Steeped in history and filled with beautiful corners, the medieval city of Salisbury in northwestern England is a fascinating destination for family travel.
History & Culture
The towering spires of Salisbury Cathedral dominate the city. Regarded as one of the most impressive examples of Early English architecture, building on the structure began in 1220. You can spend hours here poking into nooks and crannies, marveling over the stained glass windows, or take a guided tour offered by a docent knowledgeable in the structure’s incredible history and collection of imposing sculptures. Adjacent to the cathedral is the chapter house, where the best of four surviving copies of the Magna Carta can be viewed. Located in the Cathedral Close, the 13th-century Arundells house — once home to former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath — is open for tours, where visitors can view collections of ceramics, paintings, political cartoons and sailing memorabilia.
Whether you need to satisfy a crew of picky eaters or are longing for fish and chips, Salisbury has a vibrant culinary scene that can meet you needs. Head to the Giggling Squid for fun Thai tapas, Café Diwali for Indian street food and local craft beers or The Haunch of Venison for traditional pub food.
Take a Tower Tour into the hollow interior of the U.K.’s tallest church spire at Salisbury Cathedral, a steep climb up (and down) involving 330 steps. Heritage Cycle Tours offers one-day guided biking adventures to Stonehenge. For guided walking tours of the historic city, Salisbury Walks offers daily excursions that set off from the Salisbury Information Center at 11 a.m., April 1–Oct. 31. Advance tickets are available at the Tourist Information Centre, or from guides on the day of the walk; groups are limited to 25 people.
Reflect on all the history in the city while being pampered at the Lime Tree Spa. Set on the gardened grounds of the Milford Hall Hotel, the spa offers a range of half- and full-day escapes, plus individual or couple’s treatments and therapies that include the Caudalie Fleur de Vigne Warm Oil Massage and the Crushed Cabernet Scrub and Detox. Rebalance your qi at The Karma Center with a yoga class or meditation workshop, or heat up your vacation at the Grace Lounge Salisbury Hot Yoga Studio.
Less than 10 miles from the city lies the mysterious ruins of Stonehenge. Book a private sunrise or sunset viewing with Premium Tours or Stonehenge Tours, with access to the inner stone circle before the site opens to the public or after closing hours. Follow up with a tête–à–tête at one of the town’s charming tearooms. Good choices include Henderson’s Artisan Bakery on Market Square, Nuggs1268 and Robert Lewis Chocolates and Tea Rooms.
Head out for a ghost tour or Horrible History Tour with Salisbury City Guides, or explore ancient sites including Stonehenge and Old Sarum on a Magical History Tour with Salisbury Stonehenge & Sarum Tours.