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Saluting the Salisbury spirit – with these hidden gems

It’s one of our oldest cities, but Salisbury is a treasure trove of many undiscovered gems.

As was originally intended, the soaring spire of Salisbury Cathedral is visible for miles around as you approach the city. It’s one of the finest examples of early English architecture and is 751 years old. 

Drawing you into Salisbury, you’ll soon find yourself following the tourists along the thronging medieval streets. This year, The Times nominated Salisbury as their Best Place to Live in the UK, saying: “Salisbury, we salute you. Whatever foes this beautiful medieval city has faced, from the Celts to the Vikings to the recent novichok poisonings, it has emerged victorious. This cathedral city is divinely attractive, has a distinguished history and this year we’re honouring its resurgent community spirit — and its glorious surrounds.”

Platinum Skies residents at Chapters in Salisbury enjoy all the benefits of retirement in Wiltshire

This ringing endorsement has done much to reinvigorate tourism, but there’s so much more to explore and discover in Salisbury. Here’s our short guide to the best hidden attractions you can find on a day out:   

  • Make your mark at the Cathedral

Yes, a visit to Salisbury Cathedral is a must. The stunning grounds also make the perfect location to while away an afternoon with a picnic. 

However, to truly appreciate the beauty of the building we recommend a behind the scenes Stonemasonry Works Yard Tour. Expert guides will explain the feats of engineering and you’ll witness astounding hand-carving skills that have been honed there since the 13th century. 

The tour lasts one hour followed by tea and coffee with the guide and an opportunity to ask further questions. Tickets cost £17.50 per person and can be booked from the Salisbury Cathedral website.

  • Find the Secret Garden

This community garden was first opened in 2015, set in the rambling and wild city church yard of St Clements on Mill Road. It’s a charming, tranquil green space that promotes the conservation of wild bee species, birds, beetles and other wild things. Named as one of the best educational spaces about bees by both the Telegraph and Friends of the Earth.

It’s open once a month with regular fundraising open days, with activities, workshops and talks. Visit for up to date times and events.

  • Get medieval at Salisbury Market

Again, this takes a bit of planning. Coinciding your visit with The Charter Market that takes place each Tuesday and Saturday comes highly recommended. 

It’s been drawing in the crowds since medieval times, with a winning selection of local fare such as fresh meat, bread and veg. Although the fresh doughnuts and artisan coffee are a welcome modern addition. 

  • Indulge your sweet tooth

Guaranteed to be a hit with any grandchildren that might be in tow. Take a trip to Roly’s Fudge Pantry on the High Street

This gorgeous Georgian shop has all manner of traditional-style sweet treats that would also make the perfect gift. Products range from the best-selling vanilla clotted cream and seasonal favourites from hot cross bun to Christmas pudding fudge. 

  • Crafty skills at Fisherton Mill

Proving to be much more than an art gallery. It’s one of Salisbury’s most beautiful restored buildings and home to an ever-changing array of affordable art, regular exhibitions and workshops. 

If you’re lucky, you might even see some of the skilled craftspeople at work. The gallery gift shop sells works from over 200 different artists, so you can find inspirational and unique gifts. 

What’s more, there’s also a multi-award-winning café that serves delicious coffee and cakes.

  • Take off for Boscombe Down 

Located in a hangar at Old Sarum airfield, this is very much a hands-on museum. You can sit in the cockpits of aircraft and see the actual restoration of historic planes.

The expert guides have an uplifting passion for their subject matter and is an absolute must for aviation enthusiasts.

  • Be at one with Stonehenge

An oldie but a goodie. While you could traipse around the stones at a respectful distance like the other tourists, we suggest making the annual pilgrimage for the summer solstice. 

It’s one of the best times to see the World Heritage site and allows a rare chance to enter the prehistoric stone circle. 

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