Salisbury (pop. 37,000) centers around .Salisbury Cathedral and its astounding 123m spire. The bases of the pillars actually bend inward under 6400 tons of limestone; the chapel houses the oldest functioning mechanical clock, which has ticked 500 million times in the last 600 years. (555 120. Open June-Aug. M-Sa 7:15am-8:15pm, Su 7:15am-6:15pm; Sept.-May daily 7:15am-6:15pm. Suggested donation £3.50, students and seniors £2.50. Check for free tour times.) The roof and tower tours are worthwhile. (May-Sept. M-Sa 11am, 2, 3pm, Su 4:30pm; June-Aug. also M-Sa 6:30pm. £3, students £2. Call ahead.) Nearby, one of 4 surviving copies of the Magna Carta rests in the Chapter House. (Open June-Aug. M-Sa 9:30am-5:30pm, Su noon-5:30pm; Sept.-May daily 9:30am-5:30pm. Free.)
Trains arrive at South Western Rd. from London (lMshr. every hr. £22-30) and Winchester (IMihr. £9.90). National Express buses (08705 808 080) pull into 8 Endless St. from London Victoria (2%hr.; 4 per day; £12.20, round-trip £14); Wilts & Dorset buses (336 855) arrive from Bath (#X4; every hr. from 7am-6pm, £4). The Tourist Information Centre is on Fish Row in the Guildhall. (334 956. Open June-Sept. M-Sa 9:30am-6pm, Su 10:30am-4:30pm; Oct.-Apr. M-Sa 9:30am-5pm; May M-Sa 9:30am-5pm, Su 10:30am-4:30pm.) From the TIC, head left on Fish Row, turn right on Queen St. go left on Milford St. and then under the overpass to find the YHA Salisbury 0, in Milford Hill House, on Milford Hill, which offers 4 kitchenettes, a TV lounge, and a cafeteria. (327 572. Breakfast included. Internet access £2.50 per 30min. Lockout lOam-lpm. Reservations recommended. Dorms £15; under-18 £12.) Matt and Tiggy’s , 51 Salt Ln. just up from the bus station, is a welcoming 450-year-old house with warped floors and exposed ceiling beams. (327 443. Dorms £11-12.) At iiHarper’s “Upstairs Restaurant” , 6-7 Ox Rd. inventive international and English dishes (£6-10) make hearty meals and the “8B48” (2 courses for £8 before 8pm) buys a heap of food. (Open M-F noon-2pm and 6-9:30pm, Sa noon-2pm and 6-10pm, Su 6-9pm.) Postal Code: SP1 1AB.