10 Reasons to visit Salisbury, England

Salisbury is one of the most well known places in England, home to historic sites such as the Cathedral and Stonehenge. It makes for a perfect UK weekend break, with 2 days in Salisbury being the perfect amount of time, or you could combine it with lots of other things to do in the area and make a week of it. I visited in September 2021 with my parents for a lovely (mostly) sunny stay. Here are 10 reasons to visit this great place.


1. Salisbury Cathedral & Magna Carta

Salisbury Cathedral was built in the 1200s, and is home to England’s tallest spire. Whilst this ancient building isn’t as ornate as some Cathedrals in England, it is beautiful in its simplicity. There is a stunning courtyard, as well as a very striking font and lovely choir stalls. One of the highlights is seeing the Magna Carta – a document which was created in 1215 and set original standards of justice, fairness, and human rights in England. Only a few copies now remain, and to see such an ancient transcript is pretty special.

Choir Stalls

2. Stonehenge

Stonehenge is one of the most famous ancient sites in the world. At over 5,000 years old, its mystery endures with no-one being certain about how the stones got there, or what they were for. Regardless, a visit to this historic site is a must when in Salisbury – you can visit any time to walk around the perimeter and visit the on-site museum, but if you want to get close to the stones and wander without the crowds, then the private Stone Circle tour is a must. You can read my post on it HERE.

3. Old Sarum

After the Norman invasion in 1066, Old Sarum’s motte and bailey castle was constructed in the Wiltshire countryside. A beautiful cathedral was also built on the site. In this Medieval castle, Eleanor of Aquitaine was kept prisoner for 16 years, but by 1240 the site was in decline and the people, trade and cathedral all moved to Salisbury, with now just ruins remaining.

4. Cathedral Tower Climb

Now, this was special. We booked on to a 2 hour tower tour in Salisbury Cathedral and it was incredible. Our guide was so knowledgeable and took us up in to the roof where you can see the inner workings of everything – from the structure and how the Cathedral stays up, to the maintenance work that needs doing, to Medieval graffiti to keep away the devil and much more. Of course you also get to go out on the balconies at the top for incredible views out across Salisbury.

5. Mompesson House

Mompesson House is a grade I listed National Trust property in the centre of Salisbury. The building was constructed for Sir Thomas Mompesson, an MP in the late 1600s. The site was purchased at the end of the 17th century and the house reflects the classic style of that period with Chilmark stone frontage. It’s interesting to visit the house, which you can tour inside and out to enjoy a trip back in time!

6. Arundells

Arundells is a house which used to belong to English Prime Minister, Edward Heath. The house is now a museum to his tenure as Prime Minister, as well as his other accomplishments as a sailor and as a soldier. From the contributions he made during WW2, to winning the Sydney to Hobart yacht raise, to his policies as Prime Minister you can learn all about them in the house. Over the years, the house saw visitors from Michael Palin to Steve Redgrave to Princess Margaret – if only the walls could talk. The garden is also beautiful and a great place to sit with a book for an afternoon.

At Arundell’s

7. The Close

Salisbury Cathedral Close is the largest of such closes in the country – it’s home to lots of stunning houses and is the perfect place to stroll around and drool over the real estate. A full walk around the close will take around 30 minutes, but you’ll want to stop every minute for a photo of yet another dream house.

Beautiful houses in The Close

If you get a chance to stop for some food, then I also really recommend Rifleman’s Table, a lovely local restaurant which serves delicious lunches and cakes, right in the Close.

Rifleman’s Table

8. Market Square

The Market Square is the main shopping area in Salisbury and hosts some nice pubs and restaurants as well as shops. It’s a good area to stroll around and take in whilst in the city.

In the Market Square

9. St Thomas’ Church

St Thomas’ Church is a lovely spot just off the market square. This church is special as it is home to the largest and best preserved Doom Painting (depictions of the last Judgement) in the UK. Painted around 1470, it was covered with lime whitewash during the Reformation and not seen again until 1819. Now following its most recent restoration in 2019 it is back to its vibrant, detailed glory and is worth a visit for anyone in Salisbury. If you’re in the UK and watch Who do you think you are? (Or not in the UK and know Joe Sugg because of his blog/Youtube/Strictly Come Dancing), this is also where they visit in the show as his ancestor was vicar here and oversaw the finding of the Doom Painting.

Admiring The Doom

10. Escape to nature

Salisbury is the perfect weekend break, but if you do have a bit of extra time, it’s really worth exploring beyond the city limits. Salisbury is close to the Hampshire border and beautiful places like Mottisfont (post coming soon) or the area of outstanding natural beauty that is Cranborne Chase (post HERE). If you get the chance to, then driving the 20-30 minutes to them is well worth it.


What do you think of beautiful Salisbury – have you been or would you like to visit? Have a great rest of your week everyone and as always, stay safe and happy travelling.

33 Comments

  1. What a wonderful tour of such a beautiful city! I knew that the cathedral was a must see, but I had no idea that it had a copy of the Magna Carta. How incredible to see such a historic document! I really loved reading all about these great places and those houses in the Close are definitely somewhere I would love to call home πŸ™‚

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    1. It’s so lovely isn’t it – yes it has a Magna Carta; there are only 4 left now, so 2 in the British Library, 1 at Lincoln Castle and 1 at Salisbury. So glad you enjoyed it reading it, and I totally agree about The Close – houses I can only dream of. πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend Meg x

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  2. I am in awe of Salisbury and its beautiful cathedral and I had no idea it is in such close proximity to the world-famous Stonehenge. My next-door neighbour just returned from a trip around England where he managed to visit Stonehenge and he spoke very highly about the fascinating prehistoric structure and how it stands out dramatically in contrast to the relatively flat topography of the expansive Salisbury Plains. Thanks for sharing and greetings on the 1st. of December. I can’t believe Christmas is just around the corner πŸ™‚ Aiva

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    1. It’s such a beautiful city isn’t it, full of history and interesting things to see and do. Stonehenge is definitely a must see when you’re in the area πŸ™‚ Happy December to you too Aiva, I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone!! x

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  3. I’ve visited Salisbury, Stonehenge and Mottisfont rose garden Hannah but not the other places you mention which all look so nice. We’re National Trust members but I hadn’t realised that there was a property in Salisbury itself. You looked to have lovely weather and the views from the top of the Cathedral are beautiful.

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    1. Ah you’ve seen a lot of what I managed to see on my visit then – I really fell in love with Mottisfont actually, it was a wonderful place for a day trip although we didn’t visit in rose season and just missed them. Have a lovely weekend Marion πŸ™‚

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  4. I’ve only heard vaguely about Salisbury, but what a surprise to know that Stonehenge is in the area! I visited it years ago (and frankly, I found it a disappointment), but to give it another chance and to take the time to explore other parts of Salisbury (especially that view of the town from the cathedral above, wow!), I think it’d be a worthwhile investment in my travel experiences. Thanks for sharing, Han!

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    1. Yes Stonehenge is just down the road, and I think a lot of people don’t realise how much there is to do nearby. I know many are disappointed with Stonehenge, because you make the effort to go and then can’t get close unless you book a special tour….but if you combine it with Salisbury, a few lovely old stately homes nearby and a few nice walks out in Cranborne Chase and Shaftesbury (my post last week), you can make a really nice long weekend of it. So glad you enjoyed reading and have a wonderful weekend πŸ™‚

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  5. Such a beautiful place. I would love to visit stonehenge, so it’s nice to know of other ideas and places I could visit while there. Thanks for sharing x

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  6. We spent a day in Salisbury about a decade ago. We took a tour through the Salisbury Cathedral as well and thought it was fantastic. We unfortunately didn’t have enough time to see Stonehenge or do much else. I’d love to return someday though.

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  7. Wow…you see the coolest places!!! An awesome collection of reasons to visit Salisbury, indeed. Stonehenge has always fascinated me, and the Cathedral Tower Climb sounds excellent, too. Love-love-love all the architecture, and thank you for sharing, dear Hannah πŸ€—πŸŒΉ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thanks so much, England has a lot of nice places to see thankfully given so many travel restrictions!! The architecture is amazing isn’t it, and dates back centuries – a really special place to visit. Have a great weekend Phil πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Unfortunately, most of us stop to see Stonehenge and then breeze on through the area. You have highlighted so many interesting places to see there. If I ever have a chance to visit again, I would want to do the private Stone Circle tour.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I think a lot of people seem to do Stonehenge on a day trip from London, leaving little time for anything else in the area. It’s well worth it though as Salisbury is beautiful and gives more context to Stonehenge if you visit the linked sites too. The stone circle tour was great so I hope you get to do it if you visit us again πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Gosh, I have a feeling I’ve been to Salisbury, but it was so long ago I can’t be certain. I could ask the husband, but he’s in the midst of watching 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (I presume you know it?) so I know better than to interrupt while he plays along. Whether I’ve been there or not (I have been to Stonehenge – that I wouldn’t forget), it looks very nice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooo that’s so cool you’ve been to Salisbury, I don’t come across many from overseas who have been. Stonehenge is a wonderful site as well so I’m pleased you’ve seen it πŸ™‚ And yes, love a bit of 8 our of 10 cats haha! Have a great day

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  10. Heard this COVID restrictions ban is over in England , guess have to plan a day there too, hope it’s not too cold though

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