Not London: but Salisbury
So whilst I’m chilling at home for a little while, I thought I’d low key give a shout out to this little town in the west country of England. A lot of people hate their home towns and although that was the case for me before I moved away for a few years, I’ve come back now and fallen a little bit in love with it.
A lot of people think the U.K is basically London, Edinburgh and maybe Manchester or Brighton, but with any country, there is so much more to it! So that’s what this series is about. Whilst I’m saving up for longer term travel I’m taking you on a journey around the U.K to the lesser known towns and cities that are oh so worth visiting. Buckle up cherubs!
Landmarks, site seeing and history
SO! To begin with, Salisbury! The main reason people come to this little corner of the world is this little landmark called Stonehenge.
Here’s the low down: Stonehenge is a neolithic monument, the first part being built 5,000 years ago. It’s only a short bus ride from Salisbury station and although you’re not actually allowed anywhere near the stones (unless it’s the solstice in which case you can go right up to them surrounded by 800 teenagers on mushrooms), you gotta go.
You can’t walk around Salisbury without running into the Cathedral. When you’ve grown up with it, you forget how impressive it is, but it’s actually one of the tallest spires in the U.K. It also holds one of the pieces of the Magna Carta (visited by Jay Z a few years ago proving Salisbury is clearly the place to be) and is surrounded by a bunch of lovely quaint houses and cool sculptures in the Close.
Salisbury itself is a pretty impressive city, with buildings a lot older than some countries. You can literally just walk around and run into some buildings that are hundreds of years old that have been casually converted into a pub or cafe.
Market Square & Poultry Cross
Medieval Salisbury was mainly a market town, which is what it became known as. We still have markets on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and whilst it still upholds the traditional English market tat stalls, you can find some pretty delicious food on it.
The Poultry Cross is just at the South East corner of the Market Square, and was used, unsurprisingly, to trade poultry. Now it’s just another random medieval thing in the centre of town that no local really pays attention to.
A 20 minute walk outside of the city centre is Old Sarum, where the original cathedral was built. It’s thought to have first become an iron age hill fort in 400BC (that’s a LONG time ago). Find out more here!
In the Cathedral close sits Salisbury Museum. I LOVE this museum and pretty much grew up in it, but anyone with a fondness of small town museums should give it a cheeky visit. It’s got a plethora (what a great word) of local history, including the giant and the hob nob. I’m not even going to tell you what that is, you’re just gonna have to visit and investigate for yourself.
Queen Elizabeth Gardens (Lizzie Gardens) & Town Path
Lizzie Gardens is a great park I literally spent my entire childhood in. On a summer’s day you can paddle/fish and jump across onto the little island, and a walk along town path to see the Cathedral from a new angle is GORGEOUS during sunset. Plus at the end there’s a really good pub, which is how all short walks should be ended in this part of the world.
Where to eat & drink
I’m somewhat versed in Salisbury’s cafes and restaurants, having worked or known people who have worked in a lot of them. Whether you want good coffee or a quaint tea room, we’ve got it. Salisbury has a ridiculous number of pubs too – you can almost drink at a new one every night of the year. (Although a lot of the ones me and my friends go to are actually the cheap dive bars rather than the nice pubs)
Boston Tea Party
(Low key shout out to my work place) Boston Tea Party is a west-country cafe chain. Not to brag, but our coffee is the best in Salisbury, plus we do all day breakfasts. In fact, if you read this and come in and say “I came here from Maps of Pangea” I’ll give you a free hot drink. (I’m literally sat here writing this right now)
If you’re of the veggie/vegan persuasion, Greengages is the best. Ironically an ex-butchers, it does the best sandwiches and traditional English lunches/tea.
Another west-country chain, if you want a snack, go to Reeves. Try the cheese straws. You will not be disappointed.
The Ox Row
I discovered this pub about 2 weeks ago, and it’s so lovely. I mean we all have our favourite local dive bar, but this one is reserved for extra posh nights because it’s one of those pubs with warm lighting, nice decor and comfy leather sofas. Kaching.
The New Inn
The New Inn has hands down best pub garden in Salisbury. (Also good food and nice bartenders)
A chain throughout the UK, but it’s literally my favourite place to eat pizza in Salisbury. It’s indescribably tasty.
This is the closest Salisbury gets to a chilled, hip bar. This is a young peoples bar, yet it doesn’t ever get the kind of white girl wasted boys and girls you get further into the centre of town. The drinks are reasonable, there’s a pool table, and there’s sometimes live music. What more could you need?
Anyway I feel like I might be one of the only residents of Salisbury (besides my mum) who actually believes it’s a great place to visit. But it is! There’s so much history and good food in this corner of the UK, and if you want a typical English town, you can’t get much better than Salisbury.