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Category: Seasonal Ideas for Excursions

Salisbury and Democracy

Salisbury and democracy. The news of an attack on the Magna Carta display last week reminds of what a wonderful destination Salisbury is to visit.

See the Magna Carta, climb the tallest spire

The centrepiece like so many of our historic towns is the cathedral. It is a Gothic marvel and boast the tallest spire of all the cathedrals. What makes it unique and most memorable is that it houses an original copy of the Magna Carta; the first draft of our democratic system.

Salisbury and Democracy: History

The connection with the Magna Carta is as old as the cathedral itself. At Runnymede, in 1215, King John was urged to accept the demands of the barons and agree Magna Carta by his half-brother, William Longspeé, whose effigy is in Salisbury Cathedral. Also present at Runnymede was Elias of Dereham, who at the time was steward to one of the key players in the crisis, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton.

Elias himself was a skilled negotiator and was at the very centre of the discussions between the king and the barons. Once Magna Carta was agreed and sealed, he was entrusted with delivering ten of the thirteen copies made, one of which was given to the original cathedral at Old Sarum. Elias later became a canon of Old Sarum before masterminding the building of the present Salisbury Cathedral.

Salisbury Cathedral’s copy is one of four which survive from this original issue. It was written in Latin by hand, by an expert scribe, on parchment (animal skin, in this case sheepskin). Medieval documents like this were not signed, but sealed, and at the bottom of our Magna Carta you can see the marks where King John’s seal was once attached.

2020 is its 800th anniversary and they have upped their game to celebrate. In the early 1220s Bishop Richard Poore, the medieval bishop of Salisbury, moved the cathedral and its community from Old Sarum to its present site.

Driven by the need to access fresh water, and desperate to escape bad weather, royal supervision and regular harassment by soldiers stationed at Old Sarum Castle, his actions changed the community and landscape of South Wiltshire forever.


By April 1220 the foundation stones for what was to become an iconic national landmark were laid and expansion started of the city.

In February (18th to 22nd) they are creating an immersive sound and light spectacular. They will be using the light show to tell the story of the cathedral.

From 1st April to 25th October is the ‘Spirit and Endeavour’ Exhibition. Contemporary artworks by 20 world renowned artists will be on display. Names include Henry Moore and Grayson Perry.

In early autumn, 15th to 20th September is the Festival of Flowers. A feast of both traditional and modern arrangements of thousands of blooms.


The Tower Tour is a favourite for those with a head for heights and the puff to make it to the top. Climb 332 steps in easy stages and explore the ancient roof spaces. You’ll reach the foot of the iconic spire, 68 metres above ground level, and get a chance to see up inside. After the climb, you’ll be rewarded with an aerial view of the inside of the Cathedral and panoramic views of Salisbury and the surrounding countryside. There are experienced guides who can explain all there is to know about the construction of this architectural masterpiece

Whilst it is 2 hours coach journey from here in this part of West Sussex to Salisbury, it may well be worth the time.

To hire Holt’s luxury 19-seater coach for an excursion to Salisbury, the cost is just £350.

Contact Holt Service to book the coach for the Salisbury and Democracy experience


Can’t Miss a Canterbury Visit

Can’t miss a Canterbury Visit: As the seat of the head cleric of the Church of England; the town where Thomas a Becket was killed by the king’s men; Chaucer and Marlow; the ancient walls and houses, the towering cathedral and fast running River Stour – Canterbury is a perfect destination for a day visit. So you can’t miss a Canterbury visit.

It has a compact centre. Arguably Canterbury has some of the best shopping in Kent. Plus it is so well arranged for coach groups. Plenty of cafes and pubs as well to refill flagging energy levels. Canterbury certainly deserves a place on your ‘to visit’ list


Lilford Gallery, in the heart of the King’s Mile shopping area, exhibits contemporary fine art from national and international artists as well as works from new and exciting talent.

The Sidney Cooper Gallery is a contemporary arts space located on the main street in Canterbury. In the main, the programme consists of a dynamic mix of exhibitions and events. For instance it showcases works by international artists and graduating students from Canterbury Christ Church University.

Gallery 64a is based at the southern end of Oxford Street in Whitstable. The gallery hosts both group and solo exhibitions of local and international artists. However, every month new shows exhibited. So come and visit in the Artistic Quarter of Oxford Street and take the opportunity to view and buy original artwork


Just being a London Tourist

Just be a London Tourist: A trip to London is always special. There is a phenomenal amount to see and do. Just turn any corner and history and culture hits you right between the eyes. On this Saturday day trip to see Tina Turner at the Aldwych Theatre, we took the ‘tourist’ route through Whitehall and Trafalgar Square before heading for the National Portrait Gallery


Contact Holt Services to book a coach for your experience of the sites and sounds in London. More and more the pressure is on cars to stay away from the big cities in order to reduce pollution and CO2 emissions. Coaches are looked at as the way forward to keep the bustling, dynamic, crowded, exciting feel that permeates the streets but avoiding the downsides of transport. The small coaches that Holt uses are ideal for nipping down back streets and taking short cuts to get ahead of the traffic. All in all a trip to London with Holt Services is uplifting and inspiring.

Feel free to call to discuss ideas about what you may like to do in your trip to London. Holt will do their utmost to ensure it works out the way you wish.

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