Completed in just 38 years in the 13th century, Salisbury Cathedral is a fine example of Gothic architecture. It features the tallest spire in Britain at 123m in height, and Europe's oldest functioning clock, dating from 1386. Other notable features of the Cathedral include Britain's largest cloisters, Cathedral close and quire stalls. However, the most celebrated aspect of Salisbury Cathedral is that it houses the best preserved original Magna Carta (there are only four left of the original thirteen) dating from 1215.
This crucial document in British history, was signed by King John to redress the balance of power between the King and his subjects. It was the first time that royalty were not above the law, and three of the clauses of the Magna Carta are still law today. Elias of Dereham was present at the signing, and hand-delivered ten of the Magna Carta documents to key church figures.
One of them went to the old church that Salisbury Cathedral replaced, and Elias was behind its later construction.
Visitors can climb the Cathedral's huge tower, and take a free guided tour. Leaflets are available for children, so that they are not left out. The spire contains the original wooden scaffold and extremely rare ironwork which is medieval. There are 332 steps (in stages) so this experience will not be suitable for all.
The chapter house is one of only twelve remaining octagonal, medieval rooms in the country. It is designed so that when sitting in the seats around it, nobody is at the head, and each person is equal. Built in the 1250s, it is ornately decorated with marble and animal carvings. A medieval frieze adorns the walls, depicting scenes from the Old Testament.
The Cathedral is accessible to wheelchair users, apart from the spire which requires visitors to climb many stairs. Disabled toilets and wheelchair loans are available.
There is a gift shop on site and a large restaurant, which caters for children and a variety of dietary needs.
Salisbury Cathedral is well serviced by road, bus and rail links. Contact the information centre for the latest routes and timetables.
General Enquiries & Chapter Office,
The Chapter Office,
6 The Close,