With one of the grandest Cathedrals in England, as well as an original copy of the Magna Carta and Stonehenge on the doorstep, there’s certainly plenty of reasons why you’d want to visit Salisbury.
And getting there by bus is certainly one of the cheapest and easiest ways to do it.
So here I talk you through exactly how to get the bus to Salisbury from a range of destinations, as well as give you some ideas about what you might want to do in this city after you arrive!
Let’s get stuck in…
- All You Need to Know about Buying Stonehenge Tickets
- How to Travel from London to Stonehenge
- Only Cotswold Itinerary You’ll Need!
This page contains affiliate links meaning Big World Small Pockets may receive a small commission on any purchases at no extra cost to you.
Where is Salisbury and Why Visit?
Well I suppose the very first question we should probably kick off with is, why would you want to head to Salisbury?
After all, if you are planning to travel there, it’s probably a good reason to know why in the first place!
Outside of visiting friends or family, then there’s no question Salisbury is a great destination for visitors in the UK.
With an enormous Cathedral, one of only 4 original manuscripts of the Magna Carta in the world and the mighty 5000-year-old icon of Stonehenge on the doorstep, there’s plenty to see both in and around this city.
FYI: Buy your tickets to Stonehenge in advance here.
Being located in the southwest of the UK – in the country of Wiltshire – Salisbury is not too far from London either (you can journey there in a couple of hours), which means this is also a great destination for those looking to day trip out of the capital.
Otherwise, if you are planning a longer adventure out from London, then Salisbury makes a great first stop on your way to other places in the Southwest including Bristol, Bath, Glastonbury or the Gower Peninsula in Wales.
Reasons to Get the Bus to Salisbury
And now that we’ve covered why you should go to Salisbury, it’s probably worth pointing out that there are a few different ways to get there.
First up, you can always rent a car and drive there.
From London, this is one of the quickest options, although it is more expensive and not as great for the environment.
If you are looking to hire a car in the UK, then check out this post I wrote, which includes my top 12 tips for renting a vehicle in England.
If you don’t want to rent a vehicle, then you can also get the train – this is another quick option with direct trains out of London Paddington or Waterloo that will get you to Salisbury in a couple of hours.
Tickets can be expensive, so I always book mine in advance using Trainline to secure the best deal.
But the cheapest way to get to Salisbury is definitely the bus and this really is the main reason to travel there this way.
If you don’t want the hassle or costs of renting a car, and you’re booking last minute (or travelling at peak times) which means the train can be crazy expensive, then a bus to Salisbury is definitely the way to go.
Bus from London to Salisbury
Getting the bus to Salisbury from London is one of the easiest routes for travelling to this city.
National Express coaches ply the route regularly leaving from Victoria Coach Station and taking approximately 2.5hrs to journey the 130km between the 2 cities.
Prices start from as little as £18 and can be booked here.
The first coach leaves around 10am and the last departure is around 6pm – this is for the daily direct services.
Arriving in Salisbury is easy, because the city is small, but getting to or from London Victoria can be a bit harder.
As always, I feel it’s important to point out that Victoria Coach Station is located around 5-10 minutes walk from the main Victoria train and underground station, so do allow extra time for this journey.
If in doubt, using the free Citymapper app to help plan your journey to or from here across London is the easiest way to navigate it.
Bus prices are usually pretty low despite the day and time of the service and don’t increase that much, if at all, until the day before travel.
National Express buses have onboard toilets, as well as USB charging points and good leather, reclining seats with tray tables that mean your journey will be very comfortable.
There is a hold for large luggage and room above seats for smaller carry-on pieces.
Bus from Bristol to Salisbury
After London, the next large city it’s probably easiest to travel to Salisbury from is Bristol.
Also located in the southwest of the country, there are some buses which go direct from here, including the National Express or, if you’re using local buses, you may have to change in the city of Bath.
Check out my top Bristol itinerary if you are visiting this city for a day or 2.
National Express timetables can be checked, as well as tickets booked here.
Otherwise, local buses can be used to make this journey – see the next section for more details.
The same goes for if you would like to travel from Southampton from Salisbury by bus – which is another close major city in the area.
Local Buses to Salisbury
So no matter whether you’re coming from another city in the southwest, such as Bath, Southampton or perhaps Frome or Winchester, it’s likely local buses are going to be your best option.
The leading company here is Salisbury Reds – you can check out their timetables here.
They have local buses from across the region, as well as to many of the small villages or attractions in and around Salisbury.
Their website is excellent, with an easy-to-use journey planner, as well as timetable and map features.
They also have an app you can download and use.
I used a Salisbury Red bus to get from Old Sarum back to the city centre when I was in the area and found their service punctual, friendly, clean and safe.
Tour Buses to Salisbury
You can also use tour buses to get to Salisbury – especially helpful if you are a visitor and wanting to check out the main attractions in and around the city.
That’s because many of these tours include guides and ticket admission, as well as transport, meaning everything is made easy and simple for you.
Often, tour buses to Salisbury run from either London or Southampton and combine a few different attractions into a handy day trip.
Here’s my pick of the bunch…
- Private Tour: Stonehenge, Winchester, & Salisbury
- Southampton – London via Salisbury, Stonehenge & Windsor
- Discover Windsor, Bath, Stonehenge and Salisbury
- Stonehenge, Windsor, Bath & Salisbury Tour from London
Top 5 Things to Do in Salisbury
And now we’re on the topic of tour buses and because this is a travel blog after all, I wanted to chat a bit about the best things to do in Salisbury and why you might go there!
So here’ my list of the top 5…
#1 Salisbury Cathedral
So first up, it’s the mighty Salisbury Cathedral – after all, you can’t come to this city and miss it!
This is the main icon in the city and is one of England’s flagship Christian buildings.
With the tallest spire in Britain, the Cathedral is huge and wandering outside it, as well as within it, is quite amazing… even if you aren’t religious.
Construction began on the Cathedral in 1220 and it was built in the Early English Gothic style.
The cathedral is now a unique example of this architectural era and tickets, which can be bought on Cathedral website, allow you to tour the inside, as well as learn about the huge tower, the largest Cathedral close in the world and the ancient clock, as well as other artifacts within the Church.
#2 Magna Carta
Tickets to Salisbury Cathedral also allow you access to the Cloisters and some of the adjoining parts of the Cathedral, including the room in which one of the only 4 surviving manuscripts from the 1215 Manga Carta is stored.
Housed in the Chapter House, which was at the heart of the Cathedral’s administration for centuries, here you can see the glorious medieval carved stone frieze as well as the ancient text which is kept in a separate, specially temperature-controlled space.
#3 Wander the City
Salisbury is a wonderfully compact city, that is easy to explore on foot and makes for lovely day trip material.
The River Avon follows through the city and there’s a cycleway to enjoy along its banks.
Otherwise, the ancient Market Place can’t be missed, nor the Salisbury Museum, the National Trust-run Mompesson House, or the lovely Queen Elizabeth Gardens.
And who can forget spending some time in a historic pub as a great thing to do in Salisbury too.
After all, this city has plenty, with The New Inn being a firm fav!
Finally, the whole city comes to life in May and June as the Salisbury festival season gets underway, so visit during this time if you can!
#4 Old Sarum
Just on the outskirts of the city, but definitely worth a trip if you’re visiting Salisbury (and very accessible via local bus) Old Sarum is an English Heritage site.
The site of the earliest settlement of the city, Old Sarum also housed a former Iron Age fortification, a Royal Castle and Cathedral in its time and is now a lovely spot on a hill if you fancy a picnic with a view of modern-day Salisbury!
And last but not least, we come to the big daddy on this list, the mighty UNESCO-listed 5000-year-old giant that is Stonehenge.
Learn more about visiting this world-class wonder in this blog post I wrote, which includes the full lowdown on how to see the Stones both independently, as well as part of a tour, how to buy tickets, how to get there and what you need to prep in advance.
When to Visit Salisbury & How Long For?
I definitely think that the best time to visit Salisbury is during the summer.
In the UK months of June through September, the weather is likely to be driest and warmest, so this is the best time to explore the city, especially the outside activities including Stonehenge, Old Sarum the historic city centre.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind this is also the most popular time to visit these key attractions, so avoiding school holidays and sunny weekends during the summer will definitely help you avoid the crowds too!
To see all the top things to do in Salisbury I mention above, you actually only need a day, because the city is pretty small.
However, to ensure you can do this comfortably and not rush to fit everything in, I highly advise either starting your day very early or staying in Salsibury the night before, so you can get up and get cracking!
Where to Stay in Salisbury?
If you are looking to stay in Salisbury, there’s here’s my top recommendations for getting a good night’s sleep…
Chapter House is wonderfully located slap bang in the heart of Salisbury and very near the Cathedral, so if this is a key reason for your trip, it’s worth checking this top-rated spot out.
Single, twin, family and double rooms are all available in this historic Tudor, Grade 2 listed building. Family-run, with fantastic service, this beautiful period property is the perfect complement when visiting the historic city of Salisbury.
Alternatively, if you want to be a little out of the city, The Old House Guest House is another winner thank to its comfort, cleanliness, top breakfast and lovely garden.
For a budget stay however, it’s hard to get better than the Salisbury North Bishopdown Premier Inn.
Set a little out of town, this is a great spot if you have a car however, as it’s just a ten minute drive to the Cathedral or a 2o minute drive to Stonehenge.
Free onsite parking, free wifi and Premier Plus rooms are all available at this site, which also has a restaurant serving breakfast and dinner.
5 Key Packing Items for Salisbury
And finally, here’s my list of the top 5 packing essentials you shouldn’t head to the beautiful area of Salisbury without…
#1 A Good Camera
No doubt you’re going to be snapping like crazy in this amazing historic city and need to ensure you have a good camera to do the place justice.
I love my Sony A6000, which is light, compact and great for travel.
#2 Decent Walking Shoes
You can’t come this far and not enjoy a walk along the river or in one of the many gorgeous green spaces around.
Get prepared therefore and ensure you have a decent pair of walking shoes – these cross-trainers from New Balance are ideal (and totally stylish) for the job.
#3 Light Waterproof Jacket
Whatever the time of year, you have to remember this is England after all, a country in which the heavens can open at any point!
Don’t get caught out and ensure you have a good lightweight and waterproof jacket with you!This North Face one is perfect.
#4 Compact Hiking Day Pack
I never go on any trip, no matter how short, without a sturdy backpack to ensure I’ve got everything I need and that the weight is equally distributed across my back and shoulders.
This super featherweight Kompressor from Marmot is my go-to, because it folds down to nothing and is water-resistant.
#5 Portable Charger
And finally, I would never head off anywhere without my trusty Anker Portable Charger, which keeps my phone and camera charged, meaning I can take all the snaps and use all the maps I need wherever and whenever I am!
Where to Head Afterwards?
If Salisbury has wet your whistle for adventure and you’re keen to explore more in England (and who can blame you?!), then why not consider these nearby options.
From Wiltshire (the country Salsibury sits in), it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to nearby Somerset which has more amazing historical cities and some beautiful natural areas too, including Cheddar Gorge. Check out my top things to do in Somerset here.
Otherwise, the stunning country of Dorset, with its dramatic Jurassic coastline and UNESCO-listed sights like Durdle Door, is well worth checking out too.
And finally, the city of Winchester and the wonderful New Forest National Park, all within the county of Hampshire, are super close to Wiltshire as well – in fact, you can drive to these places in less than an hour from Salisbury – making them a super weekend away combination!
PIN IT TO PINTEREST!
So there you have it, my guide on how to catch the bus to Salisbury from a range of destinations across the UK, as well as what to do when you get to this world-famous city.
Have you visited Salisbury?
What’s your top recommendation for things to enjoy during your visit?
Please leave your thoughts in the comments box below…