Monday 24 February 2020

Family Adventures! Sarum Lights: A light and sound spectacular (Salisbury 800 years Celebrations)

This year marks the 800th anniversary of Salisbury and that means that this lovely cathedral city of mine is doing lots of random stuff to celebrate.

The kick-off event was this week at Salisbury Cathedral where they held "a light and sound spectacular" dubbed Sarum Lights. 
Combining light and sound projections, the exhibit explored the history of the cathedral over its 800 years celebrating the founding of the cathedral all the way through to modern-day Salisbury. 

I've been enjoying the trend of projecting light onto buildings to change them or bring them to life so there was no way I was going to miss this!

Salisbury has been our home for 11 years now and the cathedral is a dominating feature of the skyline which I guess isn't surprising seeing it has the tallest (and oldest) church spire in the UK. 
For my fellow history aficionados, Salisbury Cathedral houses the best preserved of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta. (Which is on public display if you ever want to see it.)

The event took place at night so the lights could work their magic and we were super lucky that the rain that had been plaguing us for weeks took a night off!

They'd turned out the street lights of the Cathedral Close and lit up the pavement cutting across the grass with fairy lights.
The spotlights that lit up the cathedral were also turned off which gave it a spooky almost gothic feel and when combined with the eerie blue glow of the projections from inside the Cathedral, the majestic building looked haunted! lol.
Very atmospheric.

Following the fairy light path around the building to the West Wall, we stood back on the grass and watched them project the history of the Cathedral onto the cathedral itself.
It took us back in time from when the Cathedral used to be out at Old Sarum, the decision to relocate it and the legend of an arrow being shot from Old Sarum and landing at the site of the "new" cathedral (yep, the 800 year old one, lol).

I should also mention that the legend is actually less pretty than what was projected but I guess the arrow hitting a stag and the stag running until it collapsed dead at the site of the current cathedral is less appealing to the masses...

While the story was projected in pictures onto the side of the cathedral, beautiful music was played from speakers surrounding the site and the music, more than the images, generated a whole load of feels in those present. I heard quite a few people talking about the music giving them goosebumps, etc. 

After watching the external displays, we went into the cathedral itself and it was breathtaking.
There was music that again created a majestic atmosphere and different images projecting different stories onto different parts of the cathedral as you walked through... It was like walking through a kaleidoscope at times, which could be disorienting, but still cool.

(Fingers crossed the video works!)

I thought that the inside stories were less clear and harder to follow than the outside display but it didn't detract from how visually appealing it all was.

Salisbury Cathedral sits right in the middle of the city and its spire can be seen for miles outside the city if the lay of the land is right but it is so easy to take it for granted as it's part of the furniture so to speak. It's awesome seeing it celebrated for the incredible building it is. I'm in actual awe of the fact that this building (including the spire) was founded 800 years ago. The fact that the entire building was built within 40 or so years, is mind-boggling especially when you factor in that they built a spire that's over 120m high all the way back in the medieval period!


The event cost £14 for the three of us (as we booked in advance) and it was well worth the ticket price. As our time slot wasn't until 19:00 we had a meal out beforehand and it made for a really lovely evening.



  1. Oh wow, this is so beautiful! Cincinnati has done similar things like this in the past, though I never got a chance to see it in person. One day! I love the idea of light shows and with the music too.


    1. Salisbury Cathedral is huge so it really worked for something like this. :)

  2. Oh wow! That looks gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing pictures with us!

    1. You're welcome! I'm glad you liked them.

  3. How stunning! This is exactly the kind of event I'd love to visit. Your photos are amazing! I love posts like this!

    1. I'm glad to hear it! I love posting things like this but am always conscious that I'm a book blog so people may not want to read these kinds of things.

  4. The cathedral is beautiful, and the light show looks like it was amazing. What a neat event! And, I am glad the weather cooperated.

    1. First time in a long time the weather has co-operated! It's back to rain again... And another named storm heading our way. I never thought I'd say it but I'm tired of the rain!


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