Salisbury is in the perfect central location to visit the rest of the south of England, with easy access to the coast, the New Forest, the south-west, Cotswolds and London. Here we have selected our favourite places to visit from Salisbury, to help you plan your adventures, along with the best ways to get to each location.
Salisbury has the enviable position of being within easy reach of cities, coastline and countryside. We have hand-picked our favourites, which include a few places less well known to visitors to the UK, but which make for a fabulous day out. Using public transport is far better for the environment and will save you the stress of traffic and parking, although for a few of these places, a car is unfortunately the best option.
We have placed these locations in order of ease to get to by public transport:
1. Stonehenge, Wiltshire
The purpose of this pre-historic stone circle is still shrouded in mystery, but it is world famous and is on many people's bucket lists.
This is the obvious day trip for most visitors to the area, with lots of buses and tours to take you. In peak season it can be over crowded, so if you want to do it without the hordes, then consider a stone circle access tour which avoids the crowds altogether. You can also see the stones for free if you are prepared to do a bit of walking (details coming soon).
Best way to get from Salisbury to Stonehenge:
The best way to get there is by bus trip from Salisbury train station or the centre of town. You can arrange the whole trip, book tickets, look at timetables and find out more from The Stonehenge Tour >>
You can of course drive there, or even walk there from Salisbury - a mere 3 hour stroll!
2. Bath, Somerset
Less than an hour's journey by train from Salisbury, the UNESCO heritage city of Bath has some amazing sites and plenty of things for the visitor to see and do.
The Roman Baths, the Abbey, the Georgian Royal Crescent, river cruises and beautiful buildings mean it is well worth the day trip. If you are visiting in the summer months then consider the unique experience of seeing the Baths by twilight, avoiding the crowds altogether, and still being able to catch a train back to Salisbury afterwards. Slow Travel's City Guide to Bath is coming soon!
Best way to get from Salisbury to Bath:
The cheapest and easiest way to get between the two cities is by train: there are regular trains, both train stations are in the centre of town, and tickets can be very cheap if you book in advance. Traffic in Bath can get busy, and parking can be tricky, so this is far the best option.
Train: Salisbury to Bath direct Frequency: Hourly Journey time: Approx 1 hour Cost: £19 adult single but £5 if you book in advance. Book here >>
London needs no introduction - there is so much to see and do there that there is something for everyone. (Slow London guide coming soon!)
About 90 minutes away by train, the day trip to London is an easy one to do, and if you book in advance, can cost as little as £12 for a return.
Best way to get from Salisbury to London:
The only sensible way to get to London for a day trip is by train. Coach is cheaper but can take longer and cut into your exploring time, and driving is a nightmare with traffic jams and parking charges. Arriving at Waterloo, you can access the whole city through the underground. If you want to spend several days in London, it is still cheaper to get the train there and back from Salisbury for a few days than it is to stay in a central London hotel.
Train: Salisbury to London Waterloo direct. Frequency: Every 30 minutes Journey Time: Approx 1h 30m Cost: £42 adult single but can be £12 if you book in advance.
Book your train tickets through South West Trains to avoid the Trainline booking fee.
4. Portsmouth, Hampshire
Portsmouth is a naval town with a long and vivid history, making it an excellent place for a day trip.
The Historic Dockyards are filled with naval history and include the Mary Rose, HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and a submarine museum where you get to go inside a submarine - a truly unique experience.
There is also the D-Day Museum, a Sea Life Centre, the Spinnaker Tower with its glass floor, a seaside funfair and plenty of other attractions.
Best way to get from Salisbury to Portsmouth:
Train: Salisbury to Portsmouth direct. Frequency: Every hour Journey Time: Approx 1h 15m Cost: £20 adult single but far cheaper if you book 12 weeks in advance. Book train tickets here >>
Bournemouth is a very popular seaside town, with miles of golden sandy beaches and all the seaside attractions that come with them.
There are piers, pleasure gardens, theatres, bars and restaurants as well as museums, an oceanarium and lots of activities.
It can be a great place for a day by the sea - hiring a beach hut and watching the world walk by. There are quieter beaches for those who know where to look (details coming soon.)
Best way to get from Salisbury to Bournemouth:
The cheapest, and quickest way from Salisbury to Bournemouth is on the X3 bus. Buses save the hassle of parking in Bournemouth, which can be hard work and expensive in peak season, and the trains take too long as there is no direct line, and often involve several changes.
Bus: Salisbury to Bournemouth direct on the X3. Frequency: Hourly Journey Time: 1h30m Cost: £8.50 adult return, with concessions available. Timetables here >>
6. Winchester, Hampshire
Winchester is a cathedral city with a lot going on, and it has plenty of historical sites which are worth visiting, such as the Great Hall and the Hospital of St. Cross.
There is a fantastic science centre and planetarium and Marwell Zoo is nearby to keep the kids happy. There are nature reserves and lots of walks, theatres, museums and regular cultural festivals and a splendid Christmas market with an outdoor ice skating rink in the cathedral grounds.
Best way to get from Salisbury to Winchester:
There are no direct buses or trains, but the train journey only has one change and is an easy one to do. Driving is an option if you use the Park & Ride sites for parking, as parking in the city itself can be tricky, with a shortage of spaces, some confusing road systems and heavy traffic.
Train: Salisbury to Winchester (via Basingstoke). Frequency: Every 20 - 30 minutes Journey Time: 1hour Cost: £15 adult single, but much cheaper if you book 12 weeks in advance. Timetables and book your tickets here >>
7. New Forest, Hampshire
Harder to get to by public transport but still accessible if you make the effort, the New Forest is a glorious place to spend time, particularly in the summer.
Some areas are filled with tourists, but it is easy to find peaceful spots if you know where to look. Our Slow New Forest Guide is coming soon to help you avoid the crowds and to get the most from this beautiful part of the UK.
Best way to get from Salisbury to the New Forest:
Car is really the only practical solution to get to the Forest, although it depends on which part of the forest you want to visit. The New Forest has 8 train stations - Ashurst, Beaulieu Road, Brockenhurst, Hinton Admiral, Lymington,