The Wardrobe

The Cathedral Close, Salisbury

Overview

The windows of this second floor apartment frame views of Salisbury Cathedral and the view from the sitting room the best of all.

  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath

Beds 1 Twin, 1 Double

Sleeps
4
4 nights from
£408 equivalent to £25.50 per person, per night

A lofty view of Salisbury cathedral

In return for our help with rehousing their museum in the Wardrobe, the now-disbanded Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment allowed us to form a flat high up in the attics. Here, approached by a 17th-century staircase, are three lofty rooms each with a different outlook. The Landmark prides itself on the views from its many windows, but the view from the sitting room of the cathedral is one of the best of all, whether by day or by night, when it seems to be floodlit expressly for one’s benefit.

A house since before 1600

The Wardrobe, which contains traces of a substantial medieval hall, was once the Bishop’s storehouse and so got its name. It has been a house since before 1600, mostly let by the Dean and Chapter to laymen, who formed in it some very handsome rooms now part of the museum. 

The tallest spire, one of our best cathedral closes

All cathedral closes have a special quality but this is one of the very best, a succession of beautiful houses ranged round the only English cathedral built in one go. Its spire is the tallest in the country, and contemplating the skill and courage of the medieval masons who built is both inspiring and sobering. You can still explore their ancient scaffolding within the tower. Those who stay at the Wardrobe share, with the museum, the precious use of a long walled garden which runs down to the swift and silent Avon.

‘Even on the short journey from bedroom to bathroom I could not resist a detour to make sure the view was still there.’
‘An oasis of tranquility in the heart of the city.’

From the logbook

Floor Plan

Map & local info

The Wardrobe looks onto the cathedral, the best of its many views, and shares with the museum the use of a long walled garden which runs down to the swift and silent Avon.

Salisbury Cathedral, Rifles Museum and Arundells are all within very easy reach from The Wardrobe. The "Medieval masterpiece" that is Salisbury Cathedral attracts visitors all year round and is home to the Magna Carta. 

Mompesson House is also located in Salisbury Cathedral Close.Visit this near perfect example of a Queen Anne House with its impressive collection of 18th century drinking glasses. 

Don't miss the monthy farmers' market in Salisbury and the September Salisbury Food and Drink Festival, where you can enjoy some early Autumn festivity and sample local produce. 

Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival presents a fantastic array of cultural events. Classical and world music share the limelight with international theatre, dance, film, visual arts, children's events, free outdoor events and a full literary programme. 

Three miles outside Salisbury, the stunning Wilton House, home to the Earl and Countess of Pemroke, is open to visitors throughout the summer. It has been featured in films such as Pride and Prejudice, The Madness of King George and The Young Victoria. 

Stonehenge is 30 minutes in the car from Salisbury. It is the most famous ancient monument in Europe, and is well worth a visit with its transformed visitor experience. 

Take a look at our Pinterest Map for more ideas and things to do during your stay at The Wardrobe.

 Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Clear directions
FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    No.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via a short drove from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Salisbury – 0.5 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    There is one parking space approximately 10m from the property. Please note there are steps between the parking area and the entrance to the Landmark flat on the second floor. 
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There is electric central heating and a gas fire.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also an electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a bath. 
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The stairs are steep and narrow.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is a garden (not enclosed).
  • Is there higher than expected background noise?

    Yes, weddings or private events are sometimes held in the gardens and there are occasional evening events held in the museum.

     

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • What time can I arrive and what time do I have to depart from the Landmark?

    Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

For storing cloth and bulky items

The soldiers who garrisoned Castle of Old Sarum made life so difficult for the clergy that they petitioned the Pope in 1218, seeking his permission to move away. The exodus down the hill to the Bishop’s land by the river took place a year later, the clergy followed by exactly 100 trusting citizens. The first stone of their new cathedral was laid on 28th April 1220, and with astonishing speed it was all but finished by 1258. Around it the canons built houses, and outside the Close the town of Salisbury grew equally rapidly, thriving on the wealth of the wool trade.

Unlike a monastic Chapter where the monks would live communally, the Salisbury Chapter was secular and the houses that the canons had built around the Close belonged to them. The problem of later monks having to buy a property was solved in the 14th century by sale or gift of most of them to the Dean and Chapter. Some were left specifically to the Bishop, and the Wardrobe was one of these.

In the early Middle Ages a wardrobe was a place for storing clothes and other non-perishable objects such as books, relics, armour, spices and candles. It grew in the 13th century to encompass the whole department which dealt with the purchase of such things and the making up of clothes, an organisation of considerable size and complexity. On the social scale a Bishop ranked as the equal of an earl. His household would have included priests, clerks and servants as well as young men from noble families and promising young scholars. Outside this circle there were liveried bailiffs, assistants and retainers. A high-ranking priest, known as the Keeper or Wardrober, would have overseen all the different functions.

Medieval Bishops constantly travelled and the Bishop’s Wardrobe would have travelled with him, visiting the different manors each with their wardrobe chambers, often heated so that the tailor and embroiderer could keep their fingers warm. The Wardrobe in Salisbury would have acted as the store for more bulky items and for receiving cloth in manorial dues. Large chambers were required as well as living quarters for the Keeper. This ties in with the building history as revealed by the restoration work carried out in 1979. This showed that the existing building dates back to late 14th century when it probably comprised a central aisled hall with cross wings at the north and south ends.

In the mid-16th century Salisbury received a reforming Bishop, John Jewell, who decreed the smashing of the idolatrous stained glass. Having no need of the Glass-house next to his Palace he moved the Wardrobe into it instead. The Reformation reduced the number of canons and in 1569 the hall and south wing were leased to the Chapter Clerk who later leased the north cross-wing as well. By 1633, at a time when laymen were increasingly moving into the Close, the building passed to Sir John Crooke, a local gentlemen.

He set about restoring and improving the house, principally by flooring over the medieval hall to create a Great Chamber on the first floor, with deep cornices, large mullioned and transomed windows and a wide fireplace. A staircase was fitted into the angle between the south wing and the central block, which, with its decorative balustrade, leads up to the Landmark flat.

The Commonwealth years saw the Close at its lowest ebb, the houses neglected and mostly empty, the graveyard a meat market and rubbish dump frequented by the insalubrious regulars of the numerous taverns. The Wardrobe, thanks to the work of the Crooke family, escaped ruination, but other houses were in dire need of the great rebuilding of the late 17th and early 18th centuries that was to give the Close the face for which it is so rightly treasured.

In the 18th century further alterations and improvements were made, including the fine set of rooms on the garden front. The hall became a dining room with a drawing room in the south wing and the Great Chamber was divided up into bedrooms. The gatehouse that had stood to the east of the house for several centuries was finally demolished in 1807. The Wardrobe saw little change in the 19th century, except modernisation of the kitchens and the addition of extra service rooms to the north. It was James Hussey’s daughter Margaret who left toys and exercise books to be found by our builders in the backs of cupboards and under the floorboards.

In 1939, the War Office took over the Wardrobe and it became a base for the Auxiliary Territorial Services until 1945. It then became a hostel for the expanding Diocesan Training College for Schoolmistresses until 1969. After that it remained empty and deteriorated until 1979 when it was arranged that the Landmark Trust would have the attics and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire) the rest as its headquarters.

For a short history of the Wardrobe please click here.

To read the full history album for the Wardrobe please click here.

Restoration

Changes needed for multiple occupation

The size and plan of the Wardrobe made it ideally suited to multiple occupation, accommodating a Landmark flat, museum, curator’s flat and administrative offices and social rooms for the Regiment. More than one entrance was obviously needed for all these uses and the solution was to open up the two sides of the 1820’s porch so that in one direction it gave onto the 17th century staircase.

Structural problems in the south wing had to be dealt with as the ends of the main beams had rotted away. The roof, which had been altered so many times that some vital timbers were missing entirely, was near to collapse and had to be stripped and repaired. The north wall was bulging and showing cracks, necessitating much work. Once these problems had been sorted out work on the interior was straightforward though extensive. Circulation had to be improved, the partitions of the Great Chamber were removed, the great fireplace restored and the windows unblocked.

The Landmark flat presented more problems as the floor needed strengthening. Steel joists had to be inserted, raising the floor by one foot, which had the advantage of improving the views out of the sitting room windows. In the bedrooms the old floors have been kept but the sitting room has a new deal floor of specially cut wide boards. Furthermore the flat was not light enough, and the kitchen and bathroom had no windows at all. In the sitting room a new dormer was built giving a view of the cathedral. By using old tiles, and in giving a point of emphasis to the large expanse of roof, it has turned out to be rather an improvement. Other windows were enlarged, and a small window was inserted into both the kitchen and bathroom.

Old doors were used throughout and the stairs, of such lovely oak, were just rubbed down and waxed, after some judicious reinforcement from below. All the ceilings had to be replastered and the surfaces painted or papered. Those who stay in the Wardrobe can now enjoy one of the finest views in the country.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.