Salisbury Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Salisbury

Salisbury is one of the UK’s oldest and most historic and cities. It is also a city surrounded by beautiful scenery and is often called the City in the Countryside. As there is so much to see in Salisbury, it makes an excellent choice for exploring on foot whilst you soak up its history. On this self guided walk, you will visit Salisbury Cathedral (which is home to the famous Magna Carta), see the timbered buildings and shop at Old George Mall, and explore its many historic buildings in the ancient city center.
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Salisbury Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Salisbury Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: England » Salisbury (See other walking tours in Salisbury)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 18
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Author: Sandra
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Market Square and Guildhall
  • John a' Port's House & William Russel’s House
  • Bucher Row
  • Poultry Cross
  • The Maltings
  • The Bishop’s Mill
  • Clock Tower
  • Old George Inn & Mall
  • Hall of John Halle (Odeon Cinema)
  • Best Western Red Lion Hotel
  • St. Ann Gate & Close Wall
  • Salisbury Cathedral
  • Medieval Hall & Old Deanery
  • The Rifles (Berkshire & Wiltshire) Museum
  • Mompesson House
  • High Street Gate
  • Crane Bridge
  • Queen Elizabeth Gardens
Market Square and Guildhall

1) Market Square and Guildhall

Located in the heart of the city, the Guildhall is the most significant landmark on Market Place. Salisbury's market began in the 13th century and grew quickly, becoming the city’s cultural, trade and business center. The present Guildhall building was constructed in the late 1700s and was renovated several times over the years. The most recent renovation took place in 1991. Today it’s a single-story brick structure with six tall columns. It served as the courthouse and government building until 1927. Now the Guildhall hosts weddings, as well as business and cultural events. A World War memorial stands at the entrance.
John a' Port's House & William Russel’s House

2) John a' Port's House & William Russel’s House

John a’Port’s House and William Russel’s House, located in the Market Place next to Guildhall, are regarded as the oldest buildings in Salisbury. They are twinned timber-framed buildings with pointed roofs. John a’Port’s Hous was constructed in 1425 by Salisbury's mayor John a’Port. William Russel’s house was built in 1306 but appears newer because of its false facade. Both houses have remarkable interiors with dark beams, fireplaces, chiseled stairs and Elizabethan paneling. The buildings were refurbished in 1930, and they now house Watsons and a specialty china shop.
Bucher Row

3) Bucher Row

Butcher Row is a paved pedestrian area lined with individually-owned shops. Hawkins Bazaar is toy shop where you can find a number of funny items and gifts. Fat Face sells casual clothes for men and women, while tReds offers affordable fashion footwear from famous brands. There is mobile phone shop, named Phones 4U, which provides the latest models from the UK's leading mobile networks. A real gem in this area is the jewelry store Goldsmiths, which is housed in a Tudor timber-framed building. Goldsmiths is one of the leading retailers of quality watches, timepieces, jewelry, crystal items and gifts. And if you're in need of a break, visit Costa Coffee, Stobys or Reeve The Baker for a coffee and snack.
Poultry Cross

4) Poultry Cross (must see)

Poultry Cross is a historic structure that was originally built in 1335. It is located in the center of the city's historic market place, near Silver Street. It is named Poultry Cross, because it once housed stalls where vendors would sell birds and fowl. The present structure dates back to the 15th century, with some additions from 1852. In the area surrounding Poultry Cross, trade stands still operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
The Maltings

5) The Maltings (must see)

The Maltings was named after the medieval malthouses. Today it is a delightful modern development that has remained true to its historic roots. This open-air shopping center occupies about six hectares. The old mill and other structures were turned into specialty stores. There are cafeterias and pubs here, and a pleasant riverside walk to the city is available for pedestrians.
The Bishop’s Mill

6) The Bishop’s Mill

The Bishop’s Mill, also called the Mill, sits on the riverside next to Bridge Street in the Maltings shopping area. The mill was once owned by the Bishop of Old Sarum and was built in the 17th century. Bishop Richard Poore, one of the city's founders, helped restore the building in the 18th century. It is a two gabled building made of pebble and flint stone. Today it houses a modern style bar and a restaurant. Its riverside setting provides a spectacular view.
Clock Tower

7) Clock Tower (must see)

The Clock Tower is situated on Fisherton Street near Fisherton Bridge. Little Ben is the local's name for this Victorian landmark. It was erected in 1892 by Doctor John Roberts in memory of his wife. The clock atop the tower has several dial-pieces and a carved stone plate in the foundation. Manacles are pictured on the plate as a symbol of the prison, which was once located on the site.
Old George Inn & Mall

8) Old George Inn & Mall

Old George Inn, built in 1361, was one of city’s oldest inns. Only part of the original Old George remains, but it now has Grade 1 Listed Building in England status. Inside is a wonderful banqueting hall with wooden panels, bunched pillars, oak timbers and a large stone fireplace. Roughly carved heads of Edward II and Queen Isabella are above the pillars. The inn has kept its steep 18th-century staircase, rough floors, Tudor plasterwork decorations and remarkable bay window.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Old George Inn is its impressive guest list. The diarist Samuel Pepys stayed here for one night and when he saw the bill, he became infuriated and had a row with the landlady and moved to a cheaper inn the next morning. In 1645 Oliver Cromwell spent a night at Old George on his way to joining the army. The inn also appeared in Charles's Dickens's novel "Martin Chuzzlewit".

Some 37 years before Oliver Cromwell came, William Shakespeare and his strolling players stayed at the inn en route to Wilton, it is said they rehearsed “As You Like It” in the garden of the inn where Old George Mall now stands.
Hall of John Halle (Odeon Cinema)

9) Hall of John Halle (Odeon Cinema) (must see)

John Halle, a merchant and mayor of Salisbury, was the first owner of this house, which was built in 1470. The building, which now serves as the Odeon Cinema, is quite out of the ordinary. Its facade and foyer were designed in the Tudor style and date back to the 15th century. Its medieval interior has a fireplace with John Halle’s coat of arms, leaded windows, tall arched ceilings and walls decorated with pikes and armor. Even though the building now is home to a modern cinema, it has maintained its medieval charm.
Best Western Red Lion Hotel

10) Best Western Red Lion Hotel

Best Western Red Lion Hotel dates back to 1220 AD and is said to be the oldest hotel in Britain. Its creeper-clad courtyard and pleasant 18th-century facade reinforce the history and charm of the place. The hotel has a Victorian lounge, medieval-style bar, 51 rooms and 6 conference halls. Red Lion Hotel is a great place to stay the night and is a fabulous venue for celebrating special occasions as well.
St. Ann Gate & Close Wall

11) St. Ann Gate & Close Wall (must see)

St. Ann Gate is the east entrance to the Close. The Wall and the Gate were built in the 14th century. Before 1330 a channel of water from the River Avon divided the Close from the town. For the construction of the wall surrounding the Cathedral, blocks were taken from Old Sarum Cathedral. St. Ann Gate is stone gatehouse, and it formerly served as a canonry. It is famous for the fact that the composer Handel gave his first public concert in Salisbury in the house above the Gate.
Salisbury Cathedral

12) Salisbury Cathedral (must see)

Salisbury Cathedral, formally known as the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is an Anglican cathedral in Salisbury and is considered one of the leading examples of Early English architecture. The cathedral has the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom (123m/404 ft). Visitors can take the "Tower Tour" where the interior of the hollow spire, with its ancient wood scaffolding, can be viewed. The cathedral also has the largest cloister and the largest cathedral close in Britain. The Cathedral contains the world's oldest working clock (from AD 1386) and has the best surviving of the four original copies of Magna Carta. Although commonly known as Salisbury Cathedral, the official name is the Cathedral of Saint Mary. In 2008, the cathedral celebrated the 750th anniversary of its consecration in 1258.

As a response to deteriorating relations between the clergy and the military at Old Sarum, the cathedral was moved to its present place in Salisbury. Legend has it that the Bishop of Old Sarum shot an arrow in the direction he would build the cathedral; the arrow hit a deer and the deer finally died in the place where Salisbury Cathedral is now. The foundation stone was laid on 28 April 1220.Due to the high water table in the new location, the cathedral was built on only four feet of foundations, and by 1258 the nave, transepts and choir were complete. The west front was ready by 1265. The cloisters and chapter house were completed around 1280. Because the cathedral was built in 38 years, Salisbury Cathedral has a single consistent architectural style, Early English Gothic.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Medieval Hall & Old Deanery

13) Medieval Hall & Old Deanery (must see)

The Old Deanery was built in the 1270s and served as the primary accommodations for the Deans for more than 700 years. Today the Deanery encompasses three medieval houses along the River Avon, which remain in perfect condition after extensive restorations in 1963, 1982 and 1995. The Medieval Hall is the complex's Banqueting Hall. The hall has a timber-framed roof and stone walls. Inside you will find the High Table, the old hearth and an original 13th-century wall painting. 'Secrets of Salisbury' is a 30-minute video about Salisbury’s history that runs hourly from April to September in the Hall.
The Rifles (Berkshire & Wiltshire) Museum

14) The Rifles (Berkshire & Wiltshire) Museum (must see)

The Rifles (Berkshire & Wiltshire) Museum opened in 1981. The museum occupies a building that was constructed in 1254. The primary shape of the main hall and two service annexes still remains, but the current layout was established during a reconstruction in the 19th century. The Rifles (Berkshire & Wiltshire) Museum is also known as The Wardrobe, because it was used as a depot and administrative base by clergymen. The museum collection showcases the heritage of the County Regiments of Berkshire and Wiltshire. You can explore the regimental library and archive by appointment. After checking out the museum's extensive collection, you can wander along the beautiful riverside gardens.
Mompesson House

15) Mompesson House (must see)

Mompesson House is an elegant Queen Anne-style house, which was built in 1701 for the Mompessons, a prominent merchant family. Today it is under the protection of the National Trust. Its spacious interior features a carved timber staircase, original paneling and fine plasterwork. The apartments are furnished in period style. Mompesson House displays Captain Turnbull's collection of 18th-century drinking glasses. There is a charming walled garden adjacent to the house.
High Street Gate

16) High Street Gate (must see)

High Street Gate was built in the mid-13th century and is the main entrance into the Close. It‘s one of four gates around the Cathedral. The Gate has a portcullis that is still locked in the evening and reopened in the morning. There is a solitary sculpture of a knight on the inner side of the wall and a Royal Coat of Arms on the outer side. The Porter's Lodge building is at High Street Gate. The porter’s post was once very prestigious among courtiers.
Crane Bridge

17) Crane Bridge

Crane Bridge and Crane Street took their names from a nearby building called the Crane. Crane Bridge was built at the end of the 15th century and is on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest in the United Kingdom. The bridge is made of stone and has four low arches, projecting keystones and a stone parapet. It has been extended since its initial construction, but it has retained most of its original features. Crane Bridge can be seen on the way to Queen Elizabeth Gardens next to Salisbury Cathedral.
Queen Elizabeth Gardens

18) Queen Elizabeth Gardens

Queen Elizabeth Gardens is an urban park near Salisbury Cathedral. This park sits along the River Avon and charms with its weeping willows, water meadows, rustic bridges and pathways. It is popular with both residents and visitors, as well as children. Children love the park’s play areas, streams and charming view of the Cathedral. Lizzy Gardens is a beautiful place for families to get away.

Walking Tours in Salisbury, England

Create Your Own Walk in Salisbury

Create Your Own Walk in Salisbury

Creating your own self-guided walk in Salisbury is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Cathedral Close Tour

Cathedral Close Tour

Salisbury Cathedral is renowned throughout the world. The Cathedral Close is a marvelous setting for the 13th-century Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, otherwise known as Salisbury Cathedral. Take this tour to stroll around Salisbury's most famous landmarks and appreciate the stunning architecture and craftsmanship of the Cathedral and Close.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Historical Houses Tour

Historical Houses Tour

Founded more than 800 years ago, Salisbury understandably has a great number of historical, architectural and cultural gems worthy of a visit. The medieval houses, churches, inns and hospitals blend harmoniously with the modern sites of the city. Trace the threads of Salisbury's past on this tour of the city's historic buildings.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Art Galleries

Art Galleries

Salisbury has a diverse array of art galleries that vary in size and purpose. They range from the grand community Salisbury Arts Center to the small, private Graham Oliver Gallery. Take this tour to visit the most notable art galleries in Salisbury.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Harnham Landmarks Walk

Harnham Landmarks Walk

This self-guided tour of Harnham starts from the southern gates of the Cathedral Close and crosses Harnham Bridge. Harnham has been inhabited since the Iron Age, so has a long history. Take this tour to visit Harnham's Old Mill Hotel, All Saints Church, Harnham Slope and other fascinating landmarks.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Historical Churches

Historical Churches

Salisbury welcomes people of many different faiths, and you can find Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, and other religious institutions represented here. Most places of worship in the city, however, belong to the Anglican Church, which has historically had a strong presence in Salisbury and the country as a whole. This walking tour will guide you to the most notable religious sites in central...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Shopping Walk

Shopping Walk

Salisbury’s specialty shops are scattered along the picturesque streets in the historic center of the city. Many shops sell their merchandise out of medieval, half-timbered houses. Although the area covered on this tour is not large, you will visit a range of unique shops where you can find the perfect gift or souvenir to take home with you.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles