Now Salisbury, England had not really been on my radar at all for this trip to the British Isles.
But as I made plans to meet up with my friend, Sue, and her family in the Somerset region I realized how close I would be to this historical city.
So I read up on it.
And I started to think, “This sounds like my kind of town.”
I asked Sue if she had been there. She said yes and told me she thought it was a wonderful town and that I would like it.
I totally trusted her.
So I booked my last couple of nights for Salisbury.
It was one of the best parts of my time in England.
What do I love about Salisbury?
Well first of all it’s a fabulous spot to base yourself for a trip to Stonehenge.
Now I wasn’t sure initially that I wanted to go to Stonehenge.
I’m not a “check this place off the list” kind of traveler.
But then I thought, “I just need to see it.”
I want to know what it’s truly like especially having heard differing opinions.
So Salisbury made sense.
I could stay here and catch the Stonehenge Tour bus — which is the only tour bus — from Salisbury out to Stonehenge. It’s a good deal and you get some commentary about Salisbury and the area along the way.
You can even make a stop in Old Sarum which is basically Old Salisbury.
And I did this (more to come later).
It was a great decision.
Salisbury is very close to Stonehenge.
it just makes sense to stay here especially if you don’t have a car.
The Cathedral and the Cathedral Close are other reasons to love Salisbury.
The Salisbury Cathedral is stunning!
Now I might have preferred the York Minster just a tad bit more. I think it just seems a bit brighter.
But Salisbury Cathedral is still impressive.
Wandering the Cathedral grounds to view the exterior of this magnificent work of architecture was my idea of fun.
Exploring the interior — and getting a major neck ache because I was constantly looking up at everything — was worth it.
I took loads of images of this Gothic cathedral.
And I stayed for Evensong — the service that takes place daily in late afternoon.
Sitting in the Cathedral cloister listening to the choir group sing in this 800 year old religious building is an experience that is beyond.
And I’m not religious.
But I am a lover of history.
So the historical significance of it all just tugs at my emotions.
The Cathedral Close is also a reason to love Salisbury.
What is this?
The close is the area immediately around the cathedral. Typically it would include religious buildings — maybe houses for the priests or bishops, schools, administrative offices. And usually the area would be enclosed by walls and gates.
Salisbury Cathedral Close is one of the best preserved.
There are some fabulous museums here as well as a few lovely houses you can tour.
Due to time constraints, I didn’t have the opportunity to explore these. Next time!
But I did walk around the grounds and they are beautiful.
Did I mention the Magna Carta?
There is a copy — probably the best preserved of the 4 that are remaining — of this historical document in the Salisbury Cathedral.
I wish I had images of it but they don’t allow photography.
I stood in awe of it.
The historical significance of it.
How old it is — it dates back to 1215.
And I’m sure my jaw was almost on the floor as this copy is in stellar condition.
It’s a gorgeous document.
But the best thing about Salisbury is how real it is.
There’s a bit of grittiness to it that meshes well with the beauty of the Cathedral and the lush, green parks.
I love the streets with their pubs, beauty shops and supermarkets.
The people are friendly and enjoy life.
The day I returned from my Stonehenge Tour was beautiful.
So I wandered about the one town square where there was some sort of festival going on with bands playing.
Everyone was sitting outside the pubs and cafes, soaking up the sun and enjoying an adult beverage.
It was fun and festive.
And it was mostly locals.
I ordered an adult cider and joined in.
For that moment I felt like a local.
And I think that’s what I love most about Salisbury — it’s an easy place to “go local.”
So while the best things to do in Salisbury
Might be to explore the Cathedral and the Cathedral close.
And see the magnificent Magna Carta.
And visit nearby Stonehenge and Old Sarum.
For me the best thing to do in Salisbury is to wander the streets.
Walk around the touristed and not-so-touristed areas.
Be a local for a day — or 2 or 3.
My guess is you won’t regret it.
Some of the best places to go in Salisbury also include:
- Cloisters Pub for drinks and fabulous “upscale” pub food.
- Ox Row Inn for drinks on the patio on a nice day. Or try it for dinner. The food is really good.
- Queen Elizabeth Gardens for a stroll through a gorgeous park.