It's not exactly our intended holiday, but with England opening up again we're starting a few mini breaks to visit or revisit some sights. Beginning with a few days around Hampshire & Wiltshire.
Winchester is a pleasant small city. The main sights are the Cathedral (open) and Great Hall (closed). The former is impressive, although I suspect it will become one of the many we've visited over the years that sort of merge in the memory, but the Close is very attractive and worth a wander. At least from the outside, the Great Hall looks interesting. There is a clutch of military museums, not all yet open, and we went to the Gurkha one. A proud brigade with a magnificent history and this was a compelling museum, very well done. Perhaps the other highlight of Winchester was the extensive ruins of Wolvesey Castle (actually a former palace). There are also various other sights dotted around the centre such as the old city walls, gatehouses, Jane Austen's house and the large Buttercross. Winchester is definitely worth a day. We stopped overnight at the Wessex Hotel, which is next door to the cathedral and has it's own parking.
From Winchester we drove to Salisbury, taking most of the day to do so (although it's only about 25 miles). We stopped briefly in Stockbridge, an attractive town famous for its wide main street suitable for drovers (and drivers). No big sights as such but worth a walk around. Then onto Danebury Iron Age Fort for a walk. What an interesting place and, I admit, I'd never heard of it before. The walking is easy, the views are fantastic, there is some (limited) information panels on what you're looking at and there are wild horses.
Our final stop before Salisbury was Old Sarum. It seemed to be fully open, although with timed advance booking only and a one-way route to help social distancing. The history and remains are fantastic - ancient Britons earthworks, through medieaval castle & cathedral ruins and an early modern link as one of the rotten boroughs. Not to be missed.
Finally arriving in Salisbury we had an evening and morning to visit. Unlike Winchester, we have been here before but not for many years. The highlight is the Cathedral and its Close. This is one of those cathedrals that does stand out in the memory with its huge spire and great cloister. Sadly the Magna Carta room isn't open yet, but the mechanical clock (the world's oldest) can be seen. After the cathedral & close there didn't seem to be so much to Salisbury and the centre isn't as attractive as Winchester, but we had a pleasant evening pub-crawling around the Guildhall area. It was mildly interesting that each pub we visited had adopted slightly different covid measures to suit their layout, but all had clearly thought carefully about the arrangements and executed them efficiently (and firmly). We stopped overnight in the Whie Hart, very central and a nice old building with car park, but no lift.
And so to home via Stonehenge. The Stonehenge visitor centre is new since I last went (about 30 years ago), and is excellent. The circle itself is breathtaking - and I think knowing a bit more about it from the new exhibition did make it much more interesting, as does seeing other sights on the walk to the stones such as the older barrows and pits which put it in a sort of context. If you've previously been to SH and left thinking "so?", I'd recommend a return including the exhibition and pre-historic walk. The virus restrictions (advance purchase only, limited tickets each slot), kept crowds down which also helped our enjoyment, as did the pleasant weather!
So, not what we were expecting to be doing when planning our Summer, but an enjoyable few days. Hopefully, when more on this forum are able to visit, they might consider some of these places too. For our next "mini-break staycation" we're heading North for a few days.