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Salisbury, eine gemütliche englische Kleinstadt, Bild: Invisible Edit / shutterstock

Salisbury – the underrated capital of the county of Wiltshire

The small English town of Salisbury is a good 150 km west of London. Known as the capital of the county of Wiltshire, the city of 15,000 inhabitants inspires with its idyllic location. Rural charm meets lively small-town life and important historical sights.

It is not for nothing that Salisbury is one of the most beautiful cathedral cities in England. The almost picturesque cityscape is characterized by the rivers Avon, Bourne, Nadder and Wylye. The unique charm of the historically fascinating city and its attractive location make Salisbury one of the most beautiful destinations in England and an ideal base for exploring the county of Wiltshire, home of Stonehenge.

A stroll through Salisbury

Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral, Image: Christopher Hotton / shutterstock

Salisbury is a city that has grown historically, which is also reflected in the cityscape. Wiltshire’s capital was once known as New Sarum and Sorviodunum. The history of the city dates back to 1220, when Bishop Poore of Sarum had a cathedral built just a few kilometres from the Old Sarum fortress, which had already been built in the 4th century BC. The cathedral was the starting point and today’s Salisbury was quickly created, which received city rights just a few years after it was founded. Today, Salisbury Cathedral, which was inaugurated in 1258 after 38 years of construction, is one of the most important buildings in the county. The ornately decorated west façade deserves special attention. A visit to the cathedral is worthwhile, not least because of the Magna Carta kept here, as it is one of only four remaining copies. The church tower of Salisbury Cathedral is also an attraction, as it is still the highest church tower in England and offers a fantastic view over Salisbury. It is also worth visiting the College of Matrons, a historic residence for widows and clerics from 1682, which still serves this purpose today.

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Salisbury Gastronomy
Cozy stop in one of the numerous restaurants, Image: Peter Titmuss / shutterstock

But a stroll through Salisbury, a former centre for the wool and textile trade, is also recommended because of the market square, which is well worth seeing. Among other things, the listed Poultry Cross can be found here. The market cross goes to the 14th century and was founded in the 15th century. The hexagonal arcade is just as worth seeing as the preserved North Gate, which can be found on the English list of monuments. In addition, the picturesque old town is characterized by dreamlike half-timbered houses. Also worth seeing is the Salisbury market hall, which was built in 1859 from old horse stables. In addition to the cathedral, the Sarum St. Thomas and Edmund Church is another church building worth seeing. The church of the Church of England is located in the centre of the village and is known for its mural “Last Judgement” from the 15th century. In addition, the Old Georg Mall shopping street invites you to go on a short shopping spree and the numerous cosy cafés and restaurants invite you to linger.

The most beautiful Attractions around Salisbury

Old Sarum

Old Sarum
Old Sarum, Image: jennyt / shutterstock

If you visit Salisbury, you should also take the time to visit Old Sarum. The Iron Age rampart was used as a fortress by the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons and the Normans throughout history. Old Sarum was also the scene of the Night of the Long Knives in 460, in which numerous Celtic nobles were killed by Anglo-Saxon mercenaries.


Stonehenge, Image: Morphius Film / shutterstock

Only 13 kilometres from Salisbury is the legendary cult site Stonehenge. The unique building from the Neolithic Age was demonstrably used until the Bronze Age. The formation of huge megaliths that form a circle is still a mystery today and at the same time exerts a special fascination. The area was developed for tourism as early as 1918 and Stonehenge has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1986.

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New Forest National Park

The New Forest National Park, 10 kilometres south of Salisbury, invites you to enjoy outdoor activities. Ornithologists in particular are enthusiastic about the protected landscape, but hikers, cyclists and horseback riders also get their money’s worth here and can enjoy the beautiful nature of Wiltshire.

Lacock Abbey

East of Bristol and about 53 kilometres from Salisbury is Lacock Abbey, one of the county’s well-known sights. Lacock Abbey and the 350-soul village of Castle Come are known as the filming location of the Harry Potter film series. The monastery complex, built in the 13th century, dates back to the Augustinian monks and now serves as a museum. The beautiful grounds of the abbey are particularly magical.

The Vale of Pewsey

One of the most beautiful hiking areas in England can be found with The Vale of Pewsey not far from Salisbury. As an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”, the area, which is criss-crossed by hiking trails, is one of the most beautiful natural areas in England and invites you to explore extensively.