Unless you have been living under a rock (ha ha) you’ve read about or seen pictures of Stonehenge!
Stonehenge is a prehistoric stone circle in Wiltshire, England. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. Archeologists believe that Stonehenge was built between 3000BC and 2000 BC.
Since our family is into archeology and history, this was a must see on our trip to England!
Originally, we planned to visit Stonehenge the day before but we couldn’t get tickets. It wasn’t until we got there that we realized the previous day was the spring equinox. Duh!
This is a huge big deal at Stonehenge! People dress as Pagans and Druids and they come from all over to see the sunrise. In fact, it’s one of only four public events a year where Stonehenge isn’t roped off. You get to walk amongst the stones! How cool is that?! Well, maybe we will plan for that another time!
Archeologists are still trying to figure out how all the giant heavy stones were moved and exactly what Stonehenge was used for. They know for certain that it was a burial ground because they have found the remains of more than 200 people. Theories are that Stonehenge was a place of healing that people came to visit and it was also a place to study stars and eclipses but it’s still a mystery!
You can tour Stonehenge as a day trip from London. A long day because it’s about two hours each way and you will want to stay at Stonehenge for a few hours. You can rent a car in London or arrange a tour. There are many tours that you can arrange from London.
The Stonehenge Visitor Center is great. It’s clean, organized and well managed. There is a gift shop and a cafe where you can have lunch or a snack. The Museum is really nice and interactive.
All the info you need to visit is on their website. We booked our tickets online in advance. You select a time slot and have a 30 minute window to arrive. Once you are there, you can stay as long as you want.
If you have time, you can visit other sites in the area like Woodhenge and Avebury so be sure to do your research and make the most of your trip!
The World Heritage City of Bath is best known for its Roman baths. (And bird poop but more on that later). It’s just over an hour drive from London, which makes it a great day trip. However, we chose to spend the night in Bath so we could spend more time exploring. And we combined it with trips to Oxford and Stonehenge.
We stayed at the Francis Hotel Bath by Sofitel. Great location, friendly service and quite charming!
The city itself is filled with Bath limestone, a honey colored stone. The architecture was predominantly Georgian, which is a tad boring but the city is very walkable with lots of sights and restaurants.
Here we are in front of the Royal Crescent. They are townhouses and flats built in a crescent shape in 1774. The most interesting thing about this place is the “Ha-ha ditch”. It’s designed to break up the lawn for different purposes but not obstruct the view. I love the name! You can read more about it here.
The Roman Bath complex is the main attraction in Bath and a visit here will show you why. The modern museum and well preserved ruins are a must see! It’s fun to learn about the lives of the Aquae Sulis people.
You can’t actually bathe there but you can go to the nearby Thermae Bath Spa, which looks amazing.
At the end of your tour you can sample the spa water. It has 43 minerals and it’s a cure for whatever ailments you might have. The kids thought it tasted like the end of a nosebleed and I agree!
Adjacent to the Roman Baths is The Pump Room. It’s really elegant and a great place to have afternoon tea-which is so very fun and English!
While in Bath, we took advantage of the nice weather and had a relaxing walk in Royal Victoria Park.
So, what about all the poop? It turns out that there is a huge Gull problem in Bath and some other inland cities. The gulls find the urban locations safe places to nest and return each year. The birds are aggressive and noisy. Bath spent tens of thousands of pounds on bird control last year. You won’t find this on the Bath Tourist Info but be prepared to be pooped on!
Next up…Stonehenge and London
Greetings from Oxford, England!
We flew into Heathrow Airport in London and stayed the night at the Sofitel right at the airport because we had a long trip from the US and we were exhausted! After a twelve hour snooze, we were ready to go! We rented a car and set out for Oxford.
Don’t forget to keep left!
Our original plan was to go to Stonehenge on our first day but we had to go to plan B. We didn’t realize it was the equinox – so, there were crowds of people all camped out to celebrate that Pagan ritual at Stonehenge.
It worked out just fine though because we had a lively afternoon in beautiful Oxford! The town was charming and ascetically pleasing! Who doesn’t love lots of different architecture packed into one small English town?! Neo-Gothic, Palladian, Gothic Revival, Neoclassical and Baroque- just to name a few!
We ate fish and chips and vegan mushroom pie for lunch at The Eagle and Child– which once was the watering hole for Tolkien and CS Lewis. How cool is that?!
We strolled around the town and Helena is now 100% convinced that Oxford is her number one choice for college. We are all convinced that we will love visiting her there!
Oxford is about an hour and a half drive from London. It’s a university city with over 150,000 people and a very cool vibe. I highly recommend a visit!
Stay tuned for Bath and Stonehenge…