Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Weekend in Salisbury

Salisbury: Old Sarum, Heale Garden and Stonehenge.

Weekend in SalisburySalisbury is one of England's loveliest cities. Set in water meadows and swept by trees, it wears its half-timbered alleys and Norman stone splendour with grace beneath the needle spire of Britain's finest medieval cathedral. The cathedral is itself at the heart of England's largest medieval close, a huge green sward edged with trees hiding beautiful houses from different eras. Above them, the tallest spire in the country seems to rise out of green fields. Close-to, you can see its architectural brilliance, and Europe's oldest working clock and a copy of Magna Carta, too. But the Cathedral is very much a place of worship - and to hear music performed there, as you can, is to be transformed.

The transcendent harmony of Salisbury replaced what is now just a colossal earthworks called Old Sarum, on Salisbury's northern edge. Hign on the windswept chalky downs, Old Sarum looks like the ancient hill fort it once was, before Romans, Saxons and Normans made it both castle and cathedral. Its ruins make a fascinating, but bleak timeline of historical suspicion and strife. Contrast it with Heale Gardens, north along the lush Woodofr Valley. They are a perfect example of generations of benign and imaginative eccentricity creating pure magic from flowers, trees and shrubs. Woodland, Japanese, and Kitchen gardens are all touched by the genius of fantasy, timed to bloom in constant seasonal flux.

Drive on to the World Heritage glory of Stonehenge, a series of ceremonial earthworks, mounds and domestic remains clustered round the iconic circular stones of the Henge itself. You may have to fight your way through crowds, and await your timed entry to the actual stones - but whatever it actually is, Stonehenge is unique. It will fire your imagination.

Best time to go: any time of year - except Heale Gardens, which are open between February and October.

Weekend in SalisburyDon't miss: the authentic Japanese Tea House in Heale Gardens, built over a trout stream, which then flows under a red Nikko brige...

Where to Stay: LoveTravel recommends you book in Grasmere House Hotel, is just a short walk from Salisbury and offers superb cathedral views, surrounded by mature gardens. what's more, refer to Hotel in Salisbury online booking.


Post a Comment