My stop through Salisbury was a bit of a whirlwind. I arrived Sunday evening after the diving in Plymouth (I still owe you folks a quick video from the diving, but I still need to process them) and then I continued on Monday morning for a visit to Birling Gap and Beachy Head (more on those in the next post) before heading into London.
I hadn’t originally planned on putting Salisbury Cathedral on my list of places to stop, but after some quick research, it was worth the visit…
I stopped right before sunset so the stonework was awash in a nice golden light and some dramatic shadows that made for some cool perspectives on the architecture.
The spire is apparently the tallest in England and has been since 1549 when it was completed. And apparently it houses the original copy of the Magna Carta – though I didn’t know that until just now. I don’t remember studying this building when I did my medieval studies in college, but I probably did… but it just isn’t as memorable as Notre Dame.
So while Salisbury Cathedral was a pleasant surprise, Stonehenge was a bit of a disappointment.
Not because it wasn’t impressive – it really is – but rather because the heritage society that manages it do so in what I consider to be a terrible manner.
First, it costs an exorbitant £19.00 (or about $23) and is a timed entry thing. Which, ok, I get the cost… but the timed thing is stupid as they don’t open until well after sunrise and well before sunset. I had really wanted to visit and take some photos during one or both of those times, but because of their terrible management I seemed to be unable to.
In the end, I did get to see it with a fairly nice sunset illuminating it from behind, but only from the highway while driving as I was trying to see if some of the internet reports saying you could visit for free were true.
The next morning, I visited again as I was leaving Salisbury and did indeed find the “free” method to visit, only to find as I approached that there was a paid group already there (well before the advertised time) and wandering inside the stone circle (another thing I was led to believe was not an option).
In the end, I took a few fairly poor photos with my phone and called it good enough. My visit to Grimspound was much more enjoyable and memorable.
DuskSeptember 5, 2019 at 10:19am
This is interesting! When we were at Stonehenge a few years ago, it was Christmas day (naturally it was closed) and no one was in the fenced in area. On the opposite side of that highway is some sheep field where a few weird hippy-types were sitting on the fence line, hitting on drums and pouring ritual beer on the grounds. But it was close enough to feel like we saw it for free. No one was in the pictures we took, and it felt more like a personal experience and historical site (since it was not populated), rather than a tourist trap.