WITH the arrival of 'Freedom Day' today, July 19, the government has put an end to social distancing restrictions, the wearing of masks and event and business closures.

Most of Salisbury had already reopened before Step 4 of the lockdown roadmap was given the green light, but the latest lift could be the final push that shoppers needed to return to the city.

While we have sadly said goodbye to several businesses in the city over the last few years, independent shops with bespoke products, eateries with the finest food and drink, and art and history at every turn are still at the heart of what makes Salisbury tick, making it a special place to visit.

Here is a list of reasons why Salisbury is a great city for shoppers, just in time for the lifting of lockdown restrictions.

1) Salisbury has a huge range of independent shops to support

The resounding message from this year’s lockdown has been to shop local and support independent businesses.

In Salisbury shoppers are spoilt for choice.

In the city centre alone, there are at least 80 independent shops offering unique products and services according to the Salisbury directory, with 23 independent shops launching over the pandemic

This month Salisbury shoppers will be able to get free Salisbury tote bags, funded by the Salisbury Business Improvement District, in participating independent shops if they spend over £20. 

Salisbury Journal: Salisbury High Street - Picture by Spencer MulhollandSalisbury High Street - Picture by Spencer Mulholland

2) Salisbury’s boutiques offer unique items to fill your summer wardrobe

For women’s accessories and clothing, there is the recently opened Etica Boutique, Raffinee which has been based in Salisbury since 1983, and to list a few others Anokhi, OSO Boutique and Conker Boutique.

For men, Regent Tailoring on New Street is a one-stop independent shop offering casual wear and suits as well as bespoke tailoring services.

Offering slightly more niche products, Foxtrot Vintage Clothing on Fisherton Street offers unisex second-hand and vintage garments, and family-run business The Hat Shop has a huge range of hats catering for men, women and children. 

The family jewellers Allum & Sidaway has been a staple in the city centre since opening 75 years ago, as have jewellers H R Tribbeck & Son who opened here in 1905, both offering repair services alongside high-quality products.

Salisbury Journal: Jan Ashton of OSO BoutiqueJan Ashton of OSO Boutique

3) Salisbury has three malls in its city centre, so you don’t have to go far

If you’re on the hunt for High Street brands, Old George Mall has a Marks & Spencer, H&M, The Body Shop, and other big names, as well as some food and drink options.

There is also The Maltings, a riverside shopping centre with a Sainsbury’s supermarket, and the Cross Keys Arcade which has a TK Maxx, Rymans, and a collection of smaller, independent shops and cafés.

On the outskirts of the city, Southampton Road offers more High Street brands, and The Guild (or Wilton Shopping Centre) is another popular shopping destination only three miles out.

Salisbury Journal: Cross Keys Shopping Centre at Christmas - Picture by Spencer MulhollandCross Keys Shopping Centre at Christmas - Picture by Spencer Mulholland

4) Salisbury’s markets, galleries, and antiques shops make it perfect for a day trip

Salisbury has a rich history, and so does its historic marketplace which has been hosting buyers and sellers since 1219.

You can visit its modern-day incarnation in the same spot, the Salisbury’s Charter Market, every Tuesday between 8am and 3pm and Saturday between 8am and 2.30pm.

Salisbury’s farmers market is incorporated into the Charter Market, but there is also a dedicated Farmer’s market on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

The city centre is also host to an array of art galleries, Whitewall Galleries Salisbury, Gallery 21, Fisherton Mill, and Wiltshire Gallery to name a few.

Fisherton Mill is the largest art gallery in the Southwest, and a great destination for families, as they run workshops and have a café.

Located on Salisbury’s Fisherton Street, Fisherton Warehouse holds an eclectic collection of retro, antique and vintage items, and is a great place to go in for a browse and stumble on treasure.

This is also true for Salisbury Antiques Market, set over three floors, and Castle Galleries coin and medal shop which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.

Salisbury Journal: The return of Salisbury Charter MarketThe return of Salisbury Charter Market

5) Salisbury is a great place for meaningful gifts

If you’re looking for the perfect gift, the Salisbury Gift Card covers 100 participating businesses across the city, including hair salons, restaurants, boutiques and more. 

For a more bespoke gift there are independent stores like The Yard and Casa Fina who sell beautiful gifts and homewares.

Hardings at Fifty Six High Street is another great gift shop which celebrated 125 years of family ownership last year.

The Card Collections in Old George Mall and the Salisbury Cathedral Gift Shop are also great options brimming with thoughtful presents and inspiration. 

For those with a green thumb, Gullicks Florist, which is the longest trading florist in Salisbury, has got you covered for houseplants and flowers.

Salisbury Journal: Susi Mason, owner of Casa Fina and director of Salisbury BIDSusi Mason, owner of Casa Fina and director of Salisbury BID

6) Salisbury has great cafes and independent eateries in prime locations

For a midday break or snack, Salisbury has many independent tea rooms and cafés to choose from alongside the usual chains such as Costa Coffee and Boston Tea Party.

READ: Five best cafes is Salisbury according to TripAdvisor

Salisbury Museum Café in the Cathedral Close is a great choice over these summer months, boasting the best views of the Salisbury Cathedral from its old English garden.

If you’re looking for something more substantial, Salisbury also has a huge range of independent eateries such as Brown Street, which set up shop over the pandemic, Carwardine’s on Bridge Street, which specialises in traditional English food and Henderson's Artisan Bakery and Café.

Salisbury Journal: Paul Henderson of Henderson's Artisan Bakery and CaféPaul Henderson of Henderson's Artisan Bakery and Café

While you’re out and about in Salisbury, don’t forget to keep an eye out for bears too...

Salisbury Journal: Children getting ready for Save the Children’s Bear Hunt in SalisburyChildren getting ready for Save the Children’s Bear Hunt in Salisbury

Save the Children’s Salisbury Bear hunt is underway for the summer holidays, with 100 bears hiding in shop windows and prizes up for grabs. Click here to find out more.

Why do you think Salisbury is a great place to shop? Feel free to add to this list by emailing newsdesk@salisburyjournal.co.uk