I didn’t know a lot about Salisbury before we moved down to Wiltshire. Historic city with a Cathedral would about sum up my knowledge…oh, and the place where some Russians stirred up a bit of trouble with something nasty.
The trip to Salisbury was a spur of the moment thing, so we didn’t do any research other than where to park. FYI- Old George Mall has a reasonably priced multi story carpark that puts you pretty much into the centre of things. The plan, such as there was, involved seeing the Cathedral and finding the Christmas markets. The rest would figure itself out.
Despite my lack of knowledge and planning, Salisbury found a place in my heart almost instantly because it put me in mind of some towns we have visited in Germany with its historic streets, quirky corners and Cathedral as its heart.
Being on a time limit we didn’t spend too long at the Cathedral, but whatever your religious/spiritual slant it’s hard not to be impressed by the scale and beauty of it. Despite being a place of worship and a busy tourist attraction, it’s a peaceful place and very welcoming.
En route from the Cathedral to the Christmas Markets, I spotted this house with unique oranges-and-lemons themed Christmas decoration. I’m not sure if the theme has anything to do with Salisbury tradition or the Cathedral, but I loved it. Traditional, colourful, sustainable…what’s not to love. And can we take a moment to appreciate that post box?
From the Cathedral we wandered up to the 18th century Guild Hall , around which nestles the Christmas market. I’d read a list created by Ideal Home magazine that listed Salisbury Christmas Markets as one of the best in Europe. Could it deliver?
Christmas spirit remains intact because the answer is emphatically, yes. The quality of goods on offer in the wooden chalets that make up the market is high. My favourites? Dried fruit Christmas decorations, a cabin full of pretty ornaments and icons from a convent in Belarus and two cheeky chappies selling flavoured ‘Moonshine’ out of vintage style mason jars. Apparently that last one is lovely in hot chocolate…that’s going to be some bedtime cocoa.
The Salisbury Market is very close to the small town German Weihnachtsmarkt we used to enjoy when we lived in Germany. All that was missing was the real life manger scene with real life animals…but I’m guessing UK regulations don’t allow for that.
Like the European markets, food is a big part of the Salisbury experience. In the interests of research we sampled the bratwurst and the Lotus Biscoff crepes. The verdict? Very nice. Authentic. And worth every calorie.
If you want to burn off some of the Christmas Market indulgence, head for the covered skating rink. We didn’t indulge but if you were inclined, an hour for two adults and two children would set you back about £25. My previous attempts on the ice have been hesitant to say the least. Maybe if I go back to Salisbury, I’ll chance it. I wonder if a glass of the aforementioned moonshine would help?
The Christmas Markets run until the 24th of December, the food stalls and skating rink until New Year. The Cathedral, the history, the independent shops & cafes, the festivals…all of that is on offer year round. Worth a visit, and I look forward to the next one.