You can sense the history on every corner of Salisbury. There is so much to see and discover and tours that operate across the city really help bring the extraordinary heritage alive.
The Salisbury City Guides are a group of fully qualified Blue Badge guides who are passionate about sharing the city’s history, myths and legends.
Their Salisbury City walk introduces the main highlights of the city. They explain the history of the medieval city centre, showcase the cathedral and St Thomas’ church with its world-famous Doom painting and even the store where the Duke of Buckingham’s ghost haunts the Blue Boar Inn.
The Cathedral Close Walk gives visitors the chance to discover the magnificent architecture and interesting characters who lived in the fine old houses around Salisbury Cathedral since the 13century.
But if you prefer the spookier side of Salisbury, join the guides on their Classic Ghost Tour as they search for Salisbury’s secretive ghosts while explaining spine chilling tales of hauntings, witches, wizards and gruesome happenings from the city’s past.
The Salisbury City Guides offer tours in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish as well as English. They are also holders of the UK’s Institute of Tourist guiding Blue Badge, which is the highest guiding qualification in the UK. Find out more and book a tour here.
Salisbury Cathedral offers a range of guided tours. They have over 250 knowledgeable volunteer guides who will welcome you and help you get the most from your visit
There are free guided tours around the cathedral itself, or maps if you would prefer to wander around on your own. There is also a free Stained Glass Tour, where guides highlight the rich history behind the stained-glass windows that still dazzle today. And, between April and October there is also the opportunity to take their free tour of the Cathedral Close to see the rolling lawns and heritage buildings that date back to the 1200s.
Back inside the building, you could also take the breathtaking Tower Tour. Climb 332 steps in easy stages and explore the ancient roof spaces of the cathedral. Reach the foot of the iconic spire, 68 metres above ground level, and get a chance to see up inside. It is definitely one of the best views of the surrounding landscapes and a unique view of the cathedral itself. Find out more and book your cathedral tour here.
Pick-up a bus from Salisbury city centre for a journey back to prehistoric times. The Stonehenge Tour is operated by Salisbury Reds which runs hop-on hop-off tours to Old Sarum, through the beautiful Wiltshire countryside to Stonehenge; one of the wonders of the world and the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe.
On board they have commentary in 10 different languages with guides explaining about historical tales and facts that took place in the area. They offer an all-in-one ticket which gives priority entrance to Stonehenge and its visitor centre as well as the tour, Old Sarum and Salisbury Cathedral. Or just pay for the bus tour and enjoy the ride through the Wiltshire landscape. Find out more here.
If you would rather put together your own tour of the city then the new Salisbury Trails App will make sure you don’t miss out on any of the key historical points of interest. The free location-aware app will guide you through Salisbury's key landmarks, historic sites and cultural and arts venues explaining the stories behind them. There are also three themed trails:
1) A Medieval Meanderings trail taking you through the medieval streets and into historic buildings.
2) A trail that takes users through the trials and tribulations experienced by the city with Witchcraft, Riots and Treason.
3) Inspired by Salisbury Civic Society's book Salisbury In Detail, the #LookUpSalisbury trail highlights some of the strange and fun features of the city's historic buildings including a bear, a lion and the mythical symbol of Wessex - the Wyvern.
Please note, due to Covid restrictions some tours may not be operating or may be operating in a different way. Please check with tour operators to avoid any disappointment.