GTO’s Sarah Jeffery recently visited Salisbury Cathedral to experience its famous Tower Tour. The cathedral’s iconic spire is instantly recognisable and taking a tower tour seemed the best way to get to see it close up! Each tour is led by an experienced guide and has a maximum of 12 spaces so, together with her daughter Caitlin, Sarah joined 10 other visitors for the 332-step climb to the top. The tour lasted around 90 minutes and was led by volunteer Richard Offer, who educated the group on the cathedral’s history whilst they explored the ancient roof spaces and narrow winding spiral staircases.
The main cathedral was built in just 38 years and each stone was carved by hand – no two are the same size or shape. That means when stones need replacing, each is specially made to order and still hand-carved, using the same techniques as the original masons.
The tour was completed in a number of segments, which made it much easier. However, some of the stone spiral staircases date back to the 13th century and, with few or no handrails, care had to be taken with each step. Once they reached the foot of the spire, the group were 225 feet above ground level and, under Richard’s watchful eye, could walk outside onto the four balconies to enjoy the spectacular views over the city, Old Sarum and the surrounding countryside.