I have 3 days to explore Bath, Salisbury and Winchester. As a lover of all things medieval and especially Gothic cathedrals with their historic surroundings, are these my best city choices for this region of southern England, or does another city or site outweigh their historic or architectural significance? (Exclude Stonehenge-been there.) Does one offer more charm than another for overnight stays? I'm also looking for budget accommodation recommendations near the historic area. Many thanks!
Three good choices.
You mention that you're a lover of all things medieval and especially Gothic cathedrals. Some have said that Salisbury Cathedral epitomizes medieval Gothic in its purest form. Believe it's unique among England's older cathedrals, having been built in a single style. And the town itself has been described as one of the ultimate examples of an English cathedral town.
Wells Cathedral and Glastonbury Abbey and Tor are also in that area. You might consider adding them to the mix.
If wishing to see Bath, Salisbury & Winchester rom a central base, then Salisbury would be my preference - it would also likely have cheaper accommodation than Bath. Frequent direct trains link Salisbury with Bath. www.nationalrail.co.uk
To get from Salisbury to Winchester you can go by train but that involves a change in Southampton. I would favour the alternative - train to Romsey & then bus. (Romsey has an abbey). http://www.traveline.info
On the Salisbury to Romsey line is Dunbridge station - served only by the stopping trains. From here, you can walk 1.5 miles across fields to Mottisfont. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont/