A meeting point for five rivers, a medieval cathedral town, and now a popular site for tourists both nationally and internationally, Salisbury is a quiet piece of southern Hampshire ready to explore. Its cathedrals are serene, its museums vaunted, its streets stately, its gardens scenic, and its shops bustling. There’s so much to see and do - far too much on an empty stomach.
Eventually, you’ll need to stop and grab a bite to eat.
However, sitting down to eat can take time out of your day. Big meals are always nice, but something to be taken as an event in its own right. Certainly, you’d be doing any restaurant worth its salt a great disservice to not take the time to appreciate the venue. During the middle of the day, if you just want a quick pitstop, the humble sandwich can always suffice.
Whether they’re sandwiches you’ve made yourself, or sandwiches bought on site, here’s some Salisbury’s most satisfying spots for a soft, sumptuous sandwich.
Reeve the Baker
Our first stop is a small chain business found on Butcher Row. Reeve the Baker was established in 1952, when the eponymous Harry Reeve opened his first bakery and made excellence and high quality one of the corner stones of his shop. Now Reeve the Baker has shops across the country, including Salisbury.
The premises are comfortable and well-lit, with moveable as well as fixed chairs. The site is a joint bakery and café, which sells freshly baked goods as well as serving freshly made meals during the day. Reeve the Baker prides itself in the excellence of its service, so the cafe can at times feel as much like a tearoom as a sandwich bar. All food is tastefully presented, using only the best locally sourced ingredients.
It’s a great spot if you want a light lunch, but also don’t want to skimp out on style. Staff are on hand to assist with any dietary requirements as well, stocking gluten-free bread and vegan dishes.
Queen Elizabeth Gardens
This is more of a place to bring a packed lunch than to buy one. If you’re looking for a relaxing rest beside the River Avon, the Queen Elizabeth Gardens offer some of the most serene spots in the city. Found on Mill Road, just a short distance from the city centre and in sight of Salisbury Cathedral, the Gardens are some of the city’s most beloved.
There are numerous spots along the river and the pathways to sit down, enjoy the scenery and have a quiet bite to eat. It offers a relaxing sanctuary away from the rest of town, one enjoyable to all ages.
There is a disabled toilet on the site that’s free to use, and all the pathways are smooth and well maintained. If you’re visiting with grandchildren, there’s also a playground to play in.
The Bell Tower Tea Room
Open during the warmer parts of the year, the Bell Tower Tea Rooms is found on the Cathedral grounds, making it a fantastic place to stop and recharge after you’re done exploring the site.
The cafe offers sandwiches, light lunches, cakes, and traditional English afternoon teas, all at affordable prices and in a very well appointed venue. During fair weather, seating and tables are available outside on the North Lawn, offering unparalleled views of the cathedral and the surrounding environs.
Assistance dogs are welcome at the restaurant, and staff are on hand to assist with any dietary requirements. While the outer seating area is gravel, the interior of the café is bright and well lit, with smooth panelled flooring.
Another place to bring a packed lunch with you, Chorister’s Square is found just outside the cathedral on the western end of The Close and the southern end of the High Street. It’s a small green surrounded on one side by neatly trimmed trees and picturesque townhouses on the other. As well as being a scenic spot to stop for a rest and a light lunch, it offers a fantastic view of Salisbury Cathedral.
There’s a small carpark on the southern part, but otherwise it’s in a quiet part of the town and should prove a peaceful place to recharge your batteries.
Being located close to the Cathedral, the High Street, and numerous museums, it makes for the perfect place to pause and rest while in between activities. Benches are provided along the north and western perimeters of the green, although no foot path leads to them. This may provide uneven footing, and difficult ground to cover for wheelchairs and scooters.
For something that offers excellent value for money, Snack Packers specialises in making quick bespoke sandwiches for hungry travellers on the go. You can find it on Wilton Street, and it’s hugely popular among locals and visitors alike.
With a wide array of fillings to choose from, including their famous hot roast beef bap, it’s very hard not to find something you’ll enjoy on the menu. All ingredients are fresh and high quality, while the staff are friendly and eager to help you assemble a lunch that leaves both your stomach and your wallets satisfied.
Be aware that Snack Packers specialises in buy-‘n’-go cuisine, and as such offers no seating. It’s not too far from the city centre, though, and is located just across the station. Consider stopping here if you’re ever catching the train, or are coming in from across the tracks.
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You may also be interested in our top five places for a pub lunch in Southampton.