Map of SalisburyApparently, the 1st of May marks the start of National Bike Month, so where better to take a weekend away than Salisbury, with plenty of popular cycle routes taking you around its various world heritage sites, from the Iron Age settlement at Old Sarum, to Stonehenge – one of the wonders of the world. Spend your days taking in the sights of this quaint city and all that surrounds it on a bike tour, and spend the evenings soaking in the relaxed atmosphere of the centre, with great food and beautiful surroundings. Or ditch the bikes altogether, and simply spend the weekend enjoying the rich history and stunning natural beauty of this ancient market town.

Stay at…

The Pembroke Arms Hotel, which is just a few minutes’ drive from the centre, and was reopened under new management at the start of 2014. It now boasts beautifully furnished rooms and exquisite cuisine at affordable prices. The hotel forms part of the Wilton Estate, and stands directly opposite the impressive Wilton House, home to the Earl and Countess of Pembroke. With its elegantly quirky décor and regal connections one could almost feel transported back to a more stately time – that is, if it weren’t for the flatscreen TVs and music docking stations in every room…

Alternatively, why not rent your own holiday cottage, and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the countryside at your own leisure? With a number of converted barns, city centre flats and cottages to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice, whatever your tastes and budget.

Eat at…

The Charter 1227 Restaurant, right in the heart of the city centre, with views over the traditional market square. This family run restaurant is one of Salisbury’s best (the best, according to tripadvisor reviews!), and is headed up by award winning chef Danny Bozic. Offering delicious and exquisitely presented, creative dishes, Danny’s food is renowned in the area, and Charter 1227 is a firm favourite with the locals. This is a great spot for a romantic evening out, adding a decadent flair to your evening.

Follow up your meal with a drink or two at the Haunch of Venison – one of the city’s most historic pubs, with one of the most historic interiors in the UK. This friendly pub, dating back to 1320, is reportedly haunted by the ghost of a cheating card player, whose mummified hand lies proudly displayed in the ‘House of Lords’ bar. The ‘Horsebox’ was also the alleged meeting place of Churchill and Eisenhower while planning the D-Day landings.

Explore…

The Spiritual Mystery of Stonehenge
Dating back approximately 5000 years ago, the English Heritage site is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK, attracting up to 20,000 visitors for the summer solstice alone. These mystical stones have attracted many theories about their creation and original purpose, from alien landings to sacrificial alters, and whilst no one really knows, there is a strong spirituality that radiates from this ancient circle. For a truly intimate experience, tours of the inner circle are given before and after the site opens to the general public each day, but pre-booking is essential for this.

The Ancient Market Town of Old Sarum
The initial location of the city lies a couple of miles to the North of its current home. This incredible Iron Age hill fort was the original site of the cathedral, and has played home to Romans, Saxons and Normans across its lifetime. The site provides inspiring views across the Wiltshire countryside, and is a great location for a picnic – you can even bring the dogs (although they are not permitted into the centre settlement site). As with all English Heritage sites, Old Sarum is well equipped with signs and friendly staff to share its incredible journey, and it is well worth booking a tour.

The Cathedral with the tallest spire in Britain
This medieval masterpiece is a great day out for those with a passion for history. Construction of the ‘new’ cathedral started in 1220, after scarce water supplies and military disputes forced a move from the former city of Old Sarum, and it is now the resting place of one of only four copies of the Magna Carta, and arguably the best preserved one. It is of course free to come see the chapel and take part in a service, but you can also take a tour of the famous spire for a small fee. The grounds of the cathedral are a reason to visit in themselves, and are a great place for a picnic amongst the sculptures and the impressive exterior of the Cathedral.

Don’t miss…

The Ageas Salisbury Arts Festival on 23rd May – 7th June
Presenting a spectacular array of events from around the globe, this festival draws on a wealth of incredible artists from theatre, dance, film, visual arts, literature and outdoor events, and showcases them in incredible locations. The theme for this year’s festival looks North to the Nordic lands to explore the contrasts between light and dark, city and nature.

The Summer Solstice at Stonehenge on the 21st June
This yearly event marks the longest day of the year, and the progression of summer into winter. Thousands gather every year to watch the sun rise above the stones, and at dawn the Central Alter stone aligns with the Slaughter Stone, Heel Stone and the rising sun. This is also the only time when visitors are allowed up amongst the stones, as it is usually cordoned off for guest to look at from afar.

If you are taking a short trip to Salisbury this Spring or Summer let us know what you get up to at @MapMarketingUK!

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