Cool Places - The best places to stay in the UK

The Best Places to Stay in the UK

Salisbury & Stonehenge

Salisbury styles itself ‘the city in the country’, but don’t let this misguide you. The Wiltshire capital’s city status comes not from size but Britain’s finest early Gothic cathedral. Were it not for this medieval marvel, Salisbury would just be the small, historic market town it appears to visitors, a place where river meadows reach into the centre. Even a wonky-beamed 13th century pub is a newcomer compared with Stonehenge, the prize of Neolithic Britain that lies eight miles north, complete with the timeless surrounding Wiltshire countryside.


Salisbury made its debut on the Old Sarum hill fort two miles north of the current city centre. A community developed around an 11th century Norman palace, but tensions between the military and sacred powers – the latter complained about their windswept hilltop, the former about the growing power of the church – led religious leaders to decamp, and in 1220 an arrow was fired from the hilltop to decide the location. It struck a white deer, they say, and where it died in meadows two miles south, a new cathedral was built from the stone of its predecessor. The populace, who cared more about everlasting souls than everyday military, followed. ‘New Sarum’ was laid out in a tidy grid and by the 14th century was the foremost town in Wiltshire.

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Salisbury & Stonehenge

Sticks, stones and undulating pastures in and around Wiltshire's unassuming county town.
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