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“There was a young curate of Salisbury,
Whose manners were quite Halisbury-Scalisbury.
He wandered round Hampshire,
Without any pampshire,
Till the Vicar compelled him to Walisbury.”

Looking for the best things to do in Salisbury? We’ve got you covered.

From the city’s most historic sights to an age-old market tradition and even where to eat in Salisbury, this guide on how to spend one day in the UK’s most famous market city is perfect for first time visitors.

We’ve even included some bonus things to do in case you’ve got longer to spend in and around the city. Ready? Let’s go!

One Day in Salisbury Things To Do

Morning

Salisbury Cathedral

For over 750 years, many have made a pilgrimage to Salisbury Cathedral, so what better way to start your day? 

The cathedral is steeped in history, huge in size, beautiful throughout and has had many accolades bestowed upon it over the years. Like did you know that at 55m tall, the spire is the tallest one in Britain? Or that the cloisters are also the largest in Britain? Or that the cathedral’s clock is the oldest in the world?

You can easily spend 2-3 hours exploring the cathedral and walking around Cathedral Close – also the largest in Britain. And we haven’t even gotten to the best part about visiting Salisbury Cathedral yet… that comes next.

Important Info

Address: 6 The Close, Salisbury, SP1 2EJ
Cost: Voluntary donations are recommended at £7.50 per adult
Open: 365 days a year but some parts might be closed for major events 

Salisbury Cathedral

Magna Carta Chapter House

If the tallest spire and largest cloisters in Britain don’t inspire you to visit Salisbury Cathedral then its biggest draw most definitely will.

The cathedral is also home to one of four surviving 1215 Magna Cartas, which you can see up close on most days within the Chapter House building.

Magna Carta is one of the most famous symbols of justice, fairness and human rights in the world. It simply means ‘great charter’ and is a legal document issued by the king or queen to guarantee certain rights of their people, such as the right to a fair trial or that justice cannot be bought or sold.

Important Info

Address: 6 The Close, Salisbury, SP1 2EJ
Cost: Included within your voluntary donation to see Salisbury Cathedral
Open: 365 days a year but opening hours apply

Cathedral Close 

Surrounding Salisbury Cathedral is Cathedral Close. At 80 acres, it’s the largest in Britain and is home to notable things to do and historic buildings to see.

For instance, Arundells, the home of the former prime minister Sir Edward Heath houses collections of his sailing and musical memorabilia, Oriental and European ceramics, as well as various paintings, photographs and bronze sculptures. 

While Mompesson House, a majestic National Trust property, houses fine examples of period furniture and architectural details, as well as a charming walled garden and tea room.

Whether you choose to see inside these magnificent buildings or just photograph them as you walk around Cathedral Close, either way, you’ll be in awe.

Salisbury High Street Gate

High Street Gate

When you’ve finished walking around Cathedral Close, you should follow the signs for the High Street. This will take you through Salisbury’s High Street Gate for another up close and personal look at an incredible piece of history.

Built between 1327 and 1342, and boasting a statue of Edward VII, the High Street Gate once housed a small lock-up jail for those convicted of misdeeds within the liberty of the Close.

Today, it frames Salisbury’s historic High Street and Cathedral Close beautifully, making for a unique photo opp.

Important Info

Address: High Street, Salisbury, SP1 2PE
Cost: Free
Open: 365 days a year but locks at 11pm every night before reopening again at 6am the next day

Afternoon

Lunch at The Haunch of Venison

Fancy eating at a bar and restaurant that is well over 700 years old and probably the oldest hostelry in Salisbury?

Yeah, us too.

The Haunch of Venison pub was built circa 1320 and comes complete with rickety staircases, wooden floorboards and 16th century fireplaces. But it also serves some of the best food in the city.

It’s a little pricey but for a window into an interesting piece of history, it’s well worth the extra pennies.

Important Info

Address: 1 Minster Street, Salisbury, SP1 1TB
Cost: ££
Menu: Take a look at it here

Poultry Cross

After your lunch stop, you should also take a look at the Poultry Cross opposite the pub.

It would have once marked the site of a market, dates back to 1307 and is in surprisingly good condition given its age!

Important Info

Address: Butcher Row, Salisbury, SP1 2AQ
Cost: Free
Open: All year

Salisbury High Street

Although Salisbury’s High Street has all of the latest stores and restaurant chains you might expect, there are a couple of things we love about Salisbury that only a select few other cities in the UK can provide.

1. It’s pretty. From colourful bunting to potted flowers, wandering through the High Street (and photographing it) is a great way to while away an hour or two.

2. It’s historic. Nestled amongst the fast food chains and high street fashion stores are Tudor-style buildings and structures dating back even further than that. It’s both strange and wonderful to see at the same time.

Salisbury Poultry Cross

Salisbury Charter Market

Although you can go shopping anywhere, shopping in Salisbury has a different kind of ring to it entirely.

For over 800 years, markets have been happening all over the city. So visiting the famous Salisbury Charter Market in the heart of Salisbury town centre is like stepping back in history… if you use your imagination a little bit.

Today, the market sells everything from fruits and vegetables to meat and cheese to clothes, haberdashery and more. 

Important Info

Address: The Guildhall, Market Place, Salisbury, SP1 1JH
Cost: Free (obviously unless you buy something!)
Open: Tuesdays and Saturdays (except the third Tuesday in October when the Charter Fair arrives)
Remember: It’s an open air market and happens come rain or shine so pack your umbrella just in case

Queen Elizabeth Gardens

Queen Elizabeth Gardens is one of Salisbury’s largest parks and is a lovely way to spend a chilled afternoon.

The park has great views of the River Avon and Cathedral as its backdrop, as well as beautiful flower displays throughout.

It’s also known to house a kingfisher or two so keep your eyes peeled!

Important Info

Address: Cranebridge Road, Salisbury, SP2 7TD
Cost: Free
Open: Day and night, year round
Remember: The park is home to the ‘Music in the Park’ concerts throughout the summer. They’re free to attend so head on down between 2-4pm with your picnic!

Evening

Salisbury has had a Purple Flag status since 2012, which is awarded to towns or cities that offer “a gold standard” at night. 

In other words, Salisbury is recognised for being safe and welcoming to everyone, while providing a great mix of places to go and things to do in the evening in Salisbury.

Arts and Culture

Arts and culture are particularly big in Salisbury, so visits to the Arts Centre and Playhouse are well worth it. Salisbury Cathedral also holds concerts and recitals on some evenings, and Salisbury’s Purple Flag weekend (usually in September or October) sees special events and street art performances pop up across the city.

Nightlife

Or if you’d rather drink and dance the night away, then there’s plenty of bars and restaurants throughout the city worth visiting – most housed within historic buildings. While The Chapel Nightclub on Milford Street has themed club nights on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Chapel Nightclub

Got more time to spare? Love history? Try these other things to do in and around Salisbury!

The Salisbury Museum

The Salisbury Museum houses a huge collection of archaeological finds and treasures from Stonehenge and other local areas. The museum itself is also a Grade I listed building within Cathedral Close and once belonged to King James I of England in the 17th century.

Important Info

Address: The Kings House, 65 The Close, Salisbury, SP1 2EN
Cost: £8 per adult
Open: Everyday 10am-5pm. Sunday hours differ at 12-5pm

Old Sarum

The countryside surrounding Salisbury is ripe with history and interesting finds. Old Sarum is an Iron Age fort, which surrounds the ruins of an old castle and the footprint of Salisbury Cathedral, which was moved from this site and into the city. It’s definitely interesting to walk around – plus the views from the fort’s ramparts are excellent!

Important Info

Address: Castle Road, Salisbury, SP1 3SD
Directions: 10 minutes in the car from Salisbury town centre
Cost: £5.40 per adult, free for English Heritage members
Open: Daily, hours vary according to season

Stonehenge

Stonehenge is easily one of the most famous landmarks in Britain. It’s a prehistoric monument from circa 3000 BC to 2000 BC and is made of a large ring of tall standing stones, each weighing around 25 tons. Although its exact purpose is unknown, many believe it was once a burial ground as various human bones dating from as early as 3000 BC have been found here.

Important Info

Address: Near Amesbury, Wiltshire, SP4 7DE
Directions: Salisbury to Stonehenge takes just 20 minutes to drive and is approx 9 miles from the city
Cost: £19 per adult, free for English Heritage and National Trust members
Open: Daily, hours vary according to season
Remember: Entrance to Stonehenge is now managed through timed tickets. Advance booking is the only way to guarantee entry on the day and at the time of your choice. English Heritage and National Trust members must also book in advance for their free visit.

Wilton House

Wilton House is an English country house and has been the home to the Earls of Pembroke for well over 400 years. It’s a magnificent mansion both inside and out, so if you fancy walking in the footsteps of royalty for the day, then this is the place for you. Various movies and TV shows have also been filmed here since the 1970s, such as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, The Young Victoria, Johnny English Reborn, Tomb Raider and The Crown to name just a few. Just like Highclere Castle, Wilton House is a family home – this time for the Earl and Countess of Pembroke.

Important Info

Address: Wilton, Salisbury, SP2 0BJ
Directions: 10 minutes in the car from Salisbury town centre
Cost: £15.50 per adult, English Heritage members can take advantage of a 2 for 1 discount
Open: At certain times of the year and only on certain days – check their website before visiting
Remember: No photography is permitted inside the house


We hope this list of the best things to do in Salisbury is helpful. What are you most excited to see and do first? Let us know in the comments below…

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11 thoughts on “One Day in Salisbury: 15 Best Things To Do

  1. Bliss says:

    I really enjoyed Salisbury when I was there and I really enjoyed seeing the Magna Carta. Great blog post on it.

    1. It’s a beautiful city isn’t it? I’m glad you liked it too! 🙂

  2. Really interesting read will have to visit soon!!

    1. Thank you! I hope you can visit some day 🙂

  3. Kim says:

    A great blog that I’ll keep for next time I’m in the UK.

    1. Thanks Kim! I’m glad you enjoyed the blog post!

  4. Darcy says:

    I love this post! What a beautiful town, and I definitely need to see Wilton House and the Magna Carta Chapter House.

    1. Aww thanks Darcy! So pleased you liked our blog.
      Salisbury is both beautiful and historic; I hope you can visit someday! 🙂

  5. Interesting read! I have never visited Salisbury but it looks like a wonderful ancient city 😀

  6. Dani says:

    Posts about England always make me realise that I really need to start exploring more of my own country, and this was no exception! Salisbury sounds incredible, and your description of The Haunch of Venison made me soo desperate to go, haha.

    1. You’re so right! I think it’s so easy to forget about all the incredible places we have on our doorstep.
      A goal of ours is to see more of the UK next year for sure!

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