Another awesome home exchange in August of 2016 in the cathedral town of Salisbury, 2 hours southwest of London. Our quaint semi-detached home (that means duplex in Brit-speak) was quiet and relaxing and within walking distance of the town center. The historic center of Salisbury is fun to explore on foot for the chance to see many old buildings: be sure not to miss the Church St. Thomas and St. Edmund with its rare Medieval Doom Painting and stained glass: http://www.stthomassalisbury.co.uk
A visit to the cathedral is of course required in Salisbury. There are many things to see and do, including viewing a copy of the Magna Carta. We particularly enjoyed our tower tour of the cathedral with a knowledgeable local guide. (Reserve a spot at www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/). Not for the weak of knee or lung, the tour requires many stairs, but they are thankfully interspersed with level sections and chances to catch your breath. The views inside the cathedral from the roof level are amazing, and we really enjoyed learning how people were able to create this huge church so long ago (it’s over 800 years old). We also had the chance to step outside at the highest level for a lovely view over the town and the resident peregrine falcons.
About 2 miles north of town English Heritage maintains the historic site of Old Sarum: www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/old-sarum/. The remains of this Iron Age hill fort which later became a Medieval castle and cathedral are fun to explore and good for picnics and kite-flying. Check the website for events and historic recreations.
Just 45 minutes west of Salisbury is one of England’s most famous landscape gardens: Stourhead, an awesome place to wander on a summer’s day. The famous walk around the lake with it’s temples, grottos, and statues may be crowded at times, but there are also miles of trails over the greater estate which are lovely and rarely used. The house which outlines the story of the family which built this amazing estate is also worthy of exploration. Details at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead.