High on a hill two miles to the north of modern day Salisbury are a hill fort and the foundations of a Norman castle and cathedral, they are all that remain of Old Sarum. The area had been settled for 1,500 years before Salisbury, otherwise known as New Sarum, was founded in the 13th century.
In 1220 Bishop Richard Poore started work on Salisbury Cathedral in the plain below Old Sarum as the hillside community had simply outgrown the settlement. Progress was swift and almost all of the cathedral that stands today was built within 38 years, meaning it is one of a few that is predominantly one style of architecture, in this case Early English Gothic. Only the spire, which is the tallest in England, was added later.
The Close is home to the Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum, which features award winning exhibits on local history, costume, ceramics and artworks, as well as the Stonehenge Gallery, which demonstrates how Stonehenge could have been constructed and contains archaeological discoveries from the site.