A Masterpiece in Stone: Salisbury Cathedral
Set against a backdrop of the beautiful Wiltshire countryside, we begin a relaxing day just a few miles up the road from Stonehenge at Old Sarum – one of the most enthralling and historically important sites in southern England and the original site of Salisbury. We wander the former royal castle and the remains of the original 11th-century cathedral within the colossal Iron Age fortification. We’ll then move on to the “new” cathedral and enjoy a relaxing day marvelling at the stunning Gothic edifice, exploring the past and the present of this living church. On this architectural journey, we’ll tour this 13th-century masterpiece to discover Britain’s tallest spire with views that have charmed artists and writers alike and the largest landscaped cloisters, from which you will access the beautiful Chapter House with its medieval frieze.
We’ll also entrench ourselves in the minds and lives of the Middle Ages to unravel the extraordinarily short construction of the cathedral which was so intricately laced with the political history of England. We will encounter the world-famous document that guaranteed our democratic rights: the best preserved of only four original copies of Magna Carta dating back to 1215, and King John’s half-brother, William Longspeé, whose effigy we will visit.
Explore the lives, legends and scandals of the people who built this magnificent skyscraper of glass and stone – both up on the pinnacles and down in the crypts.
09.45 Meet at Salisbury coach park, Millstream Approach. SP1 3UE. Where we will pick up our transport to Old Sarum. Please also note there is a long stay car park opposite.
10.00 Introduction by Dr Emma Wells ‘How to build a medieval cathedral’ followed by a tour of Old Sarum (with a break for tea or coffee)
12.15 Leave for lunch
12.30 Lunch in the Cathedral Refectory restaurant
13.30 We have a guided tour of the main church, cloisters and Chapter House, please note the original 1215 Magna Carta is not currently on display due to repair work but should be back soon. However, if it's not back a facsimile will be shown to us. We then go on the Cathedral's medieval graffiti tour. Most of the tour is conducted at floor level but a section of this fascinating journey into the Cathedral's past will involve climbing around 70 steps via a spiral staircase to the highest balcony level (triforium) The Tower tour is optional which continues after the Graffiti tour or a visit to the Stonemasons yard instead.
16.30 Day ends
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Lunch - A two course lunch will be provided.
- Fact Sheet - Including background information about your Guide Lecturer, historical context for the Day, detailed itinerary, a suggested reading list and directions to the venue
When they’re not travelling around the world with us, hot on the trail of historical knowledge, we know that our guests are a busy lot. But take just one day, and you’d be surprised what you can do — that’s why we’ve condensed all the startling revelations and expert insight you’d expect from our tours into single Study Days, right here in the UK. We update our list regularly, so be sure to keep an eye out!