So here goes, my first blog of hopefully many. I plan to share local knowledge to help anyone thinking of moving into this beautiful part of the world along, with tips and tricks with regards to the letting or managing properties.
I’m starting with Salisbury, it is the town where my children were born, I know it well and just have a soft spot for it. It is indeed, superb. With its gentle charm, artsy scene and overwhelming history at every turn, what’s not to fall in love with?
For the historians amongst us it has everything, Salisbury City as we know it today dates from 1220, although the city’s stories truly began at Old Sarum (3 miles away) which appears in some of the earliest records in the country. It really does have most ages covered!
You can’t visit Salisbury without a trip to the Cathedral. The original Cathedral was located at Old Sarum (built 1092), the Domesday book is thought to have been presented to William the Conqueror here. The Cathedral was later relocated to its current spot in 1220 (completed 1258). It boasts the tallest spire in England at 404m, and is home to 1 of the 4 remaining copies of the Magna Carta; the ‘best’ copy, of course.
Stonehenge is just 9 miles away on the Salisbury Plains, and it is on a many persons bucket list to join the summer or winter solstice. Next year will see the 10th anniversary for the Stonehenge Solstice Festival between the 18th-21st June, held a few miles from Stonehenge. During the period, English Heritage provides managed open access to the stones for the Solstice celebrations, tambourines at the ready!
If you are in Salisbury over the Christmas period and are lucky enough to catch the ‘lantern parade’ it must be one of the prettiest and most seasonal treats around. Starts at Leaden Hall in the Cathedral close, where friends and families gather, most carrying their willow made lanterns, Christmas carols are played by the town band and the procession winds its way through Salisbury to the opening of the Christmas market. For me, the Cathedral is a favourite place to grab a coffee, simply sit in the grounds and enjoy the latest art installation.
Talking of arts, the creative scene is brimming in Salisbury. Pop into The Mill on Fisherton street where they have galleries galore and sell a plethora of goods made by local talents, from handmade jewellery, pottery, artwork and cards. It’s hard to walk away without having bought something that catches your eye, or at least stopping for a cuppa. The Playhouse, Arts Centre or City Hall keep the City ‘nights out’ changing, and you could find yourself laughing with Michael McIntrye at Salisbury Playhouse, swinging your hips to Soul II Soul at the City Hall or watching a live streaming of Alice In Wonderland performed by the Royal Ballet at the Art Centre. I would challenge you not to find something in the “what’s on?’ pages that you like.
For us foodies, we can either pick up delicious treats in the market, which happens twice a week (every Tue & Sat), with stalls ranging from fresh fish, fruit and vegetables, (Kensons Organic Veg is a fav for me), local meats, cheeses Grommit would be proud of, artisan breads and cakes, or you could ditch the oven mits and head out to one of the many restaurants. My top nosh recommendations would be to head to The Pheasant on Salt Lane, with its jazzed-up pub grub, or cross the road to Dannys Craft Bar and Kitchen, the staff here are super friendly, food is delicious and they always have something going on, live music, comedy nights, or my personal favourite Gin and Fizz Thursdays! If it’s a quick grab and go lunch, head to The Café on the Park where they daily make fresh soups and bake their own bread for sandwiches, it’s a little off the beaten track but well worth the short walk.
Salisbury boasts some of the top schools in the country with Bishops Wordsworth Grammar School for Boys ranking 12th in the top 100, not far behind is Leehurst Swan School and South Wilts Grammar School for Girls. Other great schools include Salisbury Cathedral School, Chafyn Grove School and Goldolphin school. Maybe you have a budding scientist or engineer, then the UTC (Universal Technical College) is the place to head. That’s not too shabby for one relatively small city; some busy and talented children out there.