Fodor's To Europe!

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Days 5-6

It is said that Salisbury didn't become important until the 13th century, but you don't have to be a historian to figure out why. The majestic cathedral was built then, and it remains Salisbury's principal attraction, surround by the Close. From the stone houses and traffic-free center, to the foggy evenings, Salisbury serves as a prime example of a classic English town.
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  • History
  • Architecture


  • Salisbury's biggest lure is the famed Salisbury Cathedral, finished in 1258. The spire, at 404 feet, is England's tallest, despite being added in 1320. The Cathedral is also home to a copy of the Magna Carta, one of four in the world.
  • Mompesson House is from 1701, a splendid example of a Queen Anne house on the north side of Cathedral Close. Tea and refreshments are served in a walled garden, and the House boasts a collection of 18th-century drinking glasses.


  • The Food and Drink Festival rolls into town in September.

Side Trips

  • Just four miles from Salisbury is Wilton House, home to the 17th Earl of Pembroke. The trippy state rooms were created by Inigo Jones, Ben Jonson's stage designer.
  • Farther afield, Stourhead, in the town of the same name, is a country house and garden to rival any in Europe. The gardens are the true glory here, though the impressive collection of Chippendale furniture also draws crowds.

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