Sunday morning saw us drive south west to Salisbury. Ian and I had visited the area on my first trip to England in 2006, but that was more a happy accident than good planning. On that occasion we had come up against some serious motorway delays enroute to Bath, so had taken the off ramp and ended up in Salisbury on dusk. It was glorious and I will never forget entering the cathedral just as evensong began.
We settled in then went for a drive to find something for dinner. Our hosts recommended a pub called the Victoria and Albert in a nearby village. We found our way to Netherhampton and the pub, but it was closed for another half hour so we drove into the town and had a walk around. Salisbury has every convenience and is much bigger than I had remembered it.
On Friday morning we were up early to head over to the school. Idyllic, picture postcard, gorgeous – are all words that spring to mind about Leaden Hall. It’s setting in the Cathedral Close must be about one of the most picturesque places you could imagine. We later learned from one of the teachers that John Constable used to stay at Leaden Hall and paint scenes of the garden. He also painted the Hall from across the river.
In recent years the school has added a whole wing of new buildings and a large hall. Apparently the planning permissions are very strict in Salisbury due to its heritage listings and there were numerous attempts before the designs were accepted. They nestle into the block beautifully. There is also a fast flowing river at the bottom of the garden and adjacent fields with horses and cattle – as I said, idyllic.
We ate lunch with the girls and staff in the dining room, which is a huge conservatory off the main building. The food was great – English boarding schools seem to set the standard for excellent meals.
My last session was with Year 3 and 4. The girls were great as all of the groups were.