This Cathedral has the highest church spire in England. If you look at the columns to the left and right of the altar you can see that they are badly warped. This is due to the fact that ground is sinking. There is a metal plate on the floor to the right of the altar. The plate is removed and the water content of the earth below is checked. If the earth gets to dry they call the city which opens up the dam to raise the water table. This in turn keeps the church from "sinking" and the columns from getting further warped from the weight of the spire.
I heard this story from one of the volunteers at the church. if you have the time talk to some of them. they are full of interesting and funny stories.
Most people travel to Salisbury from London to go to Stonehendge. It is quite a pricey day trip from London. The train ticket will cost about 25 pounds, the bus from the train station to Stonhendge will set you back about 7 pounds and admission will run about 6 pounds but it is worth it. An audio guide is included in the admission price. It explains how they believe the stones were transported, what stood on the site hundreds of years before the stones did and why they believe the site was inportant.
Don't expect to be able to go up to the monument. There is a rope prohibiting it. You can't get any closer then about 100 ft.
A beautiful Anglican cathedral built in the 11th century with the arches and stained windows with one of the highest spire in England.
There was an altar to remember the politicians of conscience of all over the world when I visited then. Not sure if it is still there.
It is amazing the height reached by the builders of this cathedral and the beauty and tranquility achieved in the interior. Definitely worthy of a stop to check out this work of architecture.
Stonehenge...what can I say about actually seeing it in person.
Well first the actual tip and then I'll just ramble a bit if you don't mind.
1. Pay the money to go and see it up close (as close as you can get without being arrested). It seems lots of people climbed the fence and take pics over top of it as they don't want to spend the money on a ticket...whatever...you're supporting a heritage - pay the money - don't be so cheap.
2. We went fairly early in the morning and the tour buses had not shown up yet! :-)
Ok, now for the rambling...
Well first of all, when it came into view while driving in the car, a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail popped into my head and I looked at my husband and said "It's only a model!"
Because thats how it felt. I have no idea why.
The whole experience was a little sureal. After seeing photo's of it, television shows about it and being told about it, when finally I got there it was a little...weird.
It was like...ok...there it is...ok...so...
It wasn't a let down...it was just...well you're standing there looking at it...the wind is whipping the skin from your bones...and what you really want to do is crawl under the rope fence or whatever it was...and go right up and touch the stones. But of course you can't as the "henge guards" are everywhere so its not as if you're going to make a break for it.
That and you'd end up in a thousand other tourists photographs as they're all standing around doing the same thing you're doing...having their picture taken with all of their hair blown to one side of their head. It was comb over city!
I don't regret it by any means. It was a really cool experience, but moreso in retrospect. I left with a very unreal feeling about it. Perhaps its because you don't get to visit something that was built in 3100 BC very often.
Salisbury has one attraction that stands head and shoulders above all other.
Built in less than 100 years, Salisbury cathedral is often seen as one of the finest achievements of medieval England. As there have been few significant additions (except the very fine chapter house), it has a certain architechtural pedigree. Most other cathedrals are mongrels by comparison possessing a mish-mash of different styles.
The cathedral 'close' helps make Salisbury a very picturesque place to be. The 'close' is a collection of various houses, museums and other building grouped around a large mainucured lawn. This gives it a quintessentially 'bucolic English' feel, although I would nominate cathedrals such as Lincoln and Durham above Salisbury, due to their more dramatic setting.
The cathedral itself contains a few 'modern art' additions, whilst the chapter house contains a copy of the Magna Carta (one only four in existence).
Entry cost around five quid, and despite appearance it is a voluntary contribution - so it is between you and your conscience.
Stonehenge is one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world ,and although you can't get close up to the Stones as you used to be, it is still an overwhelming site and one of the most fascinating places you can ever see.
Only try not to be there in the rain as we were, because there is nowhere to shelter!
The sheep in the fields around the ancient site are very sweet too.
Get the free audio guide,it's very useful and interesting.
I don't have my own photos as it was raining there too much but I am sure you have seen other pix of it on VT
We walked around the town of Salisbury on our West of England trip , and found the Cathedral to be a fascinating place.
What is special about Salisbury Cathedral?
* Britain's finest 13th Century Cathedral.
* Britain's tallest spire (123m/404ft).
* The best preserved of only four surviving original Magna Carta (AD1215).
* A unique 13th century stone frieze of bible stories in the Chapter House.
* Europe's oldest working clock (AD1386).
* The largest Cathedral Close in Britain (80 acres).
* Britain's largest Cathedral Cloisters.
* The largest and earliest set of Quire stalls in Britain.
* Boy and girl choristers continue a tradition of worship that goes back nearly 750 years.
Because it's the oldest working clock in Europe (and possibly the world) and a very impressive piece of machinery (most of which is original).
Dating from at least 1386, possibly earlier, and made of iron, the clock was originally housed in a bell tower. When this was demolished in the 18th century the clock was moved and forgotten about. In 1929 it was rediscovered and moved back into the cathedral proper, where it now stands. Restorative work in 1956 got it working again, although the striking mechanism has been silenced.
With the tallest spire in Britain (at 123m) and a wealth of interesting bits and pieces within its airy spaces it's an obvious 'must-see'.
The original cathedral was built in Old Sarum, and Iron Age earthwaork just outside the present city. This building was destroyed by a storm, and its stones were re-used to create the existing cathedral. It took only 38 years to build (1220 - 1258); a stunning achievement when one considers its complexity (the spire was added a hundred years later).
See my 'off the beaten path' tips for some info on things you might well miss within the Cathedral itself.
Malmesbury House in the cathedral close is a place of historical interest. It was originally built in the thirteenth century and was the home of the first Earl of Malmesbury. The west facade was added by Sir Christopher Wren in 1688. Famous visitors here include Handel and King Charles II, who came here to escape from the plague. It is currently closed to visitors, so you can only view it from the outside.
This is where William Golding, one of the greatest literary figures of the twentieth century, spent his working life. He won just about every literary prize going, including the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Booker Prize, but I can't help feeling a little bit sorry for him, tucked away in this little courtyard, in a small town in Wiltshire, teaching schoolboys all of his life, some of whom he probably caricatured in his novel "Lord of the Flies". Goodbye Mr.Chips?
Well, I have looked at it a few times, but I still haven't figured out how you tell the time from it. But, it is certainly a fascinating mechanical contraption that looks about 500 years ahead of its time and I guess if you were a mechanical engineer, this would be your holy grail. To me it looks like a giant clockwork toy, complete with the turning key at the side for winding it up
The clock was built in 1386 and originally placed in the cathedral's bell tower. It has no face, so you cannot see the time, but it struck the bell on the hour.
Salisbury's proper name really is New Sarum and this is the old part of a very ancient city. SItuated just a few minutes outside Salisbury, this hill was populated in prehistoric times when a ditch was dug and tribes lived here. Then the Romans took over the site before it was settled by the Normans in medieval days when William the Conqueror expanded it. It is from this time onwards that the various palace ruins are from. There was an old and a new palace but today both are in ruins. It is still a nice place to stroll around though, and you get information on what has been where. As you are at the top of the hill, you can also look down and it is quite fascinating to think that there was once a thriving town below the fortress. It also had a cathedral which you see the foundation layer of in a corner below the hill. This all fell into decline when the church and the king started to disagree and the bishop decided to move the cathedral to what is now Salisbury. The web site below will tell you what it might have looked like in its heydays. There are great city views from Old Sarum back towards Salisbury and its cathedral. You can see more on my Old Sarum page. From up here, you also get great views back to Salisbury (see second photo).
We had too little time for this museum and did not see its famous porcellain- and costume collection but chose to focus on the historical bits which include an exhibition on Stonehenge and other prehistoric sights in the area, as well as some Roman remains found and much more, and also tells you about the local geology. The Stonehenge bit shows you how the monument might have been built and there are some interactive displays where you can try theories. If you visit this museum, you need to consider whether you want to visit it before your visit to Stonehenge so you understand the monument better, or perhaps afterwards so you can compare their information with what you've seen. To be ctd.
As with many properties close to the cathedral, this one too started its life as a church building in the form of a canonry in the 14th century. It is however its later history that is most interesting as both Charles II (escaping the plague) and Händel have been guests here when the Earls of Malmesbury owned the house. It was also in their time that it was given its Wren facade on one side. Even later, in 1749, this is where the Gregorian Calendar Act was first accepted and Britain joined the rest of Europe in using the Gregorian rather than the Julian calendar - something that had set Britain's dates 11 days wrong when it finally changed. You can see a beautiful clock on the outer wall when walking past. When we visited in 2007, the house was closed for renovations so do call in advance if you plan a visit as no date for reopening was given.