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Salisbury, England

The medieval cloister of Salisbury Cathedral, built 1264-70. Photo © Sacred Destinations.

Located in the valley of the River Avon 90 miles (145km) southwest of London, Salisbury is the only real city in Wiltshire, a scenic county rich with ancient sacred sites like Avebury and Stonehenge. Salisbury makes an excellent base for exploring those famous ancient sites, and the city also has several attractions of its own. The most notable is Salisbury Cathedral, whose 404-foot spire (the tallest in England) comes into view long before you enter the city. In 1219 Salisbury, also known as "New Sarum," became the new headquarters of the bishops of nearby Old Sarum, who had become fed up with the terrible weather in their original home. The pleasant medieval city is also known for its pubs — it is said to have one of the highest pub-to-citizen ratios in the country.

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Sacred Sites and Religious Attractions in Salisbury

  • Old Sarum
    This round plateau just outside the city was settled by Neolithic peoples, Romans, and Saxons before it hosted a Norman castle and cathedral from 1075 to 1219.
  • Salisbury Cathedral
    This 13th-century cathedral boasts the tallest spire in England, an elaborately sculptured west front, a beautiful chapter house with a copy of the Magna Carta, and a unique tower tour.
  • St Thomas Becket Church
    Built for the masons who worked on Salisbury Cathedral, this parish church is known for its unique and well-preserved medieval mural of the Last Judgment.