Monday, 16 May 2016

Salisbury Cathedral.

My father's side of my family come from a very beautiful part of England. He grew up in a tiny little village just inside of the New Forest, and my brother and I were very lucky to spend multiple holidays in the counties of Wiltshire and Hampshire. My dad went to school in the closest 'big' town, Salisbury, and it's always been a place I've loved visiting.

Going back to Salisbury was somewhat bittersweet. We used to make the eight hour journey down at least once a year to visit my grandparents, but after they passed away in 2011 we haven't had much cause to go back. However I actually found it kind of comforting to be back in the places I remember from my childhood trips.

 I grew up in a totally different country, with a different kind of culture and a very different setting from the place my dad and auntie grew up. Edinburgh is pretty small for a city, with a population of just over 495,000 people - but the village my dad lived in has a population of less than 600 (and probably would've had even fewer people in the 50s and 60s!) It's a beautiful place, very rural and obviously on a national park, so it is limited in how much it develops. Edinburgh can change day-to-day, and although we have some beautiful green spaces, we don't have horses, ponies, pigs and cows wandering free along the streets!

I think (for me at least) that when you lose people you love, places can take on a bit more meaning. Visiting these places again - particularly now as an adult - helps me feel a bit closer to that side of my family. That probably sounds super cheesy, but I didn't know a huge amount about where they came from and I really enjoyed learning.

The main reason for us being in Salisbury was a family wedding which I'm obviously not going to do a blog post on, but we also got the chance to have a look around the cathedral. Now I've been to a lot of religious buildings in my time and I'm sure you've probably visited a church or two yourself, but who knew how many claims to fame Salisbury Cathedral has?!

The cathedral is over 750 years old which is kind of mind-boggling when you see the size of it. It also only took 38 years (from 1220-1258) to complete the main body of the building which means there is one distinct architectural style - Early English Gothic - to most of it. The tower and spire of the cathedral were added a little later, in around 1320. I think perhaps because there aren't any tall buildings nearby that it's hard to put the spire's height into context but this baby is a whopping 404 feet high (123m) and is actually the tallest spire in Britain! I didn't find this out till afterwards (and I'm glad because it kind of freaks me out) but the weight of the tower and spire is so great - over 6000 tons - that supporting pillars at the corners bend inwards under the pressure. If you aren't as much of a baby as I am though you can take a 'Tower Tour' and view the original medieval wooden scaffolding and walk out onto the balconies at the foot of the spire (around 225 feet above ground level).

Back down on solid ground, the interior of the cathedral is stunning. Compared to the cathedrals in Edinburgh like St. Giles', it's huge. It may not be the highest or the widest in the world but it felt really long and standing at one end looking right down the nave is very impressive.

One of my favourite parts of this beautiful building is actually the cloister attached. Cloisters are the covered walkways that usually run around a courtyard just outside of the main church. This cloister is actually the largest in the UK (I told you that Salisbury had a lot of claims to fame...) and it's really beautiful.

Salisbury Cathedral is home to the best-preserved copy of the four surviving original copies of the Magna Carta. You can go in and see this amazing piece of history - basically the closest thing the Brits have to a constitution - which holds the monarchy to the same standards of law as the common people, and prevents anyone from ruling with absolute power.

Apparently Salisbury also has the world's oldest modern-style clock, but that completely passed me by!

Salisbury Cathedral is a beautiful, striking building that means a lot to me for a variety of reasons. Although I'm not religious, being somewhere that was so well-known and such a notable landmark in the lives of my family was really comforting to me.

Have you been to Salisbury, or do you have a place that connects you with your family? Let me know! :)



  1. It's such a beautiful cathedral, I'd love to visit! Great photos!

    Ella xx

    1. It's really lovely inside, I wasn't expecting it to be quite as epic! If you get the chance to visit you should :)

  2. Oh, I love a good historical building! This looks great. I love visiting places with family connections too - makes it extra special.

    1. Yeah it's so much nicer to go somewhere with some extra meaning, makes you care about the place a lot more I think! :)


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