Are you planning to visit Salisbury and want to coincide your trip with one of its cultural events or festivals? There are plenty to chose from and although some still haven't re-started after the pandemic, most are back in full swing. In approximate date order, here are the best of the Salisbury festivals.
Photograph © Salisbury Journal
27th - 28th January 2023
Now in its 24th year, the Winterfest is run by CAMRA to promote and support real ales. For only £8 you get a choice of 24 ales, 5 ciders, a souvenir programme and a glass. It takes place in the new Salisbury venue, @ Brown Street and is an opportunity to try new drinks and make new friends.
Salisbury Cathedral Festival of Flowers
This annual event sees Salisbury Cathedral filled with flowers, with a different theme each year.
Created by local flower arrangers under the supervision of top florists, the building is transformed into a beautiful and striking floral world which attracts visitors from across the area. Read all about a visit to the Festival of Flowers >>
Salisbury International Arts Festival
27 May - 18th June 2023
A week or more of cultural and artistic events in Salisbury and the surrounding area, the Arts Festival has been running since 1974. Each year has a different theme and a wide variety of activities, with events ranging from opera in the Salisbury Playhouse, street performers in the Market Square, Shakespeare in Old Wardour Castle, human towers outside the Cathedral and so much more. Performances can be very eclectic and appeal to all ages of culture vultures.
Find out more about the Salisbury International Arts Festival >>
The Vintage Nostalgia Festival
2 - 4 June 2023
Just 13 miles outside Salisbury is the Wylye Valley, which for a long weekend each June is filled with people wandering around in period attire, dancing, perusing antiques and making merry. A popular festival, not just with re-enactors, this is a fun way to spend a vintage weekend in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside.
Find out more about the Vintage Nostalgia Festival >>
The Chalke Valley History Festival
26th June - 2nd July 2023
The biggest and best history festival in the UK, this takes place in the village of Broadchalke just outside Salisbury. It is hugely popular and attracts big names and heavyweights from the worlds of history, politics and literature. The festival has talks, lectures, living historians, re-enactments, battles and plenty for kids, all in a verdant green valley. It is a marvellous, civilised way to spend a week and one all previous visitors will highly recommend. Read more about the joys of the Chalke Valley History Festival >>
7th - 8th July 2023
A popular beer festival held in the very lovely Salisbury Arts Centre, Beerex is run by CAMRA to promote real ales across the country. There is 50+ ales and 15+ ciders on offer, live music on an outdoor stage for the two evening sessions, food stalls and a bar if you don't fancy beer. Attendees are a mixture of people who take their beer very seriously indeed, and people out for a drink and a dance. You get a free glass to take home and a headache the next morning.
Find out more - Salisbury Beerex >>
The Lamer Tree Festival
(No dates given for 2023)
A family friendly festival of music, comedy, talks and arts held over 3 days in the beautiful grounds of Larmer Tree in nearby Cranbourne Chase. The Larmer Tree Gardens are 11 acres of Victorian pleasure gardens designed by Pitt-Rivers in the 1880s and which make the perfect setting for a cultured festival.
Find out more about the Larmer Tree Festival >>
The New Forest Folk Festival
5 - 9 July 2023
Five days of folk festival in farmland just outside Salisbury on the road to Southampton, this attracts some of the big names in folk music and is a chilled out event for music lovers. Run by local families, it is described as one of the friendliest festivals, with really good prices and a great vibe.
Salisbury History Festival
Last week in August
Run by local historians Timezone Productions, this event features talks, tours, plays and films focused on history in the Salisbury area. Well received by locals, events are often sold out and provide a fascinating insight to some of the less well known history of the city. Dates can vary.
Find out more about the Salisbury History Festival >>
Salisbury Food & Drink Festival
26th August - 4th September 2023
Photograph © Spencer Mulholland Photography
The free Food and Drink Festivals take place across the city, often culminating in a food market in the Market Square, with demonstrations, tastings, market stalls and competitions. With a wide variety of local foods on offer, talks and beer tents, the festival is always popular with foodies and locals alike.
The Salisbury Art Trail
Dates not given - usually September
The Art trail takes place every two years and has over 100 artists in over 50 venues, with diverse art across all media which can be discovered in open houses, artists studios, pop up venues, offices, cafes, restaurants, galleries, churches, workshops, hotels, colleges and more.
Salisbury Literary Festival
Started in 2017 with an unfortunate two year hiatus thanks to the pandemic, hopefully this will be back in 2022. With talks, walks, presentations and more, this festival focuses on literary works from or about Salisbury. There are a surprising amount of writers who have lived in the city, from Nobel Prize winner William Golding to comic writer Terry Pratchett and modern day playwright Barney Norris.
Read more about the Salisbury Literary Festival >>
St. Thomas's Christmas Tree Festival
29th November - 4th December 2023
Salisbury does Christmas particularly well, and the Christmas Tree Festival seems to be the unofficial start of the season.
The medieval church is filled with Christmas trees, all decorated by different groups, businesses and charities, and the church is filled with the the sound of choirs and musical groups. It is entirely free to visit and raises thousands of pounds each year for charity.
Read more about the St Thomas Christmas Tree Festival >>
Visiting Salisbury? Try out Salisbury City Guide for activities, places to visit, locally owned places to stay and eat and much more >>