As one of England’s most famous archaeological sites, Stonehenge welcomes more than its fair share of visitors every year. The site is less than two hours away from central London and it’s a popular day trip from the city.
Stonehenge was created by a culture that left no written records, so there’s not much known about this structure- though there are plenty of theories ranging from aliens to Merlin himself.
What we do know is that the earthworks surrounding the stones have been have been dated back to roughly 3100BC and carbon dating suggests that the stones were raised about 500 years or so after that. The site has been protected since 1882 and was named a UNESCO World Heritage side in 1986.
When I visited, I took a combined tour out of London that allowed me to visit both Stonehenge and the nearby city of Bath. Although it was a long trip, the bus was comfortable and it’s not like I haven’t gone on longer road trips before!
While tourists were once able to walk right up to the stones, irresponsible visitors have resulted in everyone losing those privileges, and nowadays guests are only able to get within a few hundred feet of the circle. There are some more expensive and very limited tours that allow for closer viewings, but for the average visitor, this is as close as we get! Still, the stones were very impressive to look at- the idea of moving rocks this big without the help of a crane is astounding!
The nearby Visitor’s Center hosts several artifacts to look at while taking advantage of the gift shop and the cafe. It was pretty cold when I visited, so it was a relief to get out of the wind!
I did find this to be a really cool experience- I’ve not seen much else like it in all my travels and the mystery of the structure definitely keeps it interesting. It is, however, a collection of rocks- very cool rocks, but rocks nonetheless- so I’d definitely recommend doing a combination tour!
The city of Bath is a very popular add-on, and many people also like to visit Windsor Castle while already out of the city.
I can personally vouch for the Bath extension! We ran into some traffic, probably because of the Jane Austen Festival that weekend, but it was cool to arrive and see everyone all dressed up in regency outfits- especially while not having a clue what was happening.
I checked out the Roman Baths, which really are incredibly well preserved- though they were remodeled a few times in more recent centuries- and while you cannot enter the water, there is still plenty to do between the baths and the museum surrounding it. I definitely spent more time in the museum area than intended and didn’t end up seeing much of the rest of the city before having to head back to London, but what I did see was beautiful, so definitively budget some time to wander!
For some people, their trip to England starts and ends in London, but it’s important to remember that there’s a whole country that’s worth a visit! Both Bath and Stonehenge are staples of English history and absolutely worth the trip.