Throughout lockdown, many people made the pilgrimage again to our household houses – and rediscovered them by way of contemporary eyes. Half information, half love letter, “Residence cities” is a brand new collection during which we rejoice the place we’re from.Legend has it that the positioning for the brand new metropolis of Salisbury was chosen by taking pictures an arrow from the settlement of Previous Sarum. The arrow struck a deer which ran for 2 miles earlier than falling on the website of the Cathedral. This arbitrary strategy to its location appears acceptable, as a result of every time I inform individuals the place I’m from I get the impression that they’re mentally taking pictures an arrow at a map of Southern England. Earlier than the Novichok poisoning that noticed it obtain worldwide notoriety in a single day, in my expertise Salisbury appeared to be recognized mainly because the place to get the bus to Stonehenge and the midway level of prepare journeys within the South West. Once I left for college, I believed this was a good evaluation. Believing your own home city to be essentially the most boring place on earth is a ceremony of passage, however absence undoubtedly made my coronary heart develop fonder, and the longer I spent away, the extra I discovered myself lacking this medieval metropolis.Salisbury can really feel like a city of two halves. It has three non-public and two grammar colleges and a few extremely costly actual property; however the centre of the town’s social life is a Wetherspoons, and I used to be as soon as approached in the course of the day by a person who’d simply moved to the world and wished some recommendation on the place he might need one of the best luck promoting heroin. This in some way makes it appear extra “actual” than true chocolate field cities like York or Tub – you’ll be able to look to your left and see a half-timbered constructing and, to your proper, a Shoe Zone.What strikes most guests, and what solely struck me by its conspicuous absence in different cities, is how effectively its medieval structure blends with the fashionable lifetime of the town. For instance, the cinema is a Fifteenth-century service provider’s home full with stained glass home windows and a minstrel’s gallery, and a espresso store within the centre gives you the possibility to drink your flat white and look out on the metropolis by way of the identical leaded window that William Shakespeare, Oliver Cromwell and Samuel Pepys (who all visited) might effectively have sought inspiration by way of. (Getty Photographs/iStockphoto)Salisbury does appear to have a knack for capturing the creativeness, from performing as the topic for what’s arguably Constable’s most interesting work, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, to offering the inspiration for Thomas Hardy’s Melchester and Anthony Trollope’s Barchester. There’s a wholesome arts scene nonetheless alive within the metropolis right now, together with an annual literary competition, theatre, arts centre, and suite of artisan studios within the transformed Fisherton Mill. Numerous creativity is crammed into Salisbury’s modest dimension.
What solely struck me by its conspicuous absence in different cities is how effectively Salisbury’s medieval structure blends with the fashionable lifetime of the cityTowering above every little thing is the cathedral – and it actually does tower. Being the tallest church spire within the UK, it not solely conjures up sympathetic vertigo when you’ll be able to often see some ant-like determine working near its peak, it additionally impressed William Golding, of Lord of the Flies fame, to put in writing The Spire whereas he taught on the grammar faculty. The cathedral has many boasts, together with a duplicate of the Magna Carta and one of many world’s oldest working clocks, and its cloister (additionally the biggest in Britain) usually has sculpture exhibitions that spill out into the grounds. As soon as, when strolling dwelling after an evening out, I suffered a wave of existential worry once I couldn’t work out if the determine sleeping on a life-size mannequin mattress was actual or a sculpture. Even within the chilly mild of day it was tough to inform. Let that be testomony to the standard of the exhibitions, that are price seeing in their very own proper. So, once you hear the monotone announcer declaring “we are actually approaching Salisbury” the subsequent time you’re passing by way of on the prepare, think about stepping off. And once you do, right here’s what to see. Retail therapyThe transformed Victorian Fisherton Mill hosts 12 artisans in on-site studios and sells the work of greater than 200 artists from the native space and across the UK. Additional alongside Fisherton Avenue you will discover Foxtrot Classic Clothes with its nice collection of males’s and girls’s trend. Simply throughout the bridge resulting in the town centre is the Rocketship Bookshop, a specialist for kids and younger people who has an unimaginable vary and infinite ardour for kids’s literature. The Salisbury Antiques Market on Catherine Avenue is effectively price seeing and stacks the treasures of 60 sellers over three flooring, with every little thing from books and vinyl to nice antiques (there’s additionally a restaurant tucked away on the prime).Salisbury has loads of impartial outlets alongside chains (Getty Photographs)Tea or espresso?One in all Salisbury’s greatest stored secrets and techniques is The Yard, a restaurant tucked a number of streets again from the station on Dews Street. In addition to a terrific vary of coffees, teas, and home-made desserts, additionally they promote items and homeware, and their upstairs seating space doubles as an artwork gallery. Greengages (on Catherine Avenue) with its inexperienced tiled exterior definitely appears to be like the half, and its high-quality strategy to conventional tearoom fare takes some beating.Time for the pubThere’s no scarcity of nice choices with regards to pubs in Salisbury. The Haunch of Venison is likely one of the area’s oldest, having been established circa 1320. It serves a terrific vary of ales in its warren-like downstairs bar, and wonderful meals – together with loads of venison dishes – upstairs. Don’t miss the mummified hand on show, left behind by a card cheat some 300 years in the past.The Previous Mill sits a bit of manner from the centre in a transformed paper mill. It’s a pleasing 10-minute stroll by way of Harnham Water Meadows and their riverside backyard is the right place to take a break if exploring this facet of the town.Take a stroll to Previous Sarum (Getty Photographs/iStockphoto)On a strollYou can stroll to Previous Sarum, the place all of it started for Salisbury, through the Avon Valley Nature Reserve. Previous Sarum is managed by English Heritage, and you’ll go to contained in the ruins – however even a stroll across the earthen ramparts is effectively definitely worth the hike for the views you’ll have throughout the countryside.Among the greatest structure within the metropolis may be discovered within the Cathedral Shut, together with the Nationwide Belief-run Mompesson Home. Push a bit of additional than the speedy environment of the Cathedral and there are many quaint homes to be discovered, notably across the Harnham Gate.Go seeAs one of many nation’s most recognisable landmarks, Stonehenge is indisputably price a go to. Drive and be ready for slow-moving visitors as everybody rubbernecks as they go, or take the shuttle bus from the prepare station. For those who plan your go to on the summer season or winter solstice you will get proper up and contact the stones; for the remainder of the 12 months you’re separated by a barrier and the wrath of the English Heritage stewards.Stonehenge in all its glory (Getty Photographs/iStockphoto)Have a kipWith its abundance of pubs, there are many choices for central lodging within the metropolis, however if you wish to keep in the identical institution as royalty, The Chapter Home has you lined. Rumoured to have hosted Kings Charles I and II, this resort is simply throughout the highway from the Cathedral Shut and the stone used to construct the Cathedral was reduce right here. It additionally has a restaurant and pub hooked up. Doubles from £125.