Having a dad in the army, you might expect I’ve seen many different areas of the country. But although we’ve lived in Germany for a while, when in Britain, my family has always returned to Salisbury Plain. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, it is a large training area – Dad’s a gunner and it’s the home of the Gunners. I imagine anyone who serves for a reasonable time will end up stationed on the Plain at some point or another.
First, where is Salisbury? I get this a lot, as no one’s ever heard of it. The awkward thing is that it’s not really near anywhere big. Generally, I’ll describe it as a little further up from Southampton. Maybe I’ll say near Stonehenge. People have heard of that, but unless they’ve visited will have no idea where in the country it actually is.
“Best time to visit? It’s free for the summer and winter solstices, and you can watch the sun rise through the middle arch on a perfect alignment”
As mentioned, Stonehenge is the main place to visit. I think many people find it underwhelming; on a basic level it is some stones stood in the middle of a field. But when you consider how long they have been standing in that field, and the feat of engineering it took to get them there, it is truly astonishing. The largest stones are a type of blue stone that were transported from the Preseli Hills in Wales, over 160 miles away. Maybe I’m biased, being an archaeology student and all, but I would highly recommend a visit; give your life some perspective and understand a part of the ancient history of the country. Best time to visit? It’s free for the summer and winter solstices, and you can watch the sun rise through the middle arch on a perfect alignment. Although if you’re not such a fan of large crowds, dreadlocks and illegal substances, better to go on a normal day – you’ll find out more about the history of the site that way too. While visiting, look out for King Arthur Uther Pendragon, self-declared reincarnation of King Arthur and local political candidate.
“No visit is complete without a turn around the cathedral close and a drink in one of its many coffee shops”
As for the city itself, it is not known as ‘Smallsbury’ (or ironically ‘Salsvegas’) for nothing. For students there is not a huge amount to do – A-level results night is the biggest night of the year, but I would definitely consider returning for retirement. To be fair the city is gorgeous, no visit is complete without a turn around the cathedral close and a drink in one of its many coffee shops. The Boston Tea Party is a popular spot for after school, but my personal favourite is Reeves the Baker. It’s a local chain that has branches between Winchester and Warminster and something I crave regularly. Dangerous to say… but Greggs does not even come close!
Woops, I almost finished without mentioning the cathedral! It is spectacular, and was built very rapidly, taking only 38 years in the 13th century, meaning it is all of one style unlike most British ecclesiastical buildings. As a spot close to my heart, I’d recommend a visit, it’s great!
Featured image courtesy of ‘Mario Sánchez Prada’ via Flickr. License here.
Article images by Mary Thompson.
Home Run is the latest addition to Impact’s Travel Section, aiming to explore the diverse backgrounds of students at UoN. Presented by locals, get to know stunning cities and hidden gems to inspire you to travel a little further out – don’t forget to add your own beloved home to the series.
Interested in writing for Impact Travel? Join our contributors group here: Travel Contributors!