Salisbury in Lonely Planet 'top 10 world cities' list
Salisbury has been named as one of the best cities in the world to visit next year by travel guide Lonely Planet.
The Wiltshire city, described as "quintessentially English", was the only UK entry in the top 10 list.
Placed seventh ahead of Toronto and Vienna, the city was selected as its "greatest treasure" the Magna Carta marks its 800th anniversary in 2015.
Tom Hall, one of the judges, said it might appear a "surprising choice" but "we believe Salisbury is a must-see".
According to the Best in Travel 2015 publication, travellers have "for too long" considered the city a "short stop on the way to Stonehenge".
But with the eighth centenary of Magna Carta "igniting revelry across England" next year, Salisbury - as the holder of the "best-preserved original copy" - will be "leading the charge", it says.
"It's hard to imagine a more inspiring time to visit Salisbury," the guide states.
"The lightning rod for the celebrations will be Salisbury Cathedral, the neck-straining medieval masterpiece whose Chapter House holds the Magna Carta.
"And the cathedral itself boasts a clutch of superlatives, with the tallest spire in Britain, the world's oldest working clock and Britain's largest cloister."
|What's so great about Salisbury?|
|1. Famous faces|
|Residents past and present include former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, authors Sir Terry Pratchett and William Golding, who wrote Lord of the Flies while teaching in the city. Star of stage and musicals Michael Crawford was also born here.|
|2. Notable landmarks|
|Landmarks include the cathedral which boasts the tallest spire in the UK at 404 ft (123m) and the world's oldest working clock dating from 1386.|
|3. Bill of rights|
|Salisbury is home to the best copy of Magna Carta, the 800-year-old agreement which outlined basic rights with the principle that no one was above the law, including the king. It celebrates its 800th anniversary in 2015.|
|4. Painting of doom|
|The parish church of St Thomas and St Edmund is home to the Doom painting - the largest chancel arch painting in England dating to 1475.|
|5. World heritage|
|To the north of the city is Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and nearby is Amesbury recently proved to be the oldest continuous settlement in the UK.|
Included in the city's "life-changing experiences" are the "apocalyptic murals" in the gothic church of St Thomas a Becket and under "most bizarre sight" are the crop circles which appear near the city every summer.
Mr Hall, one of the contributors responsible for whittling the 40 possible world cities down to just 10, said the main selection criteria were the city being "topical", offering value for money and possessing the "X Factor".
"We included Salisbury because it deserves to be recognised as one of the UK's most important destinations for travellers next year," he said.
"Bursting with history, top-class restaurants, atmospheric nightlife and a host of festivals planned for 2015, we believe Salisbury is a must-see for travellers."
The other cities in the top 10 were: Washington DC, El Chalten in Argentina, Milan, Zermatt, Valletta in Malta, Plovdiv in Bulgaria, Vienna, Chennai in India and Toronto.