During a recent adventure to London, I finally had a chance to spend some time outside the city exploring the surrounding countryside. One day, I headed out to visit Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral and the city of Bath, a fairly common London day trip itinerary. The Wiltshire area, where all three sites are located, is about an hour by car from London. After Bath, my second stop was Salisbury Cathedral. Here’s a video tour of this spectacular piece of English history.
Construction of Salisbury Cathedral started in 1220 and the building continues to have the same effect on visitors that it has for over 800 years, it takes your breath away. Unique to most large cathedrals, Salisbury lacks any central screen or divider. This allows views the whole length of the building, from end to end. These are especially amazing from the upper triforium level. Also unique to Salisbury are the clear glass windows on the sides, which replaced the original stained glass during a 18th century renovation. The clear glass allows the building to be flooded with bright sunlight, illuminating its architectural majesty. Some of the bits of the original stained glass windows were located during a 19th century renovation and used to make amalgamations now installed on the west-facing facade.
The area is about an hour from central London. I made it easy on myself and set up a private car service with Salisbury Stonehenge Tours. They picked us up at our London hotel, drove us to Bath (waited for us to tour the Roman baths and the city) then drove us to Salisbury Cathedral (waited as we toured the cathedral) and finally on to Stonehenge. More than just a car service, the driver was a very knowledgeable, local guy and provided brilliant information and commentary during the rides between the sites. Before leaving the area, we stopped at Woodhenge (an ancient wood circle site near Stonehenge) and then were driven back to our hotel in London. The whole day was about twelve hours.
You could take Uber from London but it’s possible there would not be any cars in the area to pick you up for a return trip. Another option is to take the train, but that necessitates taking Uber or local taxi from the station to the sites you want to visit. There is a also a hop-on, hop-off, privately run Stonehenge Bus Tour that runs between the sites (Bath, Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral) for ticketholders.
If You Go
Salisbury Cathedral offers three amazing special tours that get you up close and personal with this incredible structure. Their famous Tower Tour takes visitors over 200 feet in the air to the base of the spire, along with a walk underneath, in the attic area of the building. The Library Tour gives access to the previously off-limits 15th century library, located above the Cloisters. There’s even a Graffiti Tour that shows off some of the incredible graffiti, some dating back to the 15th century.