Trains to Salisbury


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Just 70 minutes from Bristol

Salisbury is a city steeped in ancient history. Whether reliving ancient druidic ceremonies (or Spinal Tap jokes) at nearby Stonehenge, studying the Magna Carta in the famous gothic cathedral or wandering between the timber-framed Tudor buildings, it’s a place to feel lost in time. Yet it’s one of Wiltshire’s liveliest towns too, its grand medieval spire overlooking art galleries, theatres, museums and upscale restaurants galore – just check out the programmes of theatre, film and live music at the Salisbury Arts Centre and the City Hall. Twice-weekly markets have been held in the city for over 600 years and rub up against chic bars and cafés in an arty city unspoilt by urban sprawl. Salisbury is a fantastic example of how to grow old gracefully.


Attractions

All roads in Salisbury lead to the breathtaking Salisbury Cathedral. Its spire – Britain’s tallest – beckons visitors from miles around. A medieval masterpiece, the cathedral is home to the best preserved of the original Magna Carta manuscripts, housed within an exhibition opened in the cathedral’s Chapter House in 2015. Make sure to stop in at the Salisbury Museum in The King’s House opposite for an engrossing journey through the rich history and archaeology of ancient Wessex.

Too modern for you? Then travel even further back in time at the Iron Age hill fort of Old Sarum Castle, where Salisbury’s first cathedral once stood and where these days costumed actors recreate medieval village life. You can indulge your inner Caesar at the Rockbourne Roman Villa in Fordingbridge and, of course, take a bus tour out onto Salisbury Plain to visit the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge. There’s a bus that leaves from right outside the train station. We bet the druids wished it had been so easy to get there in 3,000BC.

Salisbury castle
Salisbury Cathedral
Restaurants

If you want your dining experience as drenched in history as your sightseeing, search out the 14th century Cloisters pub on Catherine Street for its lamb steaks, salmon fillets and acclaimed Sunday carvery. Or get bang up to date in the neon curry paradise of Anokaa, serving contemporary Indian food that zings as loudly as the décor. For a more European flavour, head to Charter 1227 in the Market Place, where hearty British and French fare is given a Michelin-worthy flourish.

Hotels

The best Salisbury hotels combine the city’s history with its thriving art scene. Merging Regency style and modern chic, the Milford Hall Hotel & Spa on Castle Street – a 10-minute river walk from the centre of Salisbury – is a Georgian mansion house with a refurbished contemporary wing. There’s more period character beneath the Tudor beams of the Rose & Crown Hotel beside the River Avon, a 13th century coaching inn transformed into 21st century luxury lodging with a waterfront party area, while the 9 bedrooms above the Pembroke Arms in Wilton work as quirky pastiches of the Georgian and Victorian eras, with their fake-peeling woods and the sort of ornate bedstead that a French prince might have demanded.

Shopping

There are artisans aplenty in Salisbury. To pick up the latest objet d’art, head to Fisherton Mill on trendy Fisherton Street, an 1880s grain mill that has been turned into a gallery and studios for local artists, sculptors, glass workers and furniture makers to make and sell their pieces. The Mill even runs knitting workshops because – as they say – everyone has at least one cardigan in them. You’ll often find stalls filling Market Place for the twice-weekly Charter Market on Tuesdays and Sundays or regular farmer’s, vintage and teenage markets, and the Old George Mall is the place to go for high street fashions and sweet shops selling miniature ‘Fudgehenges’.

Travel Links

Salisbury is a great city to explore on foot, but local transport options are plentiful. The station is well served by local bus routes, including the city’s Park & Ride scheme and the direct Stonehenge Tour bus to Stonehenge, and there’s a taxi rank directly outside the main station entrance. Cycle routes also run straight past, and there’s storage for 110 bikes in the 287-bay station car park. Just find cheap train tickets to town online, and plan your journey from there.

For more ideas on what to do in Salisbury, see the Visit Wiltshire website.

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