Please note: This is a collaboration with VisitWiltshire. The Shepherd Hut stay was not part of the collab and the itinerary was created by myself. All sites visited was thanks to the VisitWiltshire familiarisation passport.
The Shepherd Hut Stay
At the start of the month, I surprised my boyfriend with a little getaway to Salisbury. It’s not often we have a free weekend, or a weekend to ourselves in fact (hence why this blog has taken so long to write up!) so I wanted to get away from Birmingham and celebrate September in a good way. When I Googled ‘places to visit in England’, you can imagine a lot of places came up. It was when I saw a post on Pinterest about Salisbury and how pretty the sights are, that I raced over to Airbnb to see what places were available.
During the drive down on a Friday afternoon, Josh still had absolutely no idea where we were heading. It was only when we saw signposts for ‘Salisbury’ after a 2 hour 30 drive that he had an idea where we were staying. At one point we drove passed a skydiving centre and I heard ‘Oh god, we’re not doing a skydive are we?’. No this weekend, no! 😉 The journey in total took us around 3 hours from Birmingham, which included a tiny bit of rush hour traffic. We arrived just before 7pm as the sun began to set. We drove up to this gorgeous house, parked the car and walked in through the garden to be met by two lovely dogs.
It said on the Airbnb description that this would happen, and they were right. They ran up to us from the length of the garden and gave us a lovely, warm welcome. As we reached the pathway at the end, we bumped into the homeowner who pointed us to the Shepherd Hut placed discreetly down the bottom of the garden. The property looked like a holiday home, and Josh really loved the look of the Shepherd Hut which gave me relief. Once inside, we put our bags down before heading out for some food at The Giggling Squid. The price of our stay was £55 per night which was an absolute steal considering we were just a few miles from Salisbury centre. All the comments scream positivity and it’s incredibly snug inside.
Owing to the size of the hut, it’s just big enough for a double bed, a log fire, and a little desk inside. There’s also a mini fridge next to the bed for booze, and any food you want to keep cold. Positioned at the bottom is a wooden table filled with cutlery, a kettle, tea, coffee, water, salt, pepper and some oil for cooking on the BBQ outside. It was a very ‘rustic’ and ‘back to basics’ type of experience as the toilet was situated in an out-house up at the top of the garden. The whole place was spotless and we couldn’t fault it.
By far the best part of the stay was the outside shower. I’d go back again just to experience that again, it was so refreshing (and thrilling) to take a hot shower in the cool September air. They also kindly provided a bottle of shower gel/hair gel which you are welcome to use. I can imagine it being a different experience in the dead of winter, but our experience was fantastic none the less. You have to make sure to take shoes out with you as you walk up as the grass which can be wet, and there are stones at the top. On the final night of our stay, we made use of the outdoor BBQ and fire pit. We drank wine, ate delicious food and snoozed the night away in the comfort of the hut. Absolute bliss. Do make sure to check out the Brush Shepherd Hut here.
Visit To Stonehenge
On the Friday night whilst eating our food at The Giggling Squid, I whipped out an itinerary I had created the week before our trip to make sure we saw as much as possible. Thankfully Josh was impressed with our list of places to see so I was very happy about that. Since I knew I was coming to Salisbury, a few weeks prior I got talking to the fantastic people at VisitWiltshire – and the fantastic Digital and Online Marketing Assistant Louisa, who organised for me to receive a VisitWiltshire familiarisation passport which allowed us to visit any sites we wanted in collaboration with them. Of course Stonehenge was at the top of the list.
Just 20 minutes from the Sheperd’s hut, we arrived at the Stonehenge visitor centre. Being such an iconic symbol of Britain, you usually hear things like ‘it’s just rocks in a field‘ and we weren’t too sure what to expect to be honest. I had arranged for us to arrive at 9:30AM (one of the first groups in) and the first port of call was seeing the Neolithic Houses which have stood the test of time for over 4500 years. During that weekend, they were also holding a foodie festival so we got to play some games and learn about the types of food the Neopolitans used to eat. We also saw a guy in costume that had skinned a deer for people to see.
From the visitor centre, you either have the option to jump on the bus to the stone circle, or take a brisk walk across the fields. It was a lovely warm morning so we followed our feet across the cow fields. Renowned as being a ‘spiritual place’, it was pretty weird to see groups of kids taking selfies (and pouting) with the stones in the background. It was fantastic to see the stones up close, it’s been on our bucket list for quite a while and was definitely worth the trip. The centre is open daily 9:30am to 7pm, with last entry at 5pm. They advise you to book in advance also as we saw the queue becoming quite lengthy on the way out. Check out the English Heritage site for more info on times and prices.
The Old Sarum
Next on the list was a quick drive to The Old Sarum – the site of the earliest settlement of Salisbury in England. This again was thanks to VisitWiltshire and the passport. What once used to be an old thriving town now remains the ruins of the cathedral and royal castle. If you love your history, this is definitely a great place to discover. It was just a short 15 minute drive away from Stonehenge which is one of the reason why I wanted to go. The Old Sarum is set within the massive ramparts of a first century Roman/British hill fort and it was also lovely to see dog walkers letting their dogs roam around. It costs just £5.20 for adults and £3.10 for children.
Old Ale And Coffee House
It was around midday when we left The Old Sarum and I just knew we would be hungry at this point. It’s a good job I had booked us in for lunch at the Old Ale and Coffee House in the town centre just a short 5 minute drive away. We parked in the centre and took a quick stroll through the lanes. As the name promises they have a really good selection of local ales, and the food menu is fairly good too. Choose from burgers, scotch eggs, soups, salads, and more hearty dishes. I had read good things online about this place and we weren’t disappointed although the burgers don’t touch the ones here in Brum. Nevertheless, the sun was shining as we demolished some food and shared a brownie between us. Prices are reasonable and it was a perfect time to refuel for the next item on the itinerary.
Salisbury Cathdral Tour
Let me start off by saying, regardless of what the recent ‘suspected Russian Spy’s’ say about their trip to Salisbury cathedral, it definitely takes longer than an hour to view and walk around the place. AHEM – anyway, I thought I’d make a point of saying that when I previously booked this trip to Salisbury in August, it completely slipped my mind of the recent nerve agent attack. We couldn’t understand why Salisbury town centre was pretty much a ghost town when we visited. It all makes sense now.
Once our food had slid down, I wanted to end the day with a finale spectacular, so I had arranged for us to do a Salisbury Cathedral tour, thanks again to the VisitWiltshire passport. Formally known as the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we were booked onto the 3:15PM tour with 10 other people. It’s a good job I had organised this a week or so beforehand otherwise we might not have been able to. They run a lot of different tours throughout the day and we both personally think this was a fantastic experience.
The tour enables visitors to endure 332 steps to see the Cathedral’s iconic spire close up. In stages, you begin walking up through the cathedral, across the wooden beams, up winding stairs (so be careful if you’re not great with small spaces) but once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with an amazing aerial view of the inside of the Cathedral and panoramic views. If you’re thinking of visiting and doing the tour, I won’t ruin the entire experience for you but please take some time to read about it at: Salisbury Cathedral Tower Tour. Tickets cost £13.50 per adult and £8.50 for children. The whole tour took around 105 minutes so make sure you have comfortable shoes on, there is a lot of walking.
After a long day, and a super early start, we then headed back to the Shepherd Hut for the night to cook BBQ food and sit in front of the fire pit. We heard foxes do that weird screechy sound too which was freaky in the dark. The next day though, I had one final surprise…
Boscombe Down Aviation Centre
If you’re into fighter jets and other historic aircraft and equipment displays, this place is ideal. This must be one of the very first interactive museums I’ve been to as they encourage you to press as many buttons as possible whilst sitting in the plane chairs. I really dislike it when you go to places like this and you CANNOT TOUCH anything – so this place is perfect for the kids. They’re open a lot of different times and dates throughout the year so it’s best to check beforehand on the Boscombe Down Aviation Centre website before visiting.
Now I don’t know much about jets, cockpits, or aircrafts, other than what I’ve seen in films. But considering it’s rated as the #1 thing to do in Salisbury, we couldn’t not give it a try. Josh is really into his war films, so I wasn’t too sure if we’d learn anything here but we certainly enjoyed the aviation experience. The staff were lovely towards us too, and encouraged Josh (who is 6’6) to climb inside the smallest jet seat. I think the pictures speak volumes for this bit. Adult entry is £8.50 and children under 16 will cost £6.
I’d just like to say a huge thank you to the team at VisitWiltshire, especially Louisa, for helping me to plan this incredible trip away and for a spectacular collaboration. Salisbury is such a gorgeous place, so please don’t let recent events put you off. Just be safe and know there are some incredible sights to explore that are outside of the centre. If you have any questions about our trip, where we stayed and what we did, feel free to ping me a comment below.