JUN 23,2016 - JUN 23,2016 (1 DAYS)
Tip 1: Stonehenge.
Tip 2: Salisbury.
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Main Attractions: Stonehenge Vistors' Centre, Stonehenge Cursus, Stonehenge stones, Old sarum,
Start and End: Salisbury Main Station. Duration: 1 day. Weather: Bright, sunny day is a must. Most of the route (in Stonehenge) is in the open nature.
Older than The Parthenon, the Easter Island Statues and the Great Wall of China it's definitely worth a look. Stonehenge is regarded as a British cultural icon. One of the most famous landmarks in the UK. The site and its surroundings were added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986. Both, Stonehenge and salisbury are in Wiltshire, England. Salisbury is the third-largest settlement in the county, after Swindon and Chippenham. Stonehenge is 3 km west of Amesbury and 13 km north of Salisbury. Salisbury greatly aids the local economy. The city itself, Old Sarum, the present cathedral and the ruins of the former one also attract visitors. Salisbury was named as one of the world's Top 10 Cities to visit in 2015 by Lonely Planet. It is not the size of the stones and the effort to erect them, but, mainly, the timescale that impresses.
Stonehenge's ring of standing stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds. Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. Stonehenge is assumed to be a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. Deposits containing human bone date from as early as 3000 BC, when the ditch and bank were first dug, and continued for at least another five hundred years.
How to arrive to Stonehenge:
By train: the nearest train station to Stonehenge is Salisbury about 18 km. away from salisbury. Trains (every half hour on week-days) take about an hour and twenty minutes to Salisbury from London Waterloo. The 08:50am gets you there in time, with a brisk walk to Salisbury bus station,
By bus: the buses depart from Heathrow Airport and from Victoria Coach Station in London. The journey takes about 2 hours. Get off at Amesbury.
From there you can either walk (about 2 miles) or get a taxi. You can buy tickets on the coach. It is the cheapest way to travel to Stonehenge.From Salisbury - there is a direct bus, with an oral tour, known as The Stonehenge Tour. The Stonehenge Tour is operated by Salisbury Reds. The hop-on hop-off tour picks up in Salisbury city centre and runs to Old Sarum as well, through the beautiful Wiltshire countryside.
With on board commentary in 10 different languages we guide you through the glorious landscape telling you all about historical tales and facts that took place in the area.
In the winter the Stonehenge red Tour Bus depart from Salisbury to Stonehenge 5 times a day, every round hour (10.00, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00). In the summer the bus departs every half-an-hour, starting at 09.30 and ending at 17.00.
There are 3 options with the Stonehenge Tour bus:
Bus, Old Sarum, Stonehenge, & Cathedral: Adult £34.00, Child (5 - 15 years) £22.00, Family (2 adults & up to 3 children) £99.00.
Bus, Old Sarum, & Stonehenge: Adult £28.00, Child (5 - 15 years) £18.00, Family (2 adults & up to 3 children) £82.00.
Bus only: Adult £15.00, Child (5 - 15 years) £10.00, Family (2 adults & up to 3 children) £41.00.
Online booking: https://gosouthcoast.digitickets.co.uk/tickets
On foot: You walk the way from Amesbury to Stonehenge. 3.3 km. walk. An hour and a half there, and another hour back. It inevitably involves crossing the main road A303, both going to Stonehenge and when coming back. Crossing the A303 - not a place for walking - there is no pathway. You can use an underpass to get under the A303 roundabout, then use the pavements along the A345 / Countess Road. You see the stones from the same distance the formal passengers see them. But, you save the hefty amount of money paid to the Stonehenge Tour bus. Detailed instructions and map on this beautiful walk are in: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stonehenge-landscape/features/walking-in-the-stonehenge-landscape or https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2009/jun/10/walk-guides-stonehenge
Practical Tips on Stonehenge:
1. The Stonehenge Tour Bus is the public bus departing from Salisbury rail and bus stations. Exiting the stations - turn left and you'll see the bus. You show your pre-booked online ticket and get a ticket to the tour bus. ANOTHER BUS waits for the incoming passengers and takes them to the ancients monumental stones' site.
2. Allow, at least, 2 hours for the walk around the whole site while listening to the audio guide explanations. Every grounsdkeeper, you'll meet around - is a treasure of knowledge and passion for this magnificent historic site.
3. Choose a bright, lovely, sunny day. Much of the experience is the nature around !! Try to lock on a non-busy day. Usually, Stonehenge site is flooded with visitors. The nature around is astonishing without the herds of people who encircle the ancient stones. For those who are really interested in going beyond the rope fence and walk among the Stonehenge stones - there are called Special Access or Inner Circle visits that take place outside public opening hours (i.e. dawn or dusk). The times of these visits can make for some excellent atmospheric photo opportunities. There are two ways of conducting a Special Access Tour; by booking straight with English Heritage on their website, or by booking a private tour with two companies from London: Andersons http://www.andersontours.co.uk/stonehenge-special-access/ and Evan Evans https://evanevanstours.com/sightseeing-tours/day-tours-from-london/stonehenge-at-sunrise-oxford-windsor-castle/ and https://evanevanstours.com/sightseeing-tours/day-tours-from-london/stonehenge-at-sunset-oxford-windsor-castle/ .
4. The audio guides are heartily recommended. Therer is VERY limited signed information and there is so much to learn. The audio guide is available in several languages and if you listened to all available material would take an estimated 30-60 minutes.
5. Remember - you cannot approach the stones very close. You are not allowed to touch the stones/rocks (English Heritage and some tour operators from Salisbury can arrange early morning or evening visits allowing you to do this). The solstice festivals in summer and winter are the only days you can actually touch the stones and walk among them. Solstice is an astronomical event that occurs twice each year (around June 21 and December 21) as the sun reaches its most northerly or southerly excursion. Visitors are guided around the monument by roped pathways and on-site attendants.
6. It would have been nice to see the site at sunset or sunrise as the views look amazing.
7. The café in the visitor centre has long wooden tables and decent food: soups, sandwiches and salads and uses lots of produce from local suppliers.
8. At Stonehenge's visitor centre there are also toilets (clean), a gift shop (stuffed toys), a restaurant and a really informative exhibition centre.
Stonehenge Opening Times: EVERYDAY. 16 OCT - MAR: 9.30 - 17.00, APR - MAY: 9.30 - 19.00, JUN - AUG: 9.00 - 20.00, SEP - 15 OCT: 9.30 - 19.00. Last admission time is 2 hours before the advertised closing time. Advance Booking is recommended !!! In advance, online Prices: The biggest gripe really is the entry price: Heritage and National Trust members - free., Adult £15.50, Child (5-15) £9.30, Concession (student, senior) £13.90, Family (2 adults, up to 3 children) £40.30. On the spot, walk up prices (without Gift Aid): Adult £16.50, Concession £14.90, Child £9.90, Family £42.90. The HIGH admission price includes entry to the information centre, bus journey to the site and obviously a quite distant view of the not-so-big (...) stones themselves. During the winter and summer solstices - entrance is free, but, expect mighty crowds and "carnival" atmosphere... Free admission: Members of English Heritage and National Trust (the national organizations that help manage the site) get in free with their annual membership.
As we said - the nature around is the main feature. The Stonehenge landscape is one of the best preserved areas of readily accessible chalk downland in the UK. Rolling hills and dry river valleys allow for pleasant walks without too much trouble. The Stones can be viewed quite clearly from the roadside. Unlike the other monuments in the area however, it is necessary to pay to get closer.
Stonehenge main entrance:
From the Stonehenge main entrance, visitors centre and museum - there are buses available to take you to the stones and back (free, included in your admission ticket). It is an efficient shuttle bus from car park to the monument. You drop off the bus at the 4th stop. You may decide to walk there. It can be a good choice as it is a stunning view as you walk nearer (if the weather allows) (VERY long walk of 35-40 minutes to the stones). Walk around the Stones s slow as you like, no need to rush. It has a beautiful surrounding countryside. Interpretation and signage at the visitors' centre are excellent. Audio guides for adults and for families are available on site (pick them up before you get the shuttle to the stones !). You can download them free onto your device from the App Store or Play Store.
Do not miss seeing the recreated face of a 5,000-year old Neolithic man in the visitor centre and then having glance at the old Neolithic houses or the Neolithic village outside (opposite the main entrance) - based on remains found at Durrington Walls. The five Neolithic houses were built based on archaeological evidence of houses found at Durrington Walls. Each one had a chalk floor, a hearth and stake-built walls. Some had evidence of furniture and of chalk cob walls. Archaeologists think the Neolithic settlement may have been connected with nearby Stonehenge as part of a large religious complex. The houses being excavated may have even been occupied by some of the builders of Stonehenge:
The Heel Stone (or "Friar’s Heel" or the "Sunday Stone") is a single large block of sarsen stone standing within the Avenue outside the entrance of the Stonehenge earthwork, close to the main road (Highways Agency A344). In section it is sub-rectangular, with a minimum thickness of 2.4 metres, rising to a tapered top about 4.7 metres high:
We recommend getting off the shuttle (visitors' centre -> stones) halfway, at Fargo Plantation, and wandering through the trees to see the much older - oblong ditch known as The Cursus, before approaching the stones. The Stonehenge Cursus (sometimes known as the Greater Cursus) is a large Neolithic cursus monument on Salisbury plain. A huge and mysterious monument, the cursus is a 3km long earthwork just north of Stonehenge. Consisting of a ditch and bank running east-west, it is still visible on the landscape, although its purpose remains unknown. It is roughly 3 kilometres long and between 100 metres and 150 metres wide. Excavations in 2007 dated the construction of the earthwork to between 3630 and 3375 BCE - several hundred years before the earliest phase of Stonehenge in 3000 BC. They were first identified in the 18th century by William Stukeley who though they were Roman racecourses - hence the name which is Latin for "course". These Cursus discoveries hint that the site was already being used as an ancient centre of ritual prior to the stones being erected more than 5,000 years ago:
The road that approaches Stonehenge from the NW, for the shuttle bus only:
It seems that men through the ages have simply been unable to comprehend such a massive feat of engineering and construction and so it was inevitable that various myths would spring up to fill the void from sun worship to dancing giants frozen in stone, to portals to another dimension. The fact that there appear to be, among other things a face and human foot-like stone engravings in the stone would seem to perpetuate some of these ancient myths. The size of the stones used to build the ancient monument are max. 9 meters long and their maximal weigh is 50 tons. During the reconstruction works at the site, during the 1950s, It was required to use massive cranes to lift the original Stonehenge's rocks. Considering the distances they were moved have led to wild theories of supernatural (aliens) involvement in the building of the structure. It has long been known that some of the rocks that make up Stonehenge must have travelled a long distance before becoming part of the monument. Whilst the larger sandstone blocks (‘sarsen’ stones) that make up its outer circle are thought to have a local origin from the Marlborough Downs area, the smaller ‘bluestones’ are exotic to the region. Presently, the most comm assumption is that the bluestones travelled 240km to Wiltshire from South Wales. They were brought from the Preseli Hills in south-west Wales, probably largely by boat:
View from due north:
There are always many people here, but as the area is quite vast it doesn't feel crowded or touristy. It might be crowded near the rope benches. The rope around Stonehenge is well thought out, and is more oval than circle, so at certain points you're really far away. At other points you're really close up.
View from due west:
View from due south:
At the exhibition centre wall projection they explain how the stones are perfectly positioned for the shortest (and longest) days of the year. On the shortest day (Dec 21st, also known as winter solstice) the sun sets between the biggest stones. This midwinter sun sets exactly opposite to where the midsummer sun rises, so on the longest day of the year (June 21st, summer solstice) the sun rises above the heel stone and into the centre:
The prehistoric site holds spiritual significance for many Pagans and Druids. For years modern day people have flocked to Stonehenge on the summer solstice, to stay up all night and watch the sun rise. However, archeologists now believe that back in the day, the winter solstice was a lot more important, olden day people would honour their ancestors and pray for the sun to return:
After completing your walk around the stones' circle - return to the visitors' centre. With your face to the visitors' centre - (still inside Stonehenge site) turn right and climb 100 m. looking for the YELLOW bus which will take you to Old Sarum (and continues back to Salisbury). The return bus departs every half-an-hour (hh.13 and hh.43) in the summer and every hour in the winter (hh.43). The ride from Stonehenge to Old Sarum is included in your admission ticket and takes approx. 20 minutes through idyllic and romantic countryside fields. The YELLOW bus to Old Sarum departs from Stonehenge - every half an hour. The driver will drop you on the main road to Salisbury. Continue climbing the road and after 70-80 m. you see a brown sigh pointing LEFT (you have to cross the road) to the archeological site of Old Sarum. A path (5 minutes walk) is leading to the hill fort. You arrive to the car-park, turn right and you face the entrance to Old Sarum. Keep in mind that in a windy or rainy day - there is very little shelter in Old sarum (well, the same holds in Stonehenge as well...). Not much is left. Outer walls (quite mighty in the past), and another castle with a hidden (huge) ditch in the centre, Old Sarum is a good introduction to Salisbury - since, it is the original Salisbury and is a must for all those wanting to find out about the origins of the city and the Cathedral. The site is fascinating if you have any interest in history and archeology and the views over Salisbury and Wiltshire are lovely. It is actually located 3 km north of modern Salisbury near the A345 road. The Old Sarum settlement appears in some of the earliest records in the country. An Iron Age hill fort was built around 400 BC, controlling the intersection of two native trade paths and the Hampshire branch of the Avon river. The site continued to be occupied during the Roman period, when the paths became roads. The Saxons took the British fort in the 6th century and later used it as a stronghold against the Vikings. The Normans constructed a bailey castle, a stone curtain wall, and a great cathedral. A royal palace was built within the castle for King Henry I. This settlement lasted for around 300 years until new Salisbury grew up around the construction site for the new cathedral in the early 13th century. The buildings of Old Sarum were dismantled for stone and the old town dwindled. Its long-neglected castle was abandoned by Edward II in 1322 and sold by Henry VIII in 1514. Its importance is thus derived from three periods: its use during the Iron Age between about 400 BC and AD 43; the period of Roman occupation, between AD 43 and about AD 410; and the period between the establishment of the royal castle after 1066 and the transition of the cathedral to a new site about AD 1220:
First, you see the impressive ramparts consing of two earth banks separated by a ditch.
Then, after crossing the Old Sarum's wooden bridge - you step into the heart of a once bustling medieval castle. Built around 1070 by William the Conqueror, it was here in 1086, that William gathered all the powerful men of England for a ceremony to assert his royal authority. Building the castle in the middle of the old earthworks - created an inner set of fortifications which became home to a complex of towers, halls and apartments, and a huge bailey. Nothing is left from the Salisbury’s First Cathedral. The first cathedral was a modest building damaged by a violent thunderstorm just five days after its consecration in 1092. In 1220 foundations were laid for a new cathedral in Salisbury (New Sarum) and the old cathedral was demolished. Many of its stones were re-used in the construction of the new cathedral in Salisbury new city.
In a nice day - Old Sarum is good for nature walks. There are many footpaths which criss-cross the site. If you climb over the outer ramparts of the - you get views of the Wiltshire countryside. The English Heritage states that "rabbits enjoy digging holes in the banks and there are a wide selection of wild birds and butterflies on site including a kestrel". I've seen none of them...
The only option around for food and drink is the Harvester pub - opposite the Old Sarum site. There are two vending machines for snacks inside the site.
If Old Sarum is not included in your Stonehenge admission ticket - the entrance prices are: adult - £5.00, Child (5-15 years) £2.70, Concession £4.00, Family (2 adults, 3 children) £11.70. Open: everyday. APR-OCT: 10.00 - 18.00, NOV-MAR: 10.00-16.00.
Many buses pass from Old Sarum (along the A345 road) to salisbury: Salisbury Reds service X5 (Stagecoach 5 on Sundays), No. 8; Stagecoach Hampshire No. 8; Wiltshire Buses No. 501 service and, finally, our known the Stonehenge Tour service. There are toilets near the car-park. There is a gift shop. NO ACCESS for wheelchairs. Remember - waiting for the bus to Salisbury along the A345 - is without a shelter.
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Tip 2: Salisbury.
Main attractions: Guildhall Square, the Guildhall, Tourist Information Center, John a' Port's House & William Russel’s House, Hall of John Halle, North Gate, Mompesson House, Arundells, Salisbury Cathedral, Queen Elizabeth Gardens, Town Path, Old Mill Harnham.
Start: Market Place / Guildhall Square. End: Salisbury Railway Station. Distance: 7-8 km. Duration: 1/2 day. Weather: avoid rainy or windy day. Part of this route is under the Salisbury Cathedral sheltered roof and spires.
About half an hours drive from Stonehenge is the city Salisbury (pronounced Soulz bury). Salisbury is a beautiful Cathedral town, with a lively downtown. They have markets during the week on the Market Square. There are lots of shops and restaurants in the downtown area. There are also several parks and walking trails to the countryside. It's a sweet little place with lots of cute old buildings. Salisbury has been an important site throughout human history. Over 5,000 years ago, Neolithic man was dragging huge stones, weighing up to 55 tons from Wales to Salisbury to build Stonehenge (see Tip 1 above). The area was a huge settlement and is surrounded by ancient burial mounds and historical artifacts. We just explored Stonehenge, which is impressive and still one of the most important historical sites in human history, But, Salisbury itself, is even more impressive. Beautifully preserved, this picturesque English country town offers a lot to see. Salisbury is one of very few towns in the UK which were never bombed during WW2. The Germans were under strict orders not to damage it. The city has been immaculately preserved. Around the city, one can see Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Victorian-style homes all meshed with tiny streets. The town market square is very well preserved, and outdoor cafes line the area.
Salisbury Itinerary (1/2 day): Leave the bus at the Guildhall Square / The Market Place:
Do not miss, near the City Council or Guildhall, the Gilbert the Dragon. The flower dragon has been part of summer in Salisbury since 1999 and is maintained by Salisbury City Council. Gilbert is a 1.5 tonnes structure, made up of a wide variety of colourful bedding plants and features a crown on his stomach to celebrate The Queen’s 90th Birthday:
The Guildhall today is the fourth such building within the City of Salisbury. The new Guildhall was built on the site of the three old ones. Alterations were then made to the building in 1829 which included the addition of the Grand Jury Room, extensions to the courts and new accommodation for the judges. Since 1835 the building has been under the control of local government and is now managed by Salisbury City Council. In 2010-2011 there was a further major refurbishment. Changes were made to improve public access to the building, to bring further rooms into public use and to do necessary maintenance and repairs. Following this refurbishment, the building became the home of Salisbury City Council, with offices in the upper floors and council meetings held in the principal rooms.
Try to have a glance at the council rooms. Open: 09.00- 17.00, MON-FRI.
Grand Jury Hall:
The Oak Court:
We take the Queen Street, in the eastern side of the Guildhall Square. With our face to the south - we turn right to the Fish Row (pedestrians only road). On our right is the Tourist Information Office. The Salisbury Tourist Information Center occupies one of the medieval houses on Fish Row. It is located behind the honorable Guildhall in the Market Place. The building was one of many on the east side of the Market Place that housed fishmonger shops in the 14th century. It is a two–story stone structure with arched openings on the first story and tall rectangular windows on the second story. The Tourist Office is just off the Market Square on Fish Row. You can purchase the detailed Visitor's Guide for £1.00. This has a detailed list of accommodations, restaurants, sights, and shops. They can also give you a local map showing walking routes in town and in the surrounding countryside:
Opposite - the Cross Keys House or John a' Port's House & William Russel’s House with its pretty windows and facade, It is regarded as the oldest buildings in Salisbury. They are, actually, twinned timber-framed buildings with pointed roofs. John a’Port’s House was constructed in 1425 by Salisbury's mayor John a’Port. William Russel’s house was built in 1306 but appears newer because of its false facade. Both houses have remarkable interiors with dark beams, fireplaces, chiseled stairs and Elizabethan paneling. The buildings were refurbished in 1930, and they now house a specialty china shop:
Before you turn left from Queen Street to Fish Row, continue a bit southward along Queen Street to find Nando's restaurant, 1-3 Milford Street, on your left (intersection with Milford and New Canal streets.
Head west on Fish Row, 25 m. Turn left toward New Canal, 35 m. You see on your left the Odeon Cinema or Hall of John Halle. John Halle, a merchant and mayor of Salisbury, was the first owner of this house, which was built in 1470. The building, which now serves as the Odeon Cinema, is quite out of the ordinary. Its facade and foyer were designed in the Tudor style and date back to the 15th century. Its medieval interior has a fireplace with John Halle’s coat of arms, leaded windows, tall arched ceilings and walls decorated with pikes and armor. Even though the building now is home to a modern cinema, it has maintained its medieval charm:
We return to Fish Row and continue westward. The road changes to Butcher Row. It ends (the west side) in the Poultry Cross. The Poultry Cross is a market cross marking the site of former markets. Constructed in the 14th century and modified in the 18th century it stands at the junction of Silver Street and Minster Street. It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed structure. The Poultry Cross is the only one remaining of four market crosses that once stood in Salisbury. The others were the Cheese Cross in the present Cheese market area, Barnard's Cross (livestock) at the junction of Barnard Street and Culver Street and another which designated a market for wool and yarn at the east end of the present Market Place near the War Memorial. The presence of a market cross on the Poultry Cross site dates to 1307 and the name to about a century later. The present stone structure was built in the late 15th century. The original flying buttresses were removed in 1711, as can be seen in the painting of 1800 by JMW Turner; the present buttresses date from 1852–4, when the upper parts of the cross were rebuilt to the designs of the architect Owen Browne Carter.(cited from Wikipedia). The present day site is used as part of Salisbury Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays:
With our face to the west - we continue along Silver Street. But, before continuing, turn right to the beginning of Minster Street - to see a collection of old houses from year 1817:
In the intersection of Silver Street (west), Bridge Street (east) and High Street (south) - we turn LEFT (south) to the High Street:
We walk along the High Street with our face to the south. Near H/S #49 we see, in front of us the North Gate. The gate was built between 1327 and 1342. The High Street or North Gate is the main point of entry into the Cathedral Close. It housed the small lock-up jail for those convicted of crimes inside the Cathedral Close. Beside the gate stands the Porters Lodge. The post of porter to the Close was a much sought-after by the servants of kings and nobles in the middle ages. Note the two-storey building over and around the north entrance to the Cathedral Close:
Roly's Fudge Pantry near the North Gate:
Note the two-storey building over and around the north entrance to the Cathedral Close:
On our right a marvelous collection of houses from the 16th-18th centuries, a green space and white-washed sculpture. One of these houses is the Mompesson House, Choristers' Green, The Close Salisbury: Town house built for Sir Thomas Mompesson, 17/18th century MP, now a historical exhibit. The building was constructed for Sir Thomas Mompesson, MP in 1679, 1695 and 1701. The house reflects the classic Queen Anne style of that period. To the right of the main house stands the brick built service building which was constructed on the site of the old Eagle Inn that closed in 1625. Thomas's son Charles completed the building in 1701, his initials and date can be seen on the heads of the water downpipes. The Townsend family occupied the house from 1846 to 1939. The Bishop of Salisbury, Neville Lovett, lived there from 1942-46. Closed during the winter. Open: MAR-NOV, SAT–WED: 11.00 - 17.00, last admission 16.30:
Further south, still along the High Street, is The Rifles Berkshire and Wiltshire Museum, The Wardrobe, 58, The Close: 1,200 items from the Berkshire & Wiltshire Regiment exhibited in a restored, historical residence. Open: FEB: MON-SAT: 10.00 - 17.00. Closed on Sundays. MAR-OCT: MON-SAT, including public holidays: 10.00 - 17.00. Closed Sundays. NOV: TUE-SAT: 10.00 - 17.00. Closed on Sundays and Mondays. The military Museum is closed throughout December and January. Price: adult - £5, concessions - £4. Very interesting, atmospheric building and gardens. A plus is that the museum comes with a Tea Room and beautiful gardens. On June 2016 there was a special (and very moving) exhibition of "100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme" (1st July 1916 - 18 November 1916):
Next door is Arundells: the home of former Prime Minister Sir Edward (Ted) Heath from 1985–2005. A wonderful insight into the world of perhaps the last traditional, old-fashioned England PM of the 20th century. A treasure trove of personal memories. Packed with interesting paintings, sculptures, cartoons and photos of Mr. Heath and its period:
The Salisbury Cathedral is opposite (east) to the museum. Salisbury Cathedral has the tallest church spire in Britain, the oldest clock in the world, and at the moment the best copy of the Magna Carta. This is a wonderful place to visit. Allow between 1.5 - 2 hours for your visit but you can see most of the highlights in 45 minutes if you are really pressed for time.
The Salisbury Cathedral was originally located on Old Sarum (built in the 1000s), but was built in the current location from 1220 to 1258. The cathedral exterior is one of the finest medieval churches in England. Its impressive architectural style in Early English Gothic was possible because it was built in just 38 years (1220-1258). The tower and spire were added after more than 50 years. The spire is the tallest in England. The Cathedral is massive. You can see the spire from miles away. The Cathedral is surrounded by large lawns and trees. This gives the Cathedral the space that is needed to see it. The outside is covered in many stone carvings. Inside it seems very long and narrow, with very high ceilings. This grand structure with its elegant and imposing spire (Britain’s tallest) has inspired many artists, John Constable being the foremost among them. As the Cathedral Church of the Salisbury diocese, it is the Mother Church of several hundred parishes in Wiltshire and Dorset. In 2008, the cathedral celebrated the 750th anniversary of its consecration in 1258.
Salisbury Cathedral West Front:
Salisbury Cathedral North Front:
During summer 2016 there’ was a monumental treat in store for visitors to the Cathedral, who encountered an impressive exhibition by internationally renowned sculptor Sophie Ryder. Life-sized Minotaurs and Lady Hares could be seen the Cathedral lawn and in the cloisters. An high arch formed by massive clasped hands and called The Kiss loomed on the Cathedral’s North side:
Salisbury Cathedral park - Rabbit Dog sculpture - Sophie Ryder:
West Front - Rabbits-Dogs and Horse - sculpture by Sophie Ryder:
Sophie Ryder - the Dancing Girls:
The interior is stunning with wonderful stained glass windows. The entrance is FREE. Salisbury Cathedral is unique with its tall and narrow nave. It is equipped with light grey walls and dark marbled columns. It has tall arcade and open gallery. Spread between the pillars are notable tombs such as that of William Longespée, half brother of King John and the illegitimate son of Henry II, who was the first person to be buried in the cathedral:
The Trinity Chapel is at the eastern end of the cathedral. The Trinity Chapel has fantastic stained glass windows, which are quite inspiring. These windows can bee seen all from the other end of the cathedral, near the entrance. They form a dramatic backdrop to the choir stalls of the cathedral, with the vaulted roof arches receding in the other direction:
Another chapel with stunning stained-glass windows is the Martin of Tours Chapel (or Morning Chapel:
Other wonderful windows can be found in the side Chapel of Edmund And Thomas:
I recommend you take in the breathtaking views of our tower tour. Scheduled and guided tours are every hour (every two hours in the winter) from 11.15 until 14.15. Tower tours are limited to 12 people per tour. You can view all available tour times on the cathedral web site: http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/visit-tower-tours/tower-tour-times-and-booking
During the summer months, you can admire the Cathedral's medieval architecture from across the lawns of the Close from the Bell Tower Tea Room or from the Refectory while enjoying a selection of sandwiches and homemade cakes. Salisbury Cathedral's Refectory Restaurant and Bell Tower Tea Rooms offer a wide range of tasty options to suit all tastes and ages. The Refectory, set within the Cathedral with stunning views of the spire through its glass roof, is open all year round.
Salisbury Cathedral Choir sing alternate daily Evensong and Sunday Matins throughout the school year. The evensongs can be a wonderful experience. Get there pretty earlier - because the choir stalls fill very quickly. When the Choral Evensong began, encompassing the whole place with a soft music, lifting the soul. I felt It was like being carried on the wings of an angel, filled with peace. The choir stalls have 13th century woodwork with beautiful carvings of angels and animals. They also have a special type of seat, called a "misericord", which allows someone to look as if they are standing, but they are really leaning back on a small seat. These pull down to be the regular seats:
The cathedral also has the largest cloister in Britain, with a great beautiful tree in the middle of it. The Cloister(s), just outside the Chapter House, is (are) hauntingly beautiful. These were also built in the 1200s and enclose a small graveyard. The cloister looks splendid with arcades all around. Added in the late 13th century, it is a rectangular open space surrounded by covered walks. With open arcades on the inner side running along the walls of buildings, it forms a courtyard. This place looks ideal for the cloistered lives of the monks. In the adjacent Chapter House resides the Magna Carta hall.
You cannot miss the best out of the four copies of the Magna Carta which lives in this cathedral, in the Chapter House or Magna Carta Hall. The chapter house is notable for its octagonal shape, slender central pillar and decorative medieval frieze. It was redecorated in 1855-9 by William Burges. The chapter house also displays the best-preserved of the four surviving original copies of Magna Carta. This copy came to Salisbury because Elias of Dereham, who was present at Runnymede in 1215, was given the task of distributing some of the original copies. Elias later became a canon of Salisbury and supervised the construction of the cathedral. The MC copy dates back to 1215 ! The Magna Carta is the first bill of rights in the world. I just think it's incredible that we are able to see something from eight hundred years ago. You're not allowed to take photos of it, but I took a photo of it. Price: adult - £7.50, concessions - £6.50. You can try to convince the check-in person to allow you entering the Magna Carta Hall with your all-inclusive Stonehenge Tour ticket:
A special Biblical frieze circles the interior of the Chapter House above the stalls and depicts scenes and stories from the books of Genesis and Exodus, including Adam and Eve, Noah, the Tower of Babel, and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The Magna Carta Hall - Part of a frieze in the Magna Carta hall depicting Joseph being imprisoned (carved scenes from the Bible):
Part of a frieze in the Magna Carta hall depicting Adam and Eve in Paradise (carved scenes from the Bible):
Building Babel Tower:
Jacob and rachel:
Crossing the Red Sea:
Tens of burials reside in the cathedral. Among the people buried in the cathedral, the most famous is probably Sir Edward Heath (1916–2005), who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and as a member of parliament from 1950 to 2001, and who lived in the Cathedral Close for the last twenty years of his life:
Another burials is the monument of an alabaster knight wearing Milanese armour which is dedicated to Robert Hungerford, Lord Moleyns and 3rd Baron Hungerford (1431–1464). Hungerford was opposed to Richard Duke of York's rebellion in 1452. Later in the year he went to Aquitaine with the Earl of Shrewsbury. Captured by the French whilst attempting to relieve the seige of Châtillon in 1453, he remained a prisoner until 1459. He was a strong supporter of Henry VI during the Wars of the Roses. His effigy shows him wearing the Collar of Esses of the Lancastrian party. He held the garrison at the Tower of London against the Yorkist besiegers, until the Lancastrian defeat at the Battle of Northampton 1460, after which he was allowed to leave with Lord Scales. Shortley afterwards he left England to travel in Italy but returned in early 1461 where he took part in the Battle of Townton, and subsequently fled to Scotland with Henry VI and Queen Marguerite of Anjou. He was captured following the Lancastrian defeat at the Battle of Hexham in 1464 and was executed at Newcastle on the 18th of May 1464:
Inside the cathedral interiors - you can find a charming mixture of ancient, ols and new. There are also inside more sculptures of Sophie Ryder.
La Famiglia: Minotaur and Lady Hare lie with family of dogs - Sophie Ryder:
Another sculpture of Sophie Ryder: Girl with a Dog on Shoulder:
Sophie Ryder - Mother and Child:
DO NOT MISS the wonderful wire sculpture of Sophie Ryder - Sitting Horse with Child:
The medieval clock looked like half a dozen wheels assembled together with some pulleys and weights. The clock has no face because all clocks of that date rang out the hours on a bell. It was originally located in a bell tower and when it was demolished, the clock was shifted to the Cathedral Tower. The clock was then placed in storage and forgotten until it was discovered in 1929, in an attic of the cathedral. It was repaired and restored to working order in 1956. Again in 2007, remedial work and repairs were carried out. Its unappealing look certainly eclipsed its impressive background. This is the oldest clock in the world, it doesn't have a face but it dates about 1386 and still works - by ringing a bell on the hour every hour!
The last highlight of the cathedral and, I must say, a breathtaking one, is the font by William Pye which is worth the visit alone. The Cross-shaped font is made of bronze with purbeck stone. A four corned sculpture with water on the top surface that looks like a mirror, giving a fantastic reflection of the interior, and just pouring over each corner. An unbelievable masterpiece of art: Water is the predominant feature of this work, its surface reflecting and extending the surrounding architecture, while four smooth filaments of water pass through spouts at each of the four corners of a bronze vessel and disappear through a bronze grating set into the floor. There is an inscription with the words of prophet Isaiah: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you":
In case you have enough time before the dusk and you are still fit - we leave the Cathedral and start gentle walk around Salisbury's historic Cathedral Close: 2 km, approx. 45 minutes. . We return to Mompesson House (NE to the Cathdral) and start our walk at the NORTH SIDE of Mompesson House. The Close surrounding the Cathedral was originally built to house the clergy. Today the majority of houses are leased from the Cathedral by private residents. Turn right and walk towards the corner of Chorister’s Green. We walk wesward along the New St./ Crane Street with our face to the Queen Elizabeth Gardens. We cross the Avon river:
The path slights rights and we arrive to a wooden bridge crossing one of the Avon's branches. The Salisbury Cathedral is in the (south) background:
We follow the Mill Road with our face to the west. Now we see BLUE signs of "Town Path" and follow these signs - leaving the Mill Road to our right. We cross the Avon river again. On our right Harnham water meadows and on our left the Avon river:
The surroundings are second to none with a very pleasant walk. You get great views of the Cathedral across the water meadows along the town path to town. In one point you get a view of the Cathedral from the water meadows - exactly as the famous painting of John Constable:
It is approx. 800 m. walk along the Town Path from the Mill Road to the Old Mill Hotel Harnham. The location of the peaceful place is stunning. It is more a pub with rooms (11 rooms, all en-suite with views of the river) and restaurant rather than an hotel. The Old Mill Hotel is a 15th century building with features dating back to 1250. From its early ecclesiastical beginnings, it was transformed in the 16th century to a paper mill:
This is a wonderfully romantic, quaint part of the town. The building contains part of the mill wheel, which can be viewed through the restaurant front glass. The Old Mill Restaurant's evening meals are extra fine dining. Try the bowls of chips covered with melted cheese.
In the end of the Town path will wait for you several houses with straw thatched roof:
Your best bet for returning to the railway station is retracing your steps. Head northeast on Town Path for 650 m. Turn left onto Mill Rd and go through 2 roundabouts for 320 m. At the 2nd roundabout, take the 1st exit and the Salisbury Railway Station will be on the right.