It is a city where extraordinary is ordinary. Whether you are a resident who has lived in the area all your life, or a visitor spending a day in our beautiful city, there are secret Salisbury gems just waiting to be discovered.
Not many people know that there is a beautifully serene garden at the back of The Rifle's Museum in Salisbury’s Cathedral Close. Sit on the lawn on a summers day and watch the wildlife play along the winding river. Those in the know buy an annual garden membership of just £5 so they can take their lunch break here and really get away from the world for an hour.
The Fisherton Mill is the largest independent art gallery in the south west. Not only can you buy art pieces here but you can watch artists at work in their studios. See the magic happen in front of your very eyes! The Gallery gift shop sells works from over 200 different artists, including paintings, jewellery, ceramics, and glassware, then, to top off your visit take a seat in their café to taste some of their award-winning offerings. The Gallery Café has been recognised four times in the Observer's national Food Awards, while the Daily Telegraph described their puddings as "to die for".
There are many things to see and do at Salisbury Cathedral, but what many forget is to head upwards! The Tower Tour is definitely a hidden highlight. Climb 332 steps in easy stages and explore the ancient roof spaces. You’ll reach the foot of the iconic spire, 68 metres above ground level, and get a chance to see up inside. After the climb, you’ll be rewarded with an aerial view of the inside of the Cathedral and panoramic views of Salisbury and the surrounding countryside you won’t find anywhere else. (**Please note the Tower Tour is suspended until further notice due to Covid restrictions.)
Hidden away in the captivating Cathedral Close is the Salisbury Museum café. We don’t think we need to say much about why we’ve chosen this to be on the list –just look at the photo below! What a perfect location.
If you want a unique view of the city then Salisbury Punting is the place to go! Escape the pavements and step onto a punt for a chauffeured tour along the River Avon. You can sit back and relax as your guide sweeps you through the city to take in sites including Salisbury Museum, the Bishop’s Canonry, Medieval House - as well as pointing out all the wildlife on show. Being the only punt on the River Avon, this really is a unique hidden gem.
The Town Path is a popular route that runs from Queen Elizabeth Gardens to Harnham. It meanders through the Harnham Water Meadows where you can spot wildlife along the way and see the location where Constable painted his famous Salisbury scene. The Town Path ends at The Old Mill at Harnham, a popular historic pub that offers beautiful riverside views for walkers, runners or cyclists to stop and marvel over as they recharge.
The New Inn is one of the oldest pubs in Salisbury. This charming olde world inn serves great food and award-winning beers in a cosy environment but it is outside where you want to head. In their beer garden you will find magnificent views of the Cathedral spire. Sit back, relax, order a drink and gaze up at the architectural genius that has towered over Salisbury for 800 years.
The Secret Garden is a community garden set in the rambling and wild city church yard of St Clements on Mill Road. It is a charming, tranquil green space that promotes the conservation of wild bee species, birds, beetles and other wild things. Named as one of the best educational spaces about bees by both the Telegraph and Friends of the Earth. Open monthly for visits and regular fundraising open days are held, with activities, workshops and talks. Visit The Secret Garden for up-to-date times and events.
If you think Mompesson House in the Cathedral Close looks familiar then that may well be because of its starring role in 1995 film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. Scenes from the movie were shot in the Queen Anne townhouse but it is the garden that needs special attention. The walled area has a pergola, a lavender walk and a lawn fringed with rose beds and herbaceous beds.
There are so many gems to see in Salisbury we could go on! If you want to dig a little deeper though, the City Guides are on hand to show you more of the hidden parts of the city or The Stonehenge Tour takes in the three big attractions: Salisbury Cathedral, Old Sarum and Stonehenge too. Visit our tours page for further information.
If you would like to discover our architectural gems, we have those too.