into the rich cultural heritage of this historic city.
6. The Close
The Close is a beautiful area of Salisbury that’s full of history and charm. As you stroll through this tranquil neighbourhood, you’ll be surrounded by stunning old buildings and lush gardens.
One of the highlights of The Close is the architecture. Many of the buildings date back centuries, and their unique designs are a testament to the city’s rich history. From grand Georgian townhouses to quaint cottages with thatched roofs, there’s something for everyone here.
But it’s not just about the buildings – The Close is also home to some lovely gardens. These peaceful green spaces provide a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of city life. Take a seat on one of the benches or spread out a picnic blanket on the grass and enjoy some quiet time in nature.
As you explore The Close, keep an eye out for some of its most famous landmarks. These include Mompesson House, which dates back to 1701 and now operates as a museum; Arundells, former home of Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath; and St Ann’s Gate, one of only four surviving gates from Salisbury’s medieval walls.
Whether you’re interested in history or just looking for somewhere calm to relax, The Close is definitely worth visiting during your trip to Salisbury. Don’t rush – take your time soaking up all that this picturesque area has to offer!
7. Market Square
Located right in the heart of Salisbury, Market Square is a bustling hub of activity that offers visitors a chance to experience the city’s vibrant street life. The square has been a trading centre for over 800 years and remains an important gathering place for locals and tourists alike.
On Tuesdays and Saturdays, the weekly market takes place, filling the square with stalls selling everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts. It’s a great opportunity to sample local food and drink or pick up some unique souvenirs to take home.
But even on non-market days, Market Square is still worth a visit. There are plenty of the best restaurants and cafes around offering delicious food options that cater to all tastes and budgets. Whether you’re in the mood for coffee and cake or something more substantial like fish & chips or curry, you’ll find it here.
In addition to its culinary offerings, Market Square is also an excellent spot for people-watching. Pull up a seat at one of the outdoor tables dotted around the square and watch as locals go about their daily business – chatting with friends, running errands, or simply enjoying some fresh air.
If you want to get a taste of Salisbury’s lively atmosphere while indulging in some retail therapy or sampling tasty treats from local vendors, then be sure not to miss out on Market Square!
8. Mompesson House
Mompesson House is a stunning Georgian townhouse that has been preserved beautifully, providing visitors with a fascinating insight into life in Salisbury during the 18th century.
As soon as you step inside this elegant building, you’ll be transported back in time to an era of lavish parties and genteel society. The house boasts some exquisite period features, including intricate plasterwork and beautiful sash windows.
The rooms have been carefully restored to their original glory, with authentic furniture and fittings on display throughout. Visitors can explore the spacious drawing room, formal dining room, and grand staircase hall.
One of the highlights of Mompesson House is undoubtedly its impressive collection of art. From portraits by famous artists such as Thomas Gainsborough to charming landscapes depicting rural life in Wiltshire, there’s something for everyone here.
Guided tours are available for those who want to learn more about the history of Mompesson House and its former occupants. You’ll hear stories about how it was used during World War II as a base for American soldiers stationed in Salisbury Plain.
Mompesson House is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in Georgian architecture or social history. Whether you’re visiting alone or with friends or family members, this museum offers an unforgettable glimpse into another world entirely!
9. River Avon
The River Avon is an integral part of Salisbury’s natural beauty and charm. It winds its way through the city, providing a peaceful and picturesque backdrop for visitors and locals alike.
Taking a stroll along the riverbank is a must-do activity during your visit to Salisbury. The gentle flow of the water, combined with the lush greenery that lines its banks, creates a calming atmosphere that’s perfect for relaxing and unwinding.
For nature lovers, don’t miss out on the Harnham Water Meadows. This stunning area of grassland and wetland provides an important habitat for a diverse range of wildlife. From dragonflies to otters, there are plenty of creatures to spot as you explore this beautiful landscape.
Whether you’re looking to take a leisurely walk or enjoy some birdwatching, the River Avon and Harnham Water Meadows offer something for everyone. Take in the sights and sounds of nature while soaking up all that Salisbury has to offer.
10. Salisbury Arts Centre
Salisbury Arts Centre is a vibrant hub of creativity and culture that offers an exciting range of events and exhibitions throughout the year. Whether you’re into live music, theatre, comedy or visual arts, there’s sure to be something here to pique your interest.
The centre hosts a diverse program of events that cater to all tastes and ages, from cutting-edge contemporary art installations to family-friendly shows and workshops. You can check the schedule online before your visit to see what’s on offer during your stay in Salisbury.
One of the standout features of this impressive venue is its commitment to showcasing emerging talent alongside established artists. This means that visitors can enjoy fresh perspectives as well as classic works across a wide range of genres.
Aside from hosting regular performances and exhibitions, Salisbury Arts Centre also provides opportunities for community engagement through outreach programs and educational initiatives. So whether you’re an aspiring artist or just looking for some creative inspiration during your trip, this dynamic cultural institution is definitely worth checking out.
Salisbury is a city that’s steeped in history and culture, with so much to offer visitors of all interests. Whether you’re fascinated by ancient monuments or stunning stately homes, there’s something here for everyone.
From the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral and mysterious Stonehenge to the tranquil River Avon and bustling Market Square, this city has it all. And with so many fascinating museums, galleries, and art centres to explore, you’ll never be short of things to do.
So whether you’re planning a weekend break or an extended stay in Salisbury, be sure to check out these top 10 places to visit. You won’t be disappointed!