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The South West of England is an area alive with history. Our private guided trips are designed to maximize your experience of the area in whatever time you have available.
The South West of England is an area alive with history, a landscape overflowing with beauty, an expanse that beckons to all budding adventurers it is so saturated with culture! From some of Europe’s most important iron age monuments, through Medieval cities, to verdant scenery and breath-taking panoramas that could rival anywhere in the country.Stonehenge Travel is dedicated to exhibiting the best the South West has to offer; private tours to all its finest locations, in a combination that suits you.
Our bespoke tours allow you to make your journey though the South West truly unique. Expert local guides can give you a private exhibition of the countryside we hold dear- illustrating the history and myths that inspire our passion in the area in which we live. Our tours aim to be consistently entertaining and enlightening – unlocking the secrets of the area that larger tour bus groups miss and creating brand new experts in the process! Our itineraries aim to strike a balance between well-trodden sites of significance and lesser known areas – original, imaginative, well-paced and carefully considered. Crucially, our itineraries are built around you – let us know where you want to go.
Our private guided trips are designed to maximize your experience of South West Britain in whatever time you have available.
We strongly believe that if you’re only doing it once, you should do It properly! In total comfort in our eight-seater tour buses, with panoramic widows to take in the delights that pass you between all our destinations, with an expert tour guide, avoiding the crowds at all the finest destinations.
Our Stonehenge and Salisbury tours for example, both of which ensure both an enlightening and relaxing experience – tailored to your timeframe.
Taking in the enigmatic 4,000-year-old monoliths of Stonehenge, and the magnificent 120m spire of Salisbury cathedral in a time period that suits you, because whatever suits you is what suits us. You can see them quickly, or we can take you on a journey through Salisbury, learning about its rich history; stopping off at one of its many pubs and we can show you the area around Stonehenge, taking in the various sites of prehistoric significance.
And for the true lovers of the prehistoric mystery of Stonehenge… Our exclusive scheduled small group Stonehenge sunset / sunrise special access tours depart throughout the year.
Once the crowds have departed you can experience the ancient stones up close and personal. Our exclusive access allows you, on these special occasions only, inside the inner ring of the stones. You can interact directly with our nations Neolithic treasures as our guides give you an in-depth insight into the strange history of the famous monoliths
Book early to avoid disappointment!
The Stonehenge Travel and Tour Company
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
The Local Travel Experts
In 1549, when the infamous Henry VIII was on the throne, Salisbury was the 7th biggest city in the country and its cathedral was the tallest building – some must of predicted great things for the city at the time…
Today, Salisbury is the UK’s 262nd largest settlement- but it still has the UK’s tallest
cathedral, which itself possesses the largest cathedral close and the longest cathedral cloisters. Besides, Salisbury is still alive with the history of its former glory, every street steeped in intrigue or beauty of some kind, a truly delightful place to visit. Wandering the streets, you will give thanks that it hasn’t maintained its position in the top ten cities, but what will you see?
Since 1258 Salisbury cathedral has been the most important building in Salisbury. And since the spire was added in 1320 it has towered over the city, standing at 123m. It is the unignorable pride of the city (The only reason we can call Salisbury a city at all).
A fine example of early gothic architecture, as a spectacle, the cathedral in itself is reason enough to visit. Those with a keener eye will also notice the tilt of its spire; caused by shallow foundations (and inspiration for William Golding’s The Spire)
Yet, inside the cathedral is where you can find one of the most valuable treasures of all – an original copy of the Magna Carta. Displayed in the cathedral’s chapter house, the 804 year old document is shielded from any natural light. The document represented an agreement to lessen the powers of the King, still considered an important early symbol of liberty today.
Salisbury’s market is a crucial part of its identity – and has been since it began in 1219! Today, the market runs twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays and is still as varied and vibrant as it has always been.
Salisbury also contains a variable treasure trove of antiquated buildings.
One of the most famous is John a’Port’s House and William Russel’s House, located in the Market Place next to Guildhall. They are regarded as the oldest buildings in Salisbury – instantly recognisable by their twinned white and black timber frames.
Everywhere you go you encounter history – The Salisbury Tourist Information Centre on Fish Row occupies a 14th century former fishmonger. Even the Odeon Cinema on Salisbury’s New Canal inhabits a 15th century Tudor mansion.
And if you fancy some refreshments but still want to remain an antiquarian- The Haunch of Venison, a pub, is over 800 years old- complete with its own folklore – a severed hand and a secret tunnel leading to a church.
As old as it is, Salisbury wasn’t always here! In fact, it was preceded by Old Sarum, a near prehistoric site, the remains of which are still visible today. 2 miles north of Salisbury or New Sarum, the settlement it was abandoned for in 1190- the walls of the cathedral close are built from stones taken from the site! Hand in hand, Salisbury and old Sarum bridge over 2,000 years of history. It is worth the walk up the hill to visit the ruins of Old Sarum – which hosted both Romans and Saxons in its time.
So why not visit Salisbury? Take a walk-through centuries of British history, see how it has blended with the modern day, see the magnificent cathedral that still towers over us, see the pubs, the market, the beautiful cathedral close, take a walk up to old Sarum and cast your mind back thousands of years- doesn’t sound like such a bad day?
Salisbury Guided Tours offer tours from Salisbury, Bath, London or Southampton.
We are a small family-run business based in Salisbury. We offer discreet, bespoke and entertaining private guided sightseeing tours in the comfort you deserve. Our tour itineraries are original, imaginative, well-paced and carefully balanced.
The Stonehenge Travel and Tour Company
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
The Local Travel Experts
What is Human Rights Day?
Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10th December. It commemorates the day (10 December 1948) the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Magna Carta is famous as a symbol of justice, fairness, and human rights. For centuries it has inspired and encouraged movements for freedom and constitutional government in Britain and around the world. But when it was issued by England’s King John in June 1215 it was an attempt to prevent a civil war between the king and his powerful barons…
Magna Carta (Latin for “Great Charter”) is one of the most celebrated documents in English history. At the time it was the solution to a political crisis in Medieval England but its importance has endured as it has become recognised as a cornerstone of liberty influencing much of the civilized world
Salisbury Cathedral is extremely proud to be home to the finest of the four surviving original 1215 Magna Carta. Their Magna Carta is on permanent display to visitors in the newly-conserved Chapter House.
Only four copies of Magna Carta dating from 1215 have survived the ravages of time and Salisbury Cathedral is proud to be home to the best preserved original manuscript. Elias of Dereham, priest and steward of the archbishop of Canterbury is thought to have brought Salisbury’s copy of to Old Sarum in the days following the events at Runnymede and it has remained in the Cathedral’s care ever since
The Salisbury Connection
At Runnymede King John was urged to accept the demands of the barons and agree Magna Carta by his half-brother, William Longspeé, whose Effigy is in Salisbury Cathedral. Also present at Runnymede was Elias of Dereham, who at the time was steward to one of the key players in the crisis, the Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton. Elias himself was a skilled negotiator and was at the very centre of the discussions between the King and the barons. Once Magna Carta was agreed and sealed he was entrusted with delivering ten of the thirteen copies made, one of which was given to the original cathedral at Old Sarum. Elias later became a Canon of Old Sarum before masterminding the building of the present Salisbury Cathedral.
The excellent Visit Wiltshire website will help you plan your trip to Salisbury and Wiltshire.
The Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours Experts
Shop ’til you drop at Salisbury’s annual Christmas Market, held in the beautiful Market Place. (24th November – 18th December)
With beautifully decorated chalets, inspiring and desirable gifts and a very warm welcome, be sure to pay a visit to the Salisbury Christmas Market this year.
Meet Father Christmas, enjoy the food and drink stalls and hear traditional music from local choirs and schools whilst you shop.
Many of the chalets sell British made products, making it the perfect place to pick up a unique gift.
After exploring the stalls, make time to explore Salisbury’s other attractions too, including twilight tower tours of Salisbury Cathedral and candle-lit services, where you can see the twinkling lights of the city from up high.
With special offers running in many of the city’s hotels, you can turn your visit into a festive break.
Make the most of your visit to this beautiful city with a visit to the historic Cathedral and surrounding Close or explore the beautiful surroundings with a trip to Winchester, Stonehenge, or the New Forest. There’s a whole city to discover in Salisbury with ample parking and easy access to public transport, together with a wide range of shops, restaurants, cafes and plenty of places to stay both inside or near to the city. Wht not organise a guided tour of Salisbury and perhaps Stonehenge or even join a coach tour from London
Content provided by VisitWiltshire
The Stonehenge Travel Company, Salisbury, Wiltshire
The Salisbury museum is proud to take its turn as host for The Wiltshire’s Story in 100 Objects project, managed by the Wessex Museums Partnership and funded by Arts Council England. This project aims to shine a spotlight on the diverse and important collections
that Wiltshire’s museums collect, care for and interpret, using 100 carefully selected objects to celebrate the rich history of the county from 10,000 BC to the present day.
See hundred of carefully selected objects celebrating the rich history of the county from 10,000 BC to the present day.
Saturday, October 8, 2016 to Saturday, January 7, 2017
The Salisbury Museum
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
Historically a centre of the cloth industry, Salisbury – the county town of Wiltshire – is situated at the point where the Rivers Nadder and Bourne flow into the River Avon. The city is famous for its cathedral, a masterpiece of the early Gothic style that dates to 1220 when the building’s foundation stone was laid.
A checkerboard layout, with enclosed gardens between the houses, was a model for medieval town planning. On receiving market privileges from the king, a bridge was built across the Avon in 1244, thereby creating perfect conditions for Salisbury to become a major trading center.
1 Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral was built in a relatively short time – from 1220 to 1266 – in a typically English style consisting of a nave, long choir, retrochoir, main west transept and east choir transept (shielded from the choir by false arches). The interior of the cathedral, which is of bright-colored limestone and darkly gleaming Purbeck marble, displays the horizontal sequencing of the trusses, strengthened by continuous ledges. The construction of the walls is divided into three zones, with arches, a gallery-like triforium and a passageway above. A ribbed vault in four parts encloses the nave at a height of only 82 ft. The interior fittings of the cathedral, considerably altered in the 18th century, include elaborate tombstones dating back to the 13th century.
Although there are a few medieval fragments, the stained glass – primarily 19th and 20th centuries – is exquisite, particularly the Gabriel Loire window in the Lady Chapel. The Gothic cloister and the octagonal chapterhouse both date from the 14th century, the latter having a single central pillar acting as a vault support, a fine wall-frieze with pictures from the Old Testament and tracery windows divided into four sections with 19th century glass. Items stored there include one of the four original copies of the Magna Carta, the foundation of the British constitution, as well as other Anglo Saxon documents and the inspection report on the cathedral tower written by Sir Christopher Wren in 1668.
Address: Chapter Office, 6 The Close, Salisbury
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Salisbury – TripAdvisor.com
2 Cathedral Close
Within Salisbury Cathedral Close and separated from the rest of the town by three gateways, a number of notable Elizabethan and Georgian houses have lovely green lawns and date from the 14th to 18th centuries. These were the residences of the dean, ecclesiastical officers and teachers at the cathedral school. Of special interest is Mompesson House, with its elegant interior fittings and wonderful collection of glass. Another nearby home worthy of a visit is Arundells, residence of former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath.
Address: The King’s House, 65 The Close, Salisbury
The old city center includes the 15th century parish church of St Thomas of Canterbury as well as the wide market place with its 15th century market cross, the Guildhall (1788) and the 15th century Plume of Feathers Inn. Nearby is the Red Lion Hotel with its fine 1820s facade and pretty inner courtyard, and Joiner’s Hall, an attractive half-timbered building dating from the 16th century.
Through the North Gate are the meadows of the River Avon with their fine views of the cathedral. John Constable captured these on canvas in his famous painting of 1820.
Address: Pennyfarthing House, 18 Pennyfarthing St, Salisbury
Old Sarum was the precursor of present-day Salisbury, built two miles to the north of the city center on a hill, which even in prehistoric times was fortified. The Romans built the camp of Sorviodonum here, while under the Saxons a town settlement grew up on the site. William the Conqueror chose this strategically favorable spot to build a castle in 1075, and in 1220 the inhabitants of Old Sarum were moved to New Salisbury. Today, only a few remains of the castle within the inner circumference wall can be seen, and the cathedral ruins within the outer wall.
Location: Castle Rd, Salisbury
5 Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
The Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum has permanent displays and special exhibitions throughout the year that highlight the art and history of England and the Salisbury area. This is one of the most fascinating areas in Britain, rich in mediaeval history and home to the World Heritage Site of Stonehenge. The award-winning museum is home to the Stonehenge Gallery, Monkton Deverill Gold Torc, as well as unique costume, glass and chinaware collections.
Address: 58 The Close, Salisbury
6 Larmer Tree Gardens
The Larmer Tree Gardens, set in the ancient forest known as Cranborne Chase, were established by general Pitt Rivers in 1880 as pleasure grounds for “public enlightenment and entertainment” and were the first privately owned gardens to be opened for public enjoyment. You’ll find Indian buildings, a Roman Temple and an open-air theatre amidst acres of gardens inhabited by pheasants, peacocks and other exotic birds.
Location: Rushmore Estate Office, Tollard Royal, Salisbury
7 Salisbury Festival
Salisbury Festival takes place in spring with a different theme each year, and includes orchestral, choral and chamber concerts, recitals, film screenings and lectures. Numerous venues are used, including St Thomas Hall, the cathedral and other historical buildings.
Another important event is the Southern Cathedrals Festival, an annual festival that rotates every year between the cities of Winchester, Salisbury and Chichester. The festival takes place mid-July and includes daily concerts and a program featuring a mix of orchestral, choral and chamber concerts, recitals and fringe events. The repertoire is equally varied and includes classical and sacred music as well as newly commissioned works performed in the host city’s cathedral. Another great event, The Salisbury Arts Festival, runs for two weeks each May and features dance, music, street performances and art exhibitions.
Address: 144 East Main St, Salisbury
8 The Rifles (Berkshire and Wiltshire) Museum
The Wardrobe is an elegant building housing The Rifles (Berkshire and Wiltshire) Museum, an award-winning museum detailing the history of English County Regiments. The building dates to 1254 and contains exhibits on the Royal Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiments.
From the gardens you can stroll down to the River Avon with its views of the Water Meadows. Another military museum to visit is the award-winning Museum of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment.
Address: 58 The Close, Salisbury
9 Cholderton Charlies Rare Breeds Farm
Cholderton Charlies Rare Breeds Farm has breeds dating back hundreds of years, reflecting an animal heritage as interesting as its buildings and monuments. In addition to the many animals is a nature trail, water gardens, a picnic area and adventure playground for children. Also popular are the many opportunities to feed piglets and other young animals.
Location: Amesbury Road, Cholderton, Salisbury
10 Malmesbury House
Malmesbury House is located on The Close near Salisbury Cathedral where many of the city’s historical attractions are found. The house has seen many faces, both architecturally and in its visitors, and was originally a canonry in the 13th century before being enlarged.
The west facade was added decades later to accommodate rooms displaying magnificent rococo plasterwork, and notable visitors included King Charles II and the composer Handel. (Although privately owned, tours are occasionally permitted.)
Location: The Close, Salisbury
Built by architect Inigo Jones in 1653 after the original Tudor home was destroyed by fire, Wilton House is a masterpiece of the Baroque style and most notable for its huge white Double Cube Room. Decorated with gold-painted flowers and garlands of fruit and rounded off with a brilliantly colorful painted ceiling, the room is also fascinating for its portraits by van Dyck, as well as portraits of Charles I, Queen Henrietta Maria and their three children. Equally impressive is the Single Cube Room, its painted ceiling having scenes from Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia, written in 1590 while a guest at Wilton House, as well as paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens and Reynolds. The landscaped park surrounding the house harbors a magnificent stock of old trees. Another unusual feature is the Palladian bridge (1737) over the River Nadder.
Be sure to visit the picturesque Village of Wilton, the old capital of the Saxon kingdom of Wessex, and later of Wiltshire. It is famous for its carpets, plus home to antique shops and a weekly market.
Location: The Estate Office, Wiilton, Salisbury
Located 19 miles southwest of Salisbury, Shaftesbury is a picturesque little market town famous for its ruined Benedictine abbey. Only the foundation walls remain as a reminder of the abbey’s existence, while in the Shaftesbury Abbey and Garden there’s a model of the building as it once was as well as finds from the Middle Ages.
Shaftesbury is also a notable tourist destination due to the steep cobbled streets of Gold Hill, picturesquely lined on one side with tiny houses dating from the 16th to 18th centuries, while on the other side there’s a 13th century ochre-colored wall. Visitors enjoy superb views across the Blackmoor Vale to Somerset.
St Peter’s Church is the only one of the 12 medieval churches that’s been preserved, and possesses an interesting crypt and a fine doorway. Also of note, the Shaftesbury Gold Hill Museum has many exhibits detailing local history.
Location: Gold Hill, Shaftesbury
Stourhead, 26 miles west of Salisbury, is one of the finest landscaped gardens of the 18th century and unchanged since its inception. The unique design of the garden includes an artificial lake with caves, classical temples and landing stages surrounded by hills planted with trees. The park and the stately Palladian mansion were designed in 1721, with elegant period furniture provided by Chippendale, while the gallery contains paintings by Canaletto, Raphael, Nicolas Poussin and Angelika Kaufmann. King Alfred’s Tower, erected to commemorate the Saxon king, towers over the surrounding parkland and affords fine panoramic views.
Location: Mere, Wiltshire
Old Wardour Castle
Old Wardour Castle, near Tisbury, is a 14th century structure on the edge of a beautiful lake. A battle was fought here in 1643 when Parliamentarian forces besieged the castle causing extensive damage. More recently, Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves starring Kevin Costner was filmed here. The castle’s unusual hexagonal ruins are surrounded by landscaped grounds, and are a picturesque location for picnics or a relaxing day out.
Location: Tisbury, Salisbury
Looking for something different this Christmas?
The VisitWiltshire tourism website is a great source of ‘things to do this Christmas’ in Wiltshire;
Come and enjoy some of our timeless pleasures in Wiltshire this Christmas and discover some magical Christmas events for all ages including Christmas markets, carol services, ice skating and much more.
Salisbury will be hosting its popular annual Christmas Market, bringing with it some wonderful stalls in the historic setting of the Guildhall Square.
Shop for an array of festive gifts from locally made crafts and delicacies, meet the friendly traders and listen to some of the festive music which takes place at various times throughout the market.
Christmas Events in Wiltshire for all the family
For a magical Christmas experience in Wiltshire a visit to Longleat’s Festival of Lights will be a treat – see hundreds of illuminated figures dotted around the Longleat landscape – the largest display in Europe!
In Devizes, there’s the Christmas Festival with lantern parade, street theatre and a firework finale – children will love seeing the lanterns and adults can enjoy a spot of shopping in the Christmas market.
Christmas often isn’t complete without a trip to the pantomime! Look out for pantomimes at both Salisbury Playhouse and Wyvern Theatre.
You can meet Father Christmas at several places around the county including Santa cruises on the Kenavon Venture, aboard the Swindon & Cricklade Railway, within the courtyard of Fisherton Mill in Salisbury and at Stourhead gardens.
Join in with Christmas Carols and the Christmas services at Salisbury Cathedral, head to the ‘lost’ church of Imber, now under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust and only open at certain times of the year for their Festival of Carols and look out for other carol services across the churches in the county.
Find out more
So what are you waiting for?
This Christmas in Wiltshire is going to be a memorable occasion so why not come down, join in and create some fantastic memories for you and your family – we would love to see you!
Getting started is easy, simply use our events calendar to search for Christmas events across Wiltshire and plan your festive visit. Visiting Salisbury? Discover more about Christmas events across the city here.
With so much happening, why not make it a short break and enjoy even more of Wiltshire’s festivities this Christmas!
Visit the VisitWiltshire tourism website for further details.
The Stonehenge Travel Company
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours