Salisbury & Stonehenge
Stone circles and hundreds of years of history.
he picturesque South Wiltshire countryside is home to many weird and wonderful things: the world-famous Stonehenge , endless burial mounds, Iron Age forts, crop circles and the medieval city of Salisbury . Once you’ve finished soaking up the ancient atmosphere up on Salisbury Plain, head to the city and lose yourself in the historic streets, atmospheric pubs, charming half-timbered buildings, and glorious Salisbury Cathedral .
History and Heritage
Get down with the druids and explore Neolithic history at Stonehenge which was erected between 3,000 BC and 1,600 BC. The mystery of why the monument is there remains unsolved. Visit the blustery but fascinating Iron Age fort at Old Sarum before visiting Salisbury’s Cathedral which boasts the country’s tallest spire, Europe’s oldest working clock and the world's best-preserved Magna Carta – now that’s just showing-off!
Arts and Culture
For toe-tapping, finger-clicking and eye-popping entertainment don’t miss out on a performance at Salisbury Art Centre . If you want ambitious regional theatre at its best then look no further than The Salisbury Playhouse or head to the south of England’s largest independent gallery, Fisherton Mill , to see artists and designers busy in their studios. Wander the grounds of Roche Court taking in the New Art Centre sculptures by Barbara Hepworth and others.
Must See Attractions
Spectacular? Spiritual? Shrouded in mystery? You better believe it – it’s what makes the iconic Stonehenge an absolute must see. For stunning views over Salisbury and the Wiltshire countryside, climb the 332 steps to the base of the Salisbury Cathedral spire or explore the region’s rich history at the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum .
Food and Drink
Hunt out Charter 1227 in the historic Salisbury market for a real treat. It may be tight on space but you won’t regret squeezing into the Haunch of Venison which was built in 1320 and is bursting with history – just don’t let the mummified hand put you off your pint. Watch award-winning cheeses being made at Lyburn Farmhouse before picking your favourite.
The smell of a hog roast mingling with freshly-ground coffee, the bright colours of fresh flowers and delicious local produce, and the sound of friendly bartering filling the air… Salisbury’s Charter Market is a sensory treat and has been since 1227. The history doesn’t stop there; the majority of the city’s shops from independent boutiques to High Street brands are located in medieval half-timbered buildings.
The Nobel Prize-winning author, William Golding worked as a teacher at Salisbury's Bishop Wordsworth's School for many years, unfortunately the experience helped inspire Lord of the Flies. The school’s location next to the cathedral also gave him the idea for the novel, The Spire.
For an aural treat and cultural fix don’t miss the Salisbury International Arts Festival which brings classical and world music along with international theatre to the city in May and June. West Country cider, hog roasts, and all the best of the rest of the region’s produce are celebrated at the Food and Drink Festival in September. And for an unforgettable summer solstice join the thousands of revellers celebrating at Stonehenge.
The little ones will go ape with excitement as monkeys sidle up to your car at Longleat ’s drive-through safari – they’ll also be able to see zebras, giraffes and rhinos wandering around. For more animal magic head to the Bush Farm Bison Centre in West Knoyle and walk around the woods meeting chipmunks, elks, and raccoons as well as the bison.
Psst... Handy Hints
Stone Circle Access
To really explore Stonehenge book a Stone Circle Access Tour - which allow visitors to walk inside the stones.
Visit Grovely Wood in South Wiltshire in spring (May is the best month) when the entire woodland floor turns blue thanks to the thousands of wild bluebells.
To Go Ape!
Tarzan Swing to this tree top adventure.Go Ape
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