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Old Sarum, Wiltshire

OldSarum2.jpg (33040 bytes)

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OldSarum1.jpg (43236 bytes) Old Sarum earthwork attracted William the Conqueror.

It is the remains of a prehistoric Royal palace, Norman castle and cathedral not far from Salisbury in Wiltshire. Today it is a great earthwork with a huge bank and ditch.

Old Sarum was originally built by the people of the Iron Age around 500BC. The Romans, Saxons and Normans have all been resident in what is now known as Old Sarum.

In 1070 it was the base William the Conqueror used to pay off his army and by 1085 it is where he demanded loyalty from his nobles. A Norman castle, cathedral and Royal Palace were built inside, but disputes between priests and soldiers, together with an inadequate supply of water were all to play a part in its downfall.

OldSarumCathedral.jpg (63072 bytes) In 1226 the city of New Sarum, or what we know today as Salisbury, was created. The old cathedral was dismantled and used to build the new one in Salisbury, which has been made famous by the paintings of John Constable. The castle at Old Sarum remained in use until Tudor times.

It is a beautiful site on top of a hill and when standing on the top of one of it's mounds you can see the surrounding chalk countryside landscape all around and in the distance on a good day the new cathedral in Salisbury can be seen.

What you see when you arrive

We parked the car in the car park and walked across the footbridge over the dry moat. Inside the main walls there was a small shop and some ruins of a village that existed a long time ago. You had to have a very good imagination to put together a picture of what it would have been like to have lived here in the day it was active.


It was also the site of the original Salisbury Cathedral and in the grass you could see the outline of where the original structure was. From the raised earthworks surrounding the site looking, south,  you could see the existing Salisbury Cathedral in the valley below.


Pictures were taken in 2002 prior to Nikon DSLR - hope to update them sometime.

Planning Grid


Old Sarum, Wiltshire

Grid Reference

SU 138327 - OS Map 184

Map Link:


Getting there:

2 miles north of Salisbury off the A345.


From car park walk across moat via steep wooden bridge into main entrance and site has chalk paths.


It has it's own free car park 50m from entrance via loose gravel surface and steep wooden bridge with non slip surface.


Toilets.  Disabled access to outer bailey and grounds only, there is a disabled toilet.

Things To Do, See and Photograph:

Remains of prehistoric fortress and Norman Palace, castle and cathedral. Also views across the chalk plains.

What to take:

Camera, Tripod, Grads, Panorama kit

Nature watching:


Best Times to Visit:



Old Sarum, Salisbury Wiltshire




01722 335398





Opening times:

1 Mar-31 Mar and 1 Oct-31 Oct Daily 10am to 4pm

1 Apr -30 Jun and 1 Sep-30 Sep daily 10am to 5pm

1 Jul-31 Aug daily 9am to 6pm

1 Nov-29 Feb daily 11am to 3pm

Closed 24-26 Dec and 1 Jan


English Heritage Members - Free; Non-Members Adults 2.90; Concession 2.20: Child 1.50

Photo Restrictions and Copyright:

No commercial photography is allowed in all their grounds, it is not permitted in some buildings for conservation purposes, usually a no photography symbol is present on entry to the building where this restriction is in place.

Other useful websites:


CIN Page Ref:


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