Explore over 800 years of history at Salisbury Cathedral, one of the UK’s most iconic medieval buildings. Discover the world’s best preserved and the finest of only four surviving original 1215 Magna Carta, sealed by King John at Runnymede. The UNESCO protected document is housed in the beautiful Chapter House and is the centrepiece of an exhibition that explores its creation, history and legacy.
The Cathedral is also home to another marvel: the World’s oldest working mechanical clock, which has ticked over 5 billion times since it was built. The clock is situated in the North Nave aisle.
Salisbury’s distinctive Spire, completed by 1329, stands 55m above the tower, making the combined height from ground level 123m (404ft) – the tallest in Britain. Surrounded by rolling lawns and set in the largest Cathedral Close in the country, extending 80 acres, the Cathedral is an Early English Gothic masterpiece. A place to learn, to experience and to relax and enjoy coffee and cake, lunch or delicious cream tea in the Refectory Restaurant or The Bell Tower Tearooms (Open May-October) on the North Lawn.
Trade Product Information – Cathedral Tours
Salisbury Cathedral’s elegant Gothic interior with its tall polished Purbeck marble columns and end-to-end views is stunning. The William Pye Font in the Nave, the largest working font in any British cathedral, reflects its surroundings and, along with the beautiful Chartres blue Prisoners of Conscience window made by Gabriel Loire, creates a perfect picture. Among the tombs that line the Cathedral aisles is that of William Longespée, half-brother of King John and an adviser to the king during Magna Carta negotiations. Longespée laid one of the Cathedral’s first foundation stones and was the first person to be buried there. A special exhibition in the North Quire Aisle displays a rotating selection of documents from the Cathedral archive and signs include QR codes that allow visitors to view specially created ‘behind-the-scenes’ video.
Guided Tours and Introductory Talks
Duration of visit – around 60 minutes
Free guided tours are available on request. Alternatively, Cathedral guides would be happy to do a short introductory talk before visitors explore independently. A great way to set up your visit. Guides are also situated at strategic points around the Cathedral and in the Chapter House to help visitors and answer questions.
The Cathedral Shop, Refectory Restaurant and Bell Tower Tea Rooms (May – Oct) are open for visitors. Toilets are available in the Cloisters.
Refreshments for Groups can be booked with the Refectory Manager: 01722 555175 or Refectory@salcath.co.uk
Special behind-the-scenes tours available to groups including Tower, Library and Works Yard
Self-guided leaflets: 5 languages (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish)
Pre-booked tours available in French, German and Italian
FREE WEEKLY DEMONSTRATIONS AND EXPERIENCES
Free demonstrations, a weekly schedule
Throughout the year visitors can enjoy a range of free, informal demonstrations. No bookings are required just be at the right place at the right time.
Meet the Stonemasons: a living history in stone
Tuesdays 14:00 - 16:00 in South Transept (Winter) and Cloisters (Summer)
A chance to meet Salisbury Cathedral's stonemasons and discover how our Cathedral’s stone is worked by hand, using the same basic tools as the original Cathedral builders over 800 years ago. Questions welcomed - or just come to watch.
Medieval Clock demonstration: marking the centuries
Monday – Thursday after 11.00 prayers in North Nave Aisle
Saturdays at 10.30
See and hear the chiming mechanism of the world’s oldest working clock in action. Thought to date back to around 1386, Salisbury Cathedral’s medieval clock is a large iron-framed 'turret' clock without a dial. In days gone by it would have rung the bells summoned people to worship now it only chimes for demonstrations.
Stained Glass Window Tours
Mondays 12.00 - meet at Cathedral entrance in cloisters
Discover the rich history of our beautiful stained-glass windows. The tour sheds new light on the Cathedral’s history and its community, from the scandal of the medieval glass abandoned in a ditch during the late 1700s, to windows commemorating wars, suffrage and even a Cathedral cat.
Tours last approximately one hour.
Vestments and Vergers: a thousand years of worship in one encounter
Thursdays 11:00 - 13.00 (April-October)
For nearly a thousand years Salisbury Cathedral has been a centre of worship, first at Old Sarum and after 1220 on its present site. In this encounter in the Quire area visitors can view some of the Cathedral’s beautiful vestments, learn about the Sarum Rite, a form of worship created in Salisbury in 1000 and discover the colour code that dictates what the clergy wear to conduct services. Questions are welcome on anything from the Holy Oils used during worship to the origins of the cathedral’s famous processional services such as Darkness to Light.
SPECIALIST SMALL GROUP TOURS
The Cathedral offers a range of private ‘backstage’ tours for small groups. Numbers are currently limited due to Covid. Tickets can be booked online or via firstname.lastname@example.org 01722 512156
Climb 332 steps to the base of the Cathedral spire on a tour full of fascinating facts. The climb is taken in easy stages and when you reach the top, wonder at the medieval scaffolding supporting the spire, view the peregrine cameras during breeding season and enjoy unsurpassed views of the city and surrounding countryside
Duration: Around 90-105 minutes. Restrictions apply.
Cost: £150 (up to 10 people)
Visit the historic 15th century library with an expert and view books selected to illustrate the importance and variety of this unique collection. The Library is reached a winding stone staircase above the cloisters leads to our 15th century library. There are 37 uneven stone steps.
Duration: Around 45 minutes
Cost: £150 (up to 8 people)
Stonemasonry Works Yard Tour
A behind-the-scenes visit to the Works Yard where the heritage skills and craftsmanship used to conserve this building can be seen in action. Visit the drawing office where conservation is planned and watch the Cathedral artisans hand-carving, just as their predecessor would have done in the 1200.
Duration: Around 50 minutes
Cost: £90 (up to 6 people) - for larger groups please contact email@example.com
Occasional Verger-led tours that take visitors into the Inner Vestry can be organise for six people or less – subject to availability of staff. Learn about the Sarum Rite, a form of worship created and used by Salisbury Cathedral from the 1200s. View the beautiful vestments and chalices used in worship and see the Cathedral’s collection if verges, or sticks held by vergers when they lead processions. In bygone times these verges would be used to beat their way through the throngs gathered in the Cathedral for worship.
Booking: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Special rates for Groups and Travel Trade FITs are available if pre-booked. Walk ups are charged at the full public individual rate.
The Cathedral is a living church, so please ensure you check the website in case of last minute closures. Travel Trade companies can apply to our Closures Advice Email by contacting email@example.com
For the safety and comfort of all visitors the Cathedral is still managing visitor numbers. To help us with this please prebook so that we can schedule entry into the Cathedral effectively.
Name of trade contact: Kate Saykouk and Hannah Paye
Trade email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Trade Tel: 01722 512156
2023 Trade Prices
Please check with the Bookings team direct
Public prices available on website
Awarded Confederation of Passenger Transport UK for Coach Friendly City. Drop-off/pick up point on St John Street, SP1 2SB. Main coach parking at Millstream coach park, SP1 3TA overflow at Britford Park & Ride, SP5 4DS.
Suitable for Corporate / Incentive visits/Education visits: Yes, rates available for Cathedral, Refectory and Cloisters hire from email@example.com. For education groups contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Map & Directions
Salisbury Cathedral is situated in the centre of the historic city of Salisbury and is just eight miles from the World Heritage site of Stonehenge. Travel time from London is 1½ hours, 45 minutes from Bournemouth and Southampton and 1 hour from Bath.The nearest major roads are the M3, M27, A36 and the A303, just follow the signs to Salisbury – for GPS users, the postcode is SP1 2EJ. Please use city centre car parks (the closest are Old George Mall or Crane Street) or use the city’s Park and Ride sites which are located on the A36 (West), A345 (North), A30 London Road (North) and A338 (South).
Public Transport Directions
There are frequent train and bus services to Salisbury and the Cathedral is less than a 10 minute level walk from both stations. Rail Station: Turn left out of the station and cross the road at the zebra crossing, follow the curve of the road onto Fisherton Street and follow the signs until you get to traffic lights. Turn right onto the High Street, crossing the pedestrianised area and the road at the traffic lights, then walk through gate and into The Close. Bus Station: With the station to your left, turn left onto the pavement and walk until you reach the Market Square. Cross the square diagonally and go through the gap in the buildings in the top right-hand side of the square. Keeping on the left-hand side of the road, follow the curve of the road to the right until you get to traffic lights. Turn left here onto the High Street, cross the pedestrianised area and the road at the traffic lights, then walk through gate and into The Close.
* Opening Times:
April – November
Cathedral 09:30 - 16:00 (last bookable slot/Cathedral clear by 17.00)
Chapter House 10.00 – 17.00
Refectory and Bell Tower 09.00 - 17.00
Shop 09.30 – 17.00
November – March
Cathedral 10.00 – 15.30 (last bookable slot/Cathedral clear by 17.00)
Chapter House 10.30 – 16.00
Refectory Monday - Saturday 10:00 -16:30 | Sunday 10:00 - 16:00 (Bell Tower Closed Oct – May)
Shop 09.30 – 17.00 (except Jan/February 22 when times are 10-16.30)