Things to see and do

 
An aerial view of Old Sarum showing the Iron Age ramparts and ditches, as well as the outline of the cathedral and the central mound of the medieval castle

The Iron Age Hillfort

Rising up from the Salisbury plains, the Iron Age Hillfort of Old Sarum is hard to miss. The impressive ramparts consist of two earth banks separated by a ditch.

First created around 400BC they were later heightened in either the late Iron Age or early Roman period.

A courtyard house within the inner bailey of the castle at Old Sarum in Wiltshire

The Royal Castle

Cross Old Sarum's wooden bridge and step into the heart of a once bustling medieval castle. Built around 1070 by William the Conqueror, it was here in 1086, that William gathered all the powerful men of England for a ceremony to assert his royal authority.

Building the castle in the middle of the old earthworks transformed the site.  It created an inner set of fortifications which became home to a complex of towers, halls and apartments, and a huge bailey.

A reconstruction drawing of the first cathedral at Old Sarum

Salisbury’s First Cathedral

Stand in the footprint of Salisbury's original cathedral in the outer bailey of Old Sarum.
The first cathedral was a modest building damaged by a violent thunderstorm just five days after its consecration in 1092. It was later massively extended by Bishop Roger.

In 1220 foundations were laid for a new cathedral in Salisbury (New Sarum) and Bishop Roger's cathedral was demolished. Many of its stones were re-used in the construction of the new building. The outline of both the original and extended cathedrals can be seen today.

One of the beautiful paths that can be found on the 19 acres of grass chalkland that surround Old Sarum in Wiltshire

Walking and views

With 29 acres of beautiful rare grass chalkland to discover, and far-reaching views across the Wiltshire countryside, Old Sarum is the perfect place to explore on foot.

Take one of the many footpaths criss-crossing the ramparts and look out for the tall spire of the cathedral in New Sarum (Salisbury).

Bring a picnic and find a peaceful spot to enjoy the butterflies and kestrels, which can often be seen hovering over the outer bailey.  You can also pick up a hot drink at the vending machine - see our facilities for more details.

Plan your visit to Old Sarum today.

 

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