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Places to Visit in Salisbury

The information presented on these Salisbury pages is based on the Salisbury City Centre Street Map and Guide 2002

OLD SARUM:
Castle Road, Salisbury, Wiltshire (about 1 miles north of Salisbury on the A345). Tel: 01722 335398.
This is a massive site (56 acres), nearly a mile in circumference and surrounded by a defensive ditch which was originally an Iron Age hillfort. The settlement became increasingly important until by the 12th century it had become a thriving medieval city called Vetus Saresberie. During the Roman occupation many Roman roads met at the fortress, the Saxons added a royal mint, and a royal castle was built by the Normans. The first cathedral was built here between 1075 and 1092, but it was struck by lightning and badly damaged a few days after completion. A second cathedral was built by about 1130. However, the bleak, windswept location and the frequent squabbles between the clergy and the garrison prompted Bishop Poore to ask the Pope for permission to move the Cathedral. The Pope agreed and work began on the new Cathedral in 1220. Old Sarum was completely abandoned by 1540. Today you can see the ruins of the Norman castle, cathedral and Bishop's Palace. There are excellent views from the ruins.

Open every day from April to October 10am-6pm, and November to March 10am-4pm. Refreshments are available and there is an excellent gift shop.

SALISBURY CATHEDRAL:
The Close, Salisbury, Wiltshire. Tel: 01722 555120.
The Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary was consecrated in 1258. The soaring spire was begun some time later and completed c.1315. It reaches to 404 feet and is the highest in England. This architectural gem where people have worshipped God for over 700 years, has an enduring grace and spirituality. Inside you can see inspiring stained-glass windows, monuments and memorials, the oldest cloisters in any English cathedral and the earliest working clock in England (c.1386). The Chapter House was built between 1263 and 1284 and contains many treasures including a 13th century frieze, a fan-vaulted ceiling, and one of the four original Magna Carta documents.
Services: Morning Worship with Holy Communion daily at 7.30am, and Choral Evensong usually at 5.30pm. On Sundays: 8am Holy Communion, 10am Sung Eucharist and sermon, 11.30am Matins and sermon, 3pm Choral Evensong.

Open every day of the year. Monday to Saturday 7.15am-6.15pm (late opening until 7.15pm June to August), Sundays 7.15am-6.15pm.
The Chapter House (and Magna Carta) is open daily except Christmas Day: March to October, Monday to Saturday 9.30am - 5.30pm (late opening until 6.45pm June to August),
Sunday 12pm-5.30pm; November to February, Monday to Saturday 10am-5.15pm, Sunday 12pm-5.15pm.
Tours of the cathedral tower are available from January to November and in Christmas week, Monday to Saturday at specified times. Guides are always on hand if you have any questions.
There is a gift shop and self-service restaurant serving drinks, snacks and hot meals.
Facilities for the disabled.
A donation is requested (but not required) on entry to the cathedral.

THE CLOSE:
The Close is the precinct of Salisbury's ecclesiastical community, and it is the largest close in England. Many medieval buildings, including the Old Deanery and the Bishop's Palace, grew up around the new Cathedral to provide accommodation for members of the clergy, their servants, and craftsmen working on the Cathedral. Gradually the inhabitants of Old Sarum left to set up home in New Sarum, where the land was fertile and water was plentiful. During the 14th century tension between clergy and the city folk increased and in 1331 stone from the abandoned Cathedral at Old Sarum was used to build a wall around the Close. There are three gateways in the wall: High Street Gate (C4), St. Ann's Gate (D5), and Harnham Gate (C6). The High Street Gate once had a portcullis that was lowered when the citizens became rebellious. The Gates are still locked every night at 11pm.

THE BISHOP'S PALACE:
The Close, Salisbury, Wiltshire.
This is now the Cathedral School and not generally open to the public. The undercroft dates from 1220, and the 17th century staircase and attractive south front were added by Bishop Seth Ward.

SALISBURY AND SOUTH WILTSHIRE MUSEUM:
The King's House, 65 The Close, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 2EN.
Tel: 01722 332151, Fax: 01722 325611. email
This museum has won many awards for its displays and exhibitions of local history from early man to the present day. Highlights include the Stonehenge gallery, the Pitt Rivers Collection, Dr. Neighbour's Surgery, the History of Salisbury, and the Giant and Hob Nob. There are displays of costume, lace and embroidery, Wedgwood, ceramics, early photographs and paintings which include watercolours by Turner.

Open Monday to Saturday all year 10am-5pm, and Sundays in July and August 2pm-5pm. Gift Shop and Hatcher's Coffee Shop serving drinks, snacks and hot meals. Wheelchair access to all ground floor galleries, special exhibitions, the coffee shop and gift shop.

THE WARDROBE:
Cathedral Close, Salisbury SP1 2EX. Tel: 01722 414536.
The Salisbury Museum of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment houses the Berkshire and Wiltshire collections of the Regiment, which tells the story of their exploits throughout the world since 1743. The "Wardrobe" building is so-called because it was originally used by the Bishop as a secure place to keep his vestments and documents. It was built in 1254 and is one of the oldest buildings in The Close, although the present building of brick, flint and stone dates mainly from the 15th century. You can enjoy excellent views across the water meadows from the peaceful riverside gardens.

Open from April to October every day 10am-5pm. Closed Mondays in February, March, November and December. Closed January. Good wheelchair access. The acclaimed Bernieres Tea Room serves drinks, snacks and hot meals. Museum shop.

THE MEDIEVAL HALL:
Cathedral Close, Salisbury, Wiltshire. Tel: 01722 412472.
This beautiful 13th century building was once the Great Hall of the original Deanery. "Secrets of Salisbury" at the Medieval Hall is a 30 minute audio-visual presentation on the past and present of Salisbury. The presentation runs every hour on the hour and can be watched while enjoying morning coffee, lunchtime snacks or afternoon tea. During the winter the hall is the venue for classical and jazz concerts, exhibitions and functions.

Secrets of Salisbury is open from April to September every day from 11am-5pm. Gift Shop and refreshments.

MOMPESSON HOUSE:
Choristers' Green, Cathedral Close, Salisbury, Wiltshire.
Tel: 01722 335659.
This impressive Queen Anne style house was built for Charles Mompesson in 1701, and is now owned by the National Trust. The elegance of the exterior is matched by the interior, with its beautiful carved oak staircase and fine plasterwork, added by a later resident, Charles Longeville, in about 1740. The rooms are furnished in period style and you may see the Turnbull collection of 18th century drinking glasses. There is a delightful and peaceful town garden, enclosed by the Cathedral Close wall where you may enjoy light refreshments from the Garden Tea Room.

Open from April to September, Saturday to Wednesday 12pm-5.30pm (last admission 5.00pm). Closed Thursday and Friday. Wheelchair access to ground floor, garden and tea room only.

MALMESBURY HOUSE:
15 The Close, Salisbury, Wiltshire. Tel: 01722 327027.
This house has been altered many times since it was originally built as a Canonry in the 13th century. The West Front was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and on the south wall of the house is a striking blue and gold sundial. The house has many tales to tell about the people who have lived here, including the Earls of Malmesbury, and the part it has played in England's turbulent history. There are secret hiding places, peepholes, and a ghost. Handel gave his first concert in England in the room above St. Ann's Gate and King Charles II hid here in 1765 to escape the plague. This is a family home, and viewing is by guided tour only.

The house is open to groups by prior arrangement only. No wheelchair access.

COLLEGE OF MATRONS:
High Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire. Founded in 1682 by Bishop Seth Ward to house twelve widows of the clergy, which it still does today. This attractive building may have been designed by Sir Christopher Wren who was taught by Ward at Oxford.

ST. THOMAS'S CHURCH:
St. Thomas's Square, Salisbury, Wiltshire.
This church was originally wooden, and was built around 1220 possibly as a place of worship for the people working on the cathedral. The building that we see today dates from the 15th century. The church is well worth a visit for its many treasures including the magnificent medieval doom painting.

JOHN A'PORT'S HOUSE:
Queen Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire.
Built in 1425 by John a'Port, who was a wool merchant and Mayor of Salisbury six times. Inside is a beautiful carved fireplace and Elizabethan panelling.

JOHN HALLE'S HALL (ODEON CINEMA):
New Canal, Salisbury, Wiltshire.
John Halle was a wealthy clothier who was elected mayor of Salisbury four times and was Salisbury's MP. He built this house in 1470. It was carefully restored in the 19th century and is now the very grand foyer of the Odeon Cinema.

JOINER'S HALL:
St. Ann Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire.
This National Trust property was once the meeting place of the Joiners' Guild. No doubt to show off their skills the front of this 17th century building is beautifully carved.

TRINITY HOSPITAL:
Trinity Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire.
Founded in 1379 by Agnes Bottenham who ran a brothel here. As an act of penance she opened the hospital to give shelter to 12 poor residents and 12 poor visitors. The current building dates from 1702. It has been recently restored and is still used as an almshouse.

POULTRY CROSS:
Butcher Row, Salisbury, Wiltshire.
New Salisbury was a bustling, medieval trading centre, and the 15th century Poultry Cross, originally one of four market crosses, stands in the centre of the city's historic market place, where many of the nearby street names reveal the activities of the past. Stalls selling local produce are still laid out around the Poultry Cross at the local market held on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

HARNHAM BRIDGE:
Built in 1244 by Bishop Bingham, this was one of several bridges, including Crane Bridge (B4) and Fisherton Bridge (C4), which helped New Salisbury prosper as a trading centre and market place for the surrounding area by improving access to the city.

BISHOP'S MILL:
Bridge Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire.
The present building, now a restaurant, dates from the 17th century, but it is likely that earlier mills stood here, making use of the energy from the gushing waters. It may have been the site of a mill owned by the Bishop of Old Sarum, which is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. Follow the river back through into the Maltings shopping arcade to enjoy a riverside walk with ducks and swans. Harnham Mill, also a restaurant, is an attractive 15th century building at the end of the Town Path.

INNS:
There are many ancient inns in Salisbury that provided lodgings and refreshments for the workers, pilgrims and traders who flocked to the city. They include the 15th century Pheasant Inn, and the King's Arms in St. John's Street which has been connected with a plot to help King Charles II escape after the Battle of Worcester. Part of the Red Lion Hotel was built in the 13th century as a hostel for the draughtsmen involved in the building of the cathedral. Much of it is 18th century, and it is an excellent example of a coaching inn of the period. The 14th century Old George in High Street now forms the entrance to The Old George Mall. Samuel Pepys stayed here in 1668, but left after one night outraged at the expense. The Haunch of Venison, dating from 1320, displays a severed hand which was found during redecoration work, still holding 18th century playing cards. The White Hart, in St. John Street, was one of Salisbury's coaching inns, and it dates from the 18th century. The Blue Boar, since demolished, is where the Duke of Buckingham was beheaded in 1483.

For further information about Salisbury, including a free visitor pack, please contact the Salisbury Tourist Information Centre.

 

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