We have recently returned from two nights in Salisbury, staying at the historic Rose & Crown coaching inn on the fast flowing River Avon. I had read on the internet that it is haunted but unfortunately we didn’t see any ghosts! We arrived in Salisbury in the afternoon on the London train. What a relief it was to be able to walk down a gentle slope at the station rather than the user unfriendly steps that one encounters at so many other stations. It does make all the difference. We got a taxi to the hotel – a journey of about 10 minutes. It was a rather cold and grey March day, and unfortunately it remained like that for the two days of our stay, but our room in the hotel was cosy and warm.
On our arrival we began unpacking and then took a brisk walk into the centre of town. From our hotel it took about 12 minutes. We passed over a bridge and saw many elegant and listed houses and buildings on our way. We used the cathedral as our focal point to get to the centre. However I have to say that (unlike many towns) Salisbury’s tourist attractions are well signposted, and we easily found our way to the centre of town. One street (I think it was Catherine Street) consisted almost entirely of charity shops – 10 in all. I like to browse in charity shops, and here I was spoilt for choice
After a quick look in M&S and some of the other well-known stores we walked back to our hotel where we finished unpacking and prepared for our evening meal in the hotel restaurant.
The following day we set off into town soon after breakfast. My husband and I parted company so that I could look in the charity shops while he looked at the bookshops. At 12.30 we had an arrangement to meet my brother and his wife for lunch at Prezzo, which is located in a historic timbered building near to the cathedral. My brother and sister in law live in Bristol, so Salisbury is a useful place to meet, being halfway between our home and theirs.
After lunch we looked at Arrundells, it was the home of Edward Heath, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, but didn’t go inside, as we wanted to have a tour of the cathedral, which we did, after walking round the grounds for a while and taking photos of the (mostly wire) sculptures. There is also a sculpture of the Walking Madonna by the famous sculptress Elisabeth Frink.
The tour of the cathedral was excellent, very comprehensive and lasted about an hour. We were shown around by a very knowledgeable lady who explained everything very well. She told us that she has been a cathedral guide for 45 years. We learnt a lot, for example, we hadn’t realised that Salisbury cathedral has the highest mediaeval spire in the world. This was built in c. 1310-1330. There are tower tours that go up the spire but neither my husband nor myself has a good head for heights nor the energy to climb its 332 steps, so we decided to give that a miss.
After the tour we went into the cathedral bookshop which was very well stocked with souvenirs, and all types of merchandise. There is also a cafe which we didn’t visit on this occasion as we were still full up from lunch.
After another walk round the shops (there are certainly plenty in Salisbury) we slowly walked back to our hotel.
We would have liked to have visited more, but alas, time was against us. There are a number of museums, for example the Salisbury Museum, the Salisbury Art Centre, Mompesson House, the Old Sarum Airfield Museum, and various art collections, which all sounded interesting, as did Arundells, Edward Heath’s house, but unfortunately we just didn’t have enough time to do everything. Another time … we might even see a ghost next time too!
Jenny Lunn visited the area whilst she was a guest blogger at the Rose & Crown Hotel. Read Jenny’s review.