This was our third visit to Salisbury in recent years. It was also, once again, the impetus for our visit to the UK. As before, Craig had a week of work meetings and Jennifer spent the week walking, touring, and taking advantage of the nice weather. Salisbury is most famously known for its 13th century cathedral, but it also has a very nice market square and city centre. While Craig was at work, Jennifer reacquainted herself with the local area. Evenings found us exploring new and familiar restaurants and pubs for dinner and drinks and dodging the sprinkles of the nighttime showers.
No blog about Salisbury is complete without some story and photos of the famous cathedral. Salisbury Cathedral was built over a period of more than 38 years in the mid 13th century. Before I start running on about how amazing the cathedral is, I must first admit I am fascinated by it. Just imagining how many people it took to build it, with wooden mallets, no computer aided design or calculators, with perfectly fitted stones and mortar that has lasted 800 years. It just amazes me. The first day we were there the sky was clear and blue and a magnificent background for this spectacular cathedral.
This year they are working on the last small section on the far end of the cathedral after a major top-to-bottom renovation and repair which started in 1986! The spire and tower were completely refurbished and the front on the west side, which is the main entrance, took over 5 years and over 90% of the roof was completely replaced.
Unfortunately for us, they were filming in the cathedral the week we were there and had suspended most of the tours and inside visits. We did get to walk around the close and in the courtyards, however.
We also walked the grounds and the pathways. The cathedral is more than just the building. It is also the grounds and land surrounding it. The fields around the cathedral are grassy pastures where the bishops grazed their cattle and livestock. They are called the Harnham Water Meadows. The meadows are actually a network of subtle canals that channel water and keeps the entire area irrigated. It also makes for a wonderful walk with incredible views of the cathedral.
Just south of the grounds is the small village of Harnham. It is on the River Avon and has a classic traditional pub, The Old Mill. We did not get a chance to have lunch and a pint, but it is on our list for next time.
Salisbury is more than just the cathedral. We spent time walking through the shops and markets. Ox Row is along the market square and home to some nice pubs and restaurants. We enjoyed dinner at the Wig and Quill and the Chapter House and we spent way too much time in the Waterstone Bookstore. 🙂
Even after our multiple visits to Salisbury, we still find new places to explore. This visit we spent time at the Church of St Thomas Beckett. It dates back to the 1200’s and was a place for the cathedral workers to worship. It has changed quite a lot over the years and is known for its Doom Painting mural on the wall of the great arch. Painted in the late 1400’s, then covered with whitewash in the late 1500’s and not discovered again until the early 1800’s. It represents the Last Judgement. The stained glass is breathtaking as well.
Another trip to Salisbury and another reconnection with a place that we have grown very comfortable in. We had a great visit and enjoyed our time. But even with all our adventures and exploration, after a week our traveling instincts kick in and it is time to move on. Next stop, a trip to James Harriot/All Creatures Great and Small country in Yorkshire.