Historically, Salisbury England, the country town of Wiltshire, was the center of the cloth industry. It is located where the Rivers Nadder and Bourne join into the River Avon. The cloth industry heavily depended on large amounts of water which the rivers provided for the processing of raw materials; creating them into cloths that were later sold all over the country.
Now, Salisbury is probably most famous for its masterpiece of a cathedral. It had been built back in 1220 during the Gothic era. The entire old part of the city is worth exploring and provides ample things to do for backpackers visiting Salisbury. The old town has a checkerboard layout with quaint gardens enclosed between houses; an example of medieval town planning. If you have ever wanted to be transported into the world of the 13th century, then Salisbury is the place to go.
Due to its location and royal decree, a bridge was built across the Avon. Salisbury then became a rich trading center. Now it is one of England’s top hot spots for anyone who loves fantastic architecture, rich history, and mystery. Also, the world-famous Stone Henge is located 10 miles north of this city.
For those reasons, Salisbury is an absolute must-do during your visit to England, and here you will find some of the best things to do on your travels.
After the stone foundations were laid in 1220 the cathedral took another 44 years to complete. Its impressive arches, stained glass windows, and pews opened to the public in 1266. To this day it is one of the topmost visited religious sites in England. During your visit, you will be met with breath-taking bright-colored limestone paired with Purbeck marble in the cathedral’s interior.
The high arches will have you craning your neck, wondering how people 800 years ago managed to build such an architectural marvel. There are also many sacred tombstones from the past centuries, a faceless 14th-century clock, original copies of the Magna Carta, Anglo Saxon documents, and wall frieze of pictures from the old testament. Make sure to take some time from your travels to stop by the cathedral and study the intricate stain glass windows which were put in during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Stonehenge In Salisbury England
Of course, no list about the top things to do in Salisbury would be complete without including the world-famous Stonehenge. Salisbury is the closest city to his unique rock monument. It’s known as one of the oldest prehistoric man-made monuments built. This circle of standing stones measures up to four meters in height. Current estimates claim they were brought and placed in this location over 5,000 years ago.
The mystery remains at how they go there. The current theory is that the massive pieces of bluestone were quarried in the Preseli Hills; an astounding 160 miles away from the Stonehenge site.
Considering the lack of machinery or technology, historians and visitors are still scratching their heads at how this was possible. There is also a visitor center, tours, and fantastic sunset views at this collection of rocks.
Old City Center Of Salisbury England
One of the most popular things to do in Salisbury is to wander through the tightly built streets of the Old City Center. It is a free activity, and perfect for a good weather day. There are opportunities to shop at small local boutiques while being surrounded by architecture stretching from medieval times all the way up to the 19th century.
One of the spots worth checking out is the parish church of St. Thomas of Canterbury that was built in the 15th century. There is also a wide marketplace where medieval marketplaces took place. This also includes a historic Plume of Feathers Inn and a stunning Red Lion Hotel with a gorgeous inner courtyard.
Due to its fantastic location on fertile land, Salisbury England has been home to people for centuries. Old Sarum is a fine example of the town that predates Salisbury located two miles north of the Old City. It is the site of the original Salisbury Cathedral; a historic royal castle, surrounded by a deep moat on a fortified hill.
It used to be a thriving settlement with inhabitants ranging from Romans, Normans, and Saxons in the various ages. The Iron Age Hillfort is particularly impressive, especially if you peek at the aerial photography of the place. Visit Old Sarum to get a better understanding of England’s history over the 2000 years. It is free to visit and open during daylight hours.
If you haven’t gotten your fill of history, then visit the Salisbury Museum; established in 1860. It is an award-winning museum that houses many permanent and special exhibitions throughout the year. It has a primary focus on the art and history of Wiltshire.
Luckily, the area is filled with stories and tales of the past. So the museum has plenty of material of interest. Check out the Wessex Gallery which has an impressive archaeological collection with some items predating Stonehenge.
One of the most notable displays in the museum is the 4,000 years old grave of the Amesbury Archer. It was found with a large selection of personal items including pots, arrowheads, boar tusks, gold ornaments and more.
Larmer Tree Gardens
For people to enjoy proximity with nature, General Pitt Rivers established the Larmer Tree Gardens in 1880. These gardens were the first privately owned gardens opened to the public. It features stunning Indian buildings, a Roman temple, open-air theatre and a variety of birdlife living in the rich gardens.
The gardens were set in an ancient forest known as the Cranborne Chase. Today, they are a prime destination for weddings. If you want a wedding surrounded by pristine England natural landscapes or cooing peacocks, then this garden is for you.
Salisbury International Festival
This springtime two weeklong festival takes place in the heart of Salisbury every year. It showcases art from all over the world. There is a new theme each year featuring orchestral, choral, and concert recitals. Additionally, it has film screenings, live music venues, and other arts events every day during the fortnight.
Many venues across the city are used, including the Salisbury Cathedral and other historic buildings. Attending any of the events will give you an insight into the people’s talent. Also, it’ll give you an additional opportunity to hear music in the hallowed halls of these medieval buildings.
If you plan to visit Salisbury England in the spring, make sure your travel dates align with the Salisbury International Arts Festival!
Cholderton Charlie’s Rare Breeds Farm
One unique and intriguing things to do in Salisbury England is to visit the rare breed farm featuring unique animals. There you can see rare breeds of goats, chickens, ponies, sheep, pigs, and more. At this farm, there’s also detailed information about the animals’ heritage on display for visitors.
There are also beautiful nature trails surrounded by water gardens along with attractions for kids. If you are a child at heart, or simply an animal lover, you will be enticed by the opportunity to feed piglets and other baby animals.
If you head down a couple of miles along the Avon you will be met by the stunning Elizabethan Prodigy house built in the 16th century. The magnificence of the house is a small insight into some of the building costs. Because of high expenses, construction had been stopped until its owner, Sir Thomas Gorges, found gold in a shipwreck. This shipwreck had been part of the Spanish armada; now used to finance Longford Castle.
Currently, it’s privately owned and opened 28 days in the year. The tours book up fast. So, if you are interested in having a look at tapestries from Brussels, furniture from the 1700s, and an extensive collection of oriental porcelain, then book well in advance.
The castle also has an incredible art collection. These featured paintings are by artists such as Frans Hals, Dick Van Dyck, David Teniers, and Thomas Gainsborough.
Boscombe Down Aviation Collection
Have you always wanted to see fighter aircraft from the second world war? If so, this exhibition, just three miles away from the city center should be on your list of things to do when visiting Sailsbury England.
There is also a hangar in the Old Sarum airfield which houses an exhibit of various complete aircrafts. This includes smaller pieces of jets starting from the second world war. You will be able to stand next to a Hunter F6A, Jet Provost T4, Wasp HAS1, and a Meteor MKD16.
There are also plenty of engines, weapons, missiles, and more. All with descriptions and insight into the fascinating world of airplanes.