Salisbury and District
A Castle, Knights, Bishops, Queens, Cabbages and Kings, 5 Rivers, 3 Cathedrals and a Magna Carta - a City built through Place and its People.
The story of Salisbury starts at an Iron Age hill-fort 2 miles north of the present city. It was here that the first cathedrals were built, where the mint was transferred and where William the Conqueror built a castle. Nothing quite evokes the passage of time as standing in the place where our ancient families lived and died. It was from here that the city moved to it's present site and a glorious Cathedral was built all starting in the year 1220. Come and visit all that our Medieval City has to offer.
We are Blue Badge Guides ready to show you our great Medieval City and the fascinating history that surrounds it.
If you want to find out more about how Salisbury became the bustling Cathedral City it is today, or looking to explore the history of Salisbury and its surrounding areas, take a look through the range of guided tours and trips we offer.
The story of Salisbury starts at an Iron Age hill-fort two miles north of the present city. It was here that the first cathedral was built, where the...
Birth of a City. Death of a Knight
Insults from licentious soldiery, being forced to buy water and scarcely able to keep the roof on the Cathedral because of the high winds...
King Ina, King Alfred The Great, King William I and subsequant monarchs all had strong associations with Old Sarum and Salisbury...
The third Cathedral to be built following the two at Old Sarum was built in two stages, the first without the spire. When the spire was...
Carpenters, stone masons, plumbers and maybe tinkers and tailors, all came to this Medieval City with it’s emerging Cathedral where nothing much had...
From a ‘murdered’ Knight, a beheaded Duke to a Nobel Laureate, all who have lived here and walked these streets have left their marks on Salisbury...
Salisbury is a city full of history, and with such a long and detailed past come a range of events, stories and individuals that help flesh out the city and the people that are dotted throughout Salisbury’s timeline.
- Arts & Heritage
- Festivals & Events
- Houses & Gardens
- Outdoor Activities
This years events
This Link connects you to the “Salisbury Experience” site which has up-to-date information and details of future events.Find out more
The Museum can be found in the Close and is housed in the “King’s House”. The very first historical collection is called the “Drainage Collection” and this can be seen in the Museum today. ...Find out more
William Golding Nobel Laureate at Studio Theatre
It is not every small city that has it’s very own amateur theatre housed in it’s very own purpose built studio. Salisbury is fortunate in that it has this facility to offer visitors. The local ...Find out more
This Playhouse has a new building but it remains at the heart of the city. There is a wide selection of entertainment on offer as the building boasts two performance spaces, a youth group that ...Find out more
An Arts Centre with a difference – the 14th century barn that houses the multi-purpose gallery and arts centre is worth seeing for the barn alone. On top of this there are intriguing sculptures on ...Find out more
Why not take a walk around the garden and view the pieces of art that surround the house? This arts space is not the usual, it is the unusual. The artwork on show demands attention amongst the ...Find out more
Vintage Nostalgia Festival
The Vintage Nostalgia Festival is a celebration that focuses on the past and all that was great between the turn of the Century and the 1980's. It covers a great range of interests including ...Find out more
Southern Cathedrals Festival
The three great Southern Cathedrals of Salisbury, Winchester and Chichester join together to celebrate a treasure of Cathedral Music every July. Organ and Choirs combine for performances both ...Find out more
Salisbury Literary Festival
Salisbury Literary Festival was launched in October 2017, born from the growth and development of Salisbury Writing Circle. The festival aims to strongly support local content and celebrates ...Find out more
The Summer Solstice
The Summer Solstice marks Mid-Summer and the longest day of the year. It falls between June 20 and June 22 each year in the Northern Hemisphere. The term solstice is made up of the Latin 'sol' ...Find out more
This garden, near to the town of Romsey in Hampshire, has a most unique collection of trees, shrubs, hardy native plants and seasonal displays in it’s 180 acres. It is a heritage garden. A garden ...Find out more
Stourhead and Gardens
This garden is, without a doubt, one of the most picturesque gardens in Wiltshire. It was the home of a very wealthy but somewhat unfortunate family, the Hoares. They had their own share of blessings ...Find out more
Minterne Magna House and Gardens
A little bit of heaven... As you walk from the car-park across the road to the large gates of Minterne House, you know that this estate is going to be different. There is something altogether ...Find out more
Athelhampton House & Gardens
One of Dorset’s secret gems, Athelhampton House never fails to impress. Built in 1485 by Sir William Martyn, the Great Hall is one of the finest examples of fifteenth century domestic architecture ...Find out more
Mottisfont Abbey & Gardens
A stately home with old roses. Originally an Augustinian Priory dissolved in 1536 by King Henry VIII. A house with the remnants of what it was and echoing with the centuries that followed. It was in ...Find out more
Heale House Gardens
Look carefully at the house and grounds, for King Charles II hid here in 1651 on his way to the coast and safety. The route that led him to the coast is now known as the “Monarch Way”. Along this ...Find out more
Wilton House & Gardens
A house with history. From a Benedictine Nunnery established in the eighth century in what was then the capital of Wessex, Wilton House and village now has the gentle air of style combined with ...Find out more
Cowes Week is traditionally held during the week beginning on the first Saturday after the last Tuesday in July (except where the tides make the traditional dates virtually unworkable). This eight ...Find out more
New Forest Show
Ever seen prize-winning bulls strut their stuff in a spectator lined arena? Or watched some of the oldest, ancient breeds of sheep win awards? Well, if you want to see the “best of the best” of ...Find out more
What could be more pleasant than drinking mulled wine whilst viewing Christmas gifts on display in wooden chalets? Salisbury Christmas Market attracts locals and visitors to this Medieval City. The ...Find out more
Salisbury racecourse is a flat racecourse on the edge of the City featuring thoroughbred horse racing. 15 race meetings a year are held between May and October some evening races also include ...Find out more
St George’s Day
Salisbury has celebrated the patron Saint of England's Day (23rd April) for a very long time. It is thought that St George died in AD 303 when he was tortured and executed in Palestine, becoming an ...Find out more
Moments in History
1078-1092 The building of the first Cathedral at Old Sarum by Bishop Osmund 1220 Foundations of new Cathedral in City of Salisbury are laid 1227 Henry 2nd grants first charter giving right to hold ...Find out more
1627 was not a good year in Salisbury. At the height of summer that year, the first victims of a disease that had ravaged other areas of the country made a rude appearance in the City. The plague had ...Find out more
John Constable, JMW Turner, Barbara Townsend, Lawrence Whistler and Rex Whistler John Constable came to Salisbury in 1811. He was to be a regular visitor. Initially he came as a guest of Bishop ...Find out more
William Golding, Thomas Hardy, Leslie Thomas, T.E Lawrence, Samuel Pepys, Bill Bryson These are the writers of which Salisbury is famous for. Who cannot have read William Golding’s “Lord of ...Find out more
William Shakespeare visited Salisbury in 1603. He stayed with his players in the Old George Inn, now the Boston Tea Party. This was an old coaching inn where horse drawn carriages pulled into where ...Find out more
The Chequered City
The new city of Salisbury was designed on a grid system of streets. These are known as “Chequers”. Each chequer would be named after an inn or a dominant landlord. They do have the most ...Find out more
Building the impossible
Looking up at Salisbury Cathedral today it seems impossible that the building was started over 800 years ago. With no mechanisation and handmade tools, this extraordinary building took centre stage ...Find out more
In medieval times it was good to have a local saint. Some places had very significant saints, others had a group of lesser well-known saints. Why was it important to have one, or two? Great ...Find out more
One of the most powerful men in the eleventh century came to Old Sarum. He did not speak the language that well because he came from Normandy in France. His name was William. It must have been a ...Find out more
Looking to explore the history of Salisbury and its neighbouring areas? Take a look through our the range of guided tours and trips we offer. We aim to offer bespoke tour packages that can include multiple tours and take place over half or full days, or longer. Please get in touch to find out more information about booking a tour with Salisbury's Chequered History Guides.
Old – New Forest
Animals roam free in this very special area of Hampshire. Not the animals of a safari park, but the domestic sort, ponies, ...
Older – Stonehenge
The UNESCO World Heritage Site is eleven miles from Salisbury Cathedral. Two marvels of man’s ingenuity in ...
Oldest – Jurassic Coast
Here are 250 million years of creation, the Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous and Tertiary ages on show. Who was Mary ...
There is a theory that it may have been Chichester where the Romans landed to invade Britain in AD43. It’s quite ...
It is here that the Romans came in 43AD. They called it “Durnovaria”, built an aqueduct and marched out again in 410AD. ...
Isle of Purbeck
This Isle is in fact a peninsula and the name refers to the shape of the peninsula which is the shape of a Bittern's beak. ...
The Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is shaped like a diamond and sits in the Solent, within view of Southampton. It is near yet far, close yet ...
The two working ports of Southampton and Portsmouth are historic in very different ways. Medieval Southampton was the centre ...
Winchester Cathedral and Historic City of King Alfred The Great
Who cannot be intrigued by the ancients, the Celtic tribes, and the constant skirmishes of the Wessex rulers with the Danes? ...
The Illustrated Map of Salisbury and District
Salisbury's Chequered History Guides commissioned local artist Nick Hill to produce a hand drawn map of Salisbury, highlighting key areas of the city's history. This unique map of the city is available to buy as a limited edition print from selected retailers across Salisbury. Alternatively you can download a copy of the map as a PDF to print from home by clicking the link below.