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Several months ago, my cousin Geoff, who lives in the States with his American wife, Nicole, and their three children, booked flights for the pair of them and their youngest, Sophie, to visit the UK. They got nail-bitingly close to not being able to come, (their flights were refundable) but just a few days earlier, the UK government had lifted the requirement that double-vaccinated people must go into 10 days’ quarantine. We all met, including Geoff’s mum, Barbara, in Salisbury on Monday, 9th August.

In fact we met up at the Wilton Park and Ride, and took the bus into the centre of the city. It was the first time I had been on public transport for a very long time. (Thank you, Somerset County Council, for rushing my new bus pass to me!) It was pleasing to see that nearly everyone on the bus was wearing a face covering.

Not knowing Salisbury well, I was not sure where we were when we got off the bus, and in our efforts to orientate ourselves we came across a pub, the George and Dragon, with an outdoors seating area, where we took first coffee and then some lunch.

Sophie, me, Nicole, B(arbara), Geoff

Having orientated ourselves, we then set off on a walk I had printed from somewhere on the internet some years back but never done. It started in the Market Place, at the Guildhall, which houses some services of the Salisbury City Council (strictly a parish council, the lowest rung of local government, Wiltshire Council being the unitary authority for the area). I failed to get a photo of the outside of the Guildhall.

Part of the Market Place

Some rooms in the Guildhall are open for visits, in addition to being available to hire for events.

The Banqueting Hall
The Oak Court
The Grand Jury Room
Looking down on the Foyer
In the foyer. Was this ever used as a fireplace? We couldn’t see where a chimney might have gone.
In the Crown Court.

The giant basting spoon above was made for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. Description of the artefacts in the Guildhall is here.

We walked on. The Haunch of Venison is said to be haunted by a resident ghost, the Grey Lady. The Poultry Cross is is the last remaining element of the market established in 1227. There were crosses for several trades and and goods.

The black and white building is the hall of a 15th century wool merchant called John Halle.

Why is there a camera in a 15th century hall? Because the building is now a cinema!

Up the pedestrianised High Street and to the North Gate to Salisbury Cathedral. Here Nicole and Sophie left us, and Nicole was able to render her phone useable in the UK.

We didn’t go into the Cathedral, but walked round the Cloister. (My visit in July 2017 is recorded here.)

The walk then took us to more rural areas, to the adjacent village of Harnham

One of the UK’s many Rivers Avon.

At one point there was a ten-minute walk along a busy road, where to add insult to injury it started raining. Thank goodness we had brollies with us.

In due course we were able to turn off the main road, and arrived at the Old Mill, from which we walked across the Water Meadows on the Town Path. It was still raining.

Geoff in yellow and Barbara under large umbrella.

From thence it was a short walk, brollies lowered, across the Elizabeth Gardens to Crane Street, and into the town centre again.

I’ve not been able to discover what this rather lovely building was, but it may now be the offices of a building consultancy. Later, a friend living in Salisbury tells me:  The last photo is of Church House, Crane Street. Built around 1455, in 1634 it became the City Workhouse until 1881 when it was bought by the Diocese of Salisbury as their HQ – which it still is. Very fine timbered medieval hall – complete with working Parliament Clock of 1797 (so-called because Wm. Pitt imposed a tax of 5/- pa on clocks, so communal clocks multiplied but law rescinded after nine months! Then as now, politicians do daft things!)

We three returned to the Market Place where in due course met with the two, partaking variously of tea and cake before taking the Park and Ride bus back to our cars.

A lovely day.