Old Sarum (Wiltshire - England)

About 3km from Salisbury station is the Old Sarum. After visiting StoneHenge the return bus ride stops at Old Sarum. Its a ruined fort much in the lines of Dholavira but located in a even bigger area of land.
After the bus left us here, we were still kinda lost, coz there was hotel there and the fort ruins was nowhere to be seen. Again Google maps came to aid and we figured it was in the opposite side of the road and a walk through a little dirt track would lead to the entrance of Old Sarum. 
The specialty of Old Sarum is that it has always been an important spot ever since pre-historic times. About 5000 years ago this was an important place for the neolithic, pre-historic people and continued to stay so throughout Bronze age and Iron age. Ever since the Celtic Period this became a powerful hill fort. During the Roman Era in 43 CE, this place was used from military purposes. After Romans, this place came under the royals of Saxons.

In the 12th C, this was a huge royal castle. Very close to the entrance is one structure that's relatively intact. This structure has a few rooms and some places have a arch entrance too! 

And as I love it, its a true arch (architects will understand the term!). Some are man made bricks and some are stones and rocks. The original fixing agent must have been a mix of clay, however presently its restored with cement. In 12th C this very building served as the royal castle of King Henry I. A high tower must have been there at the centre whose staircases are still intact.
There is a well in this area, which is now covered with grill for safety reasons. This was the main source of water for the castle. What may have been its depth is unknown, but it could have been about 70m deep.
At another place the ground plan was clear and the entire masonry has wiped away. This had original served as a catherdral. The curved back where the altar would have been is clearly visible from the ground plan. By early 13th C the castle was expanded for King John. However by 1220 CE, the Catherdral moved to Salisbury and this was only a castle & fort. 

There are 2 sections of wide and deep moats forming concentric circles. One just around the central fort where still some remnants of masonry exists. Today a wooden bridge serves as a passage to reach the fort across the ditch. The other ditch covering an area of 12 ha, including the cathedral floor plan that exists today. A motorable road and a dirt track connect the main road across this moat. Unfortunately it can be seen only from a helicopter! 
Pic Courtesy: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/old-sarum

These would have been the perfect moats that protect the royals from enemies who could be easily spotted from guards above if anyone tries to cross this place. 

Honestly I haven't seen such a large expanse of green grass. The entire space and the adjacent land was all green grass lands. The space had 3 football grounds and 1 volleyball ground set up. There were a few families with kids and dogs. The unleashed dogs and the kids were having the best time of their life running about in that green grass. There were some with kites as well.
That's Salisbury town from atop Old Sarum! In the above pic, at a far away distance, in the midst of the mist, if you strain your eyes, you can spot the Cathedral. Unfortunately in winters the Cathedral closes by 4 and it was 3:30 when we left Old Sarum. I may not go soon again, coz the train ticket itself costs much! Let's see when future takes me there!

Refer to my earlier post.

P.S: Check out here to know what I wore to the trip.

Dedicated to Venkat


An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 85 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of June 2022. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands


  1. It looks like a great place for a castle to be built in. Something that I only get to see in the movies:)

  2. Aaah, such a nice place to see. I would love to go there in one of my future trips - so little time and so many places to visit! Love the photos, they were like taking me to another time.

  3. It looks so cold out there! The place is awesome for an afternoon out, though. I'd love to go and relax there.

  4. I really wish I could visit Europe to see these sights!! Wiltshire looks so hauntingly beautiful! :D

  5. The place looks huge! I can only imagine how majestic the castle, fort and cathedral used to be.

  6. It's a beautiful place! Just that I am unlikely to visit it alone~ Maybe for a photoshoot or something...

  7. It's really amazing seeing the remnants of the fort. It has a lot of glorious stories behind its walls and we learn a lot of our heritage and history.

  8. I have never heard of this place before. So interesting in terms of historical value. Thank you for the information about this place.

  9. is this a touristy spot? i'm really amazed at the lack of people around here! it's such a huge plus point for such scenic spots.

  10. The plot of land is huge and it looks so serene and comforting. I can imagine myself siting at one of the rocks and just staring into the green pasture... how relaxing!

  11. this is a place i would want to visit someday. it just looks so peaceful. i think it is a good place to go soul searching. :)

  12. You went to see the Stonehenge? Wow! Did you create a post about it already? I love historical places, looking forward for your future travel posts. What happened to the castle of King Henry ruin? These reminds me of game of thrones hehe.

  13. This reminds me of Taxila, a famous old city in Pakistan. It looks quite similar to this place.

  14. I love historical places. I hope to visit this someday.

  15. I love historical places. I hope to visit this place someday.

  16. Ruined forts make a great place for photography!


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