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March 15, 2014

England: Salisbury Cathedral and Stonehenge

Salisbury Cathedral has the tallest church spire in Britain.

Salisbury Cathedral has the tallest church spire in Britain.

Located in the south of England, the town of Salisbury is famous for its cathedral. Consecrated for more than 750 years, Salisbury’s Cathedral has Britain’s tallest church spire (123m/404 ft), the largest cloister, and largest cathedral close.  The church also contains the world’s oldest working clock (from AD 1386) and has the best surviving of the four original copies of the Magna Carta.  There’s a lot to see.

It took just 38 years to construct the Salisbury Cathedral.  That’s remarkably fast for medieval times.  Indeed, it is remarkably fast even for modern times–the Washington National Cathedral in Washington DC, completed in 1990, took more than twice as long to build.  A consequence of Salisbury Cathedral’s fast construction, the building’s Gothic style is cohesive.  It stands as an excellent example of Early English Architecture.



Inside Salisbury Cathedral

Inside Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral is not the region’s most popular tourist destination.  Twenty minutes away by car from the town’s center is the UNECSCO World Heritage designated Stonehenge.  With around a million visits per year, iconic Stonehenge is sixth most popular historic site in Britain.  Some stay in Salisbury merely because it is convenient to Stonehenge; they do not always come to see the town and its cathedral.  That seems backwards.  Salisbury’s cathedral has more appeal than a couple dozen large rocks arranged on a hillock by ancients four or five thousand years ago and now encircled by hordes of tourists.  Not to suggest that Stonehenge isn’t worth the visit.  It is.  (And describing Stonehenge as a pile of rocks is uncharitable!)  Still, Salisbury shouldn’t be passed by in the frenzy to get to Stonehenge.

The close

The close


P.S.  If you visit Salisbury don’t expect to get a Salisbury steak at its location of creation.  The minced beefsteak, a staple of American TV dinners, was invented by the American physician James Henry Salisbury in the late 19th Century.  Aside from the name, there is no connection to Salisbury England.



  1. Very interested, Have a wonderful day friend 🙂

    Comment by Gede Prama — March 15, 2014 @ 6:13 pm

  2. […] Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites […]

    Pingback by The List | Another Header — October 26, 2018 @ 7:27 am

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