Archive for December 28th, 2010

Salisbury and Stonehenge are separated by some 20 minutes drive, so after having had visited the prehistoric megaliths, it would be simply unforgivable to not pop in on this medieval town (though it has the status of city), which is first of all famed by its 13th century gothic cathedral.
The construction of Salisbury cathedral became one of those rare examples where only one generation of people was involved. That’s why, having had been erected during less than 40 years, this attired in stone lace structure represents a purest specimen of early English Gothic. The gracefully soared 123 metres spire is deceptively light. Actually its weight (with the weight of the tower) amounts to 6500 tonnes!

salisbury cathedral

Considering the fact that the foundation of Salisbury cathedral extends deep down the soggy ground only for 5 metres, it only remains to wonder how it has been still withstanding such load yet to admire the craftsmanship of medieval builders.
Inside of Salisbury cathedral it is as much mesmerizingly beautiful as outside. The sunlight, flowing through the vibrant stained glass windows, softens that characteristic gothic solemnity and makes it more warm and friendly. Apart from good looks the cathedral prides itself on keeping one of the 4 copies of Magna Carta, having been remained from the time of John Lackland, as well as the oldest working clock in the world dated by 14th century.

salisbury cathedral

In the confines of the spacious Cathedral Close nestle picturesque buildings of different époques and styles. Mompesson House (on the left from the High Street Gate) is a typical sample of English Baroque with gorgeous plasterwork and elegant interior that became the set for “Sense and Sensibility”, starring Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant. Malmesbury House (just by Sarum College) is quite often associated with the name of distinguished composer of the 18th century George Frideric Handel. It is believed that this is where he gave his first concert in Britain, to be exact in the room above the Saint Ann’s Gate. Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum, situated in an ancient building of the 13th century opposite Salisbury cathedral, houses not only the curious artefacts having been found in the process of excavations near Stonehenge but also possesses the exhibits of the time of Romans and Saxons, the pieces telling about Salisbury’s social life in the Middle Ages, great collections of costumes and paintings.
sarum collegeSalisbury is one of those provincial towns where no one can help oneself but meander around the narrow little streets enjoying the tranquillity far from boisterous metropolises. Everything is so snugly compact in comparison with the cities with high population. So there is even its own “Little Ben”, though probably “Little Tower” would suited this clock tower better, because it was built on the site of the former prison.
While walking along Salisbury, scrutinizing the old houses, amidst which there is a good deal of colourful timber-framed ones, and dropping in on little souvenir shops, the time unnoticeably flies by. And getting hungry organism suddenly begins to focus attention not on “that lovely little house” but on those with the signboards “pub”, “restaurant” or “café” on them. Though it doesn’t take too long to find a place for having a meal, because there are plenty of pubs and restaurants for every taste.
salisbury wiltshireSome of them can be interesting not only from gastronomic point of view, but also from historic. In this list for instance are: the restaurant at “The Old Mill” placed in the building of an old paper mill of the 12th century, “The coach and horses” built in 13th century, “The haunch of venison” on the Market Place. That last one exists at least from the 14th century and it doesn’t only keep a vivid atmosphere of the past. Between the ground and first floors is yet another one small area for visitors, pretentiously called “The house of Lords”. There, in the tiny baking oven, a cut mummified hand clenching the playing cards has been put on display. It was found during the refurbishment of the restaurant and alleged to be of an unlucky gambler, having had been punished for his cheating. That part of dead body doubtfully raises someone’s appetite but definitely increases the popularity of the place.
salisbury wiltshireAcross from “The haunch of venison” is an unusual stone construction. It’s called Poultry Cross, though visually it looks more like a stone marquee. In the 15th century, when Market Place was wider, there were four Crosses. In those days they functioned as departments in the modern supermarkets. So in the Middle Age there were: Cheese/ Milk Cross, Poultry Cross, Wool/Yard Cross and Barnwell Cross where the livestock was being sold. Nowadays this only remained Poultry Cross is the sort of a town summerhouse, a perfect spot for making a date or take shelter from a heavy shower.
In spite of such worldwide neighbour like Stonehenge, Salisbury, having its own charisma, doesn’t fade in the rays of the megaliths fame at all. Salisbury is like a main spice in the dish, it makes the trip to Stonehenge more complete. Without it that “megalithic delicacy” might be a little bit mild.
External links:
Visit Salisbury and Wiltshire Tourist website – www.VisitWiltshire.co.uk
Salisbury Cathedral – www.salisburycathedral.org.uk
Stonehenge – www.Stonehenge-Stone-Circle.co.uk
Salisbury and Stonehenge Tours – www.StonehengeTours.com

Southern England log : http://thesouthofengland.blogspot.com
Tours from London – www.Welcome2London.co.uk
Needless to say we can organise private guided tours of Salisbury and Stonehenge for small groups.  These tours can depart from Salisbury, Bath, Glastonbury or London

Salisbury Tour Guide
HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours in ancient Wiltshire

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The Abbey Road zebra crossing in north London – made famous after appearing on a Beatles album cover – has been given Grade II listed status.The crossing – the first of its kind to be listed – is being recognised for its “cultural and historical importance” following advice from English Heritage.

Abbey Road Beatles crossing

Abbey Road Beatles crossing


The Beatles were photographed on Abbey Road in Ian Macmillan’s iconic cover shot for the 1969 album Abbey Road.
Sir Paul McCartney said it was the “icing on the cake” in a great year.
‘Huge cultural pull’The original zebra crossing, where the photograph was taken, was moved several metres for traffic management reasons more than 30 years ago, and no original features remain.

A spokesman for Westminster City Council said: “The detail of exactly when and why the crossing was moved from its original location have been lost in the annals of time.

“But by comparing photographs with the Ordnance Survey maps, we believe that the crossing might have been further north nearer 3 Abbey Road, which was the front house of the EMI Studios, because the steps of Neville Court appear to the right of the crossing in original photographs of the crossing, whereas the present crossing is near the junction of Abbey Road and Grove End Road.”

But John Penrose, Minister for Tourism and Heritage, said: “This London zebra crossing is no castle or cathedral but, thanks to the Beatles and a 10-minute photo-shoot one August morning in 1969, it has just as strong a claim as any to be seen as part of our heritage.”

Roger Bowdler, head of designation at English Heritage, said: “This is obviously an unusual case and, although a modest structure, the crossing has international renown and continues to possess huge cultural pull – the temptation to recreate that iconic 1969 album cover remains as strong as ever.

“Together with the nearby Abbey Road studios, also listed at Grade II on our advice, they remain a Mecca for Beatles fans the world over.”

Sir Paul said: “It’s been a great year for me and a great year for the Beatles and hearing that the Abbey Road crossing is to be preserved is the icing on the cake.”

The crossing is outside the Abbey Road studios, where the Beatles recorded much of their output.

That building was granted Grade II listed status in February.

A Grade II listing, the most common protected status, means that a building or monument is recognised as nationally important and of special interest.

External links:
Abbey Road Live (streaming) Webcam http://www.beatlesradio.com/AbbeyWebCam.aspx
Abbey Road Studios
London Beatles Tour

Wessex Tour Guide
HisTOURies UK – The Best Tours in British History

The crossing is described as a Mecca for Beatles fans

The crossing is described as a Mecca for Beatles fans

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