Over the weekend I joined my friend and her family on an epic all-day car trip to Stonehenge, Salisbury and Bath! My college friend Jenn and her husband were in London visiting Jenn’s parents, who moved here from Texas about 6 months ago. Lucky for me, they had an extra seat in the car and brought me along!
Stonehenge was high on my list of places to see, but I hadn’t made any plans, so I was very excited to get an opportunity to visit. People had warned me they found Stonehenge underwhelming, so with my low expectations, I was pleasantly surprised!
When you arrive at the Stonehenge visitor’s center, you can download a free audioguide app on your phone. This definitely enhanced our visit. It was nice to be able to hear about the history and conservation as we were walking around the stones. It was a very windy day but that added to the drama!
You can’t go up to the stones because the ground underneath is not sturdy enough to withstand one million visitors per year, but you can book an Inner Circle tour to visit the stones before or after normal opening hours. I had planned to do that in the summer, but after seeing it, I actually felt that just a normal visit was plenty. I liked that no one could go up to the stones because I got much better tourist-free pictures, and I felt like we were able to get close enough to see the stones from several angles. I didn’t feel like I was missing anything by not being able to walk between the stones.
I read two quotes about Stonehenge that I really loved:
“There is something in Stonehenge almost reassuring; and if you are disposed to feel that life is rather a superficial matter, and that we soon get to the bottom of things, the immemorial gray pillars may serve to remind you of the enormous background of time.” – Henry James
“Anyone who has lived through an English winter can see the point of building Stonehenge to make the Sun come back.” – Alison Jolly
We also found Fudgehenge!
Salisbury was a very cute little town. We found a delicious Indian restaurant for lunch, and then headed to see the famous Salisbury Cathedral.
Salisbury Cathedral has the tallest spire in England, and is home to the world’s oldest working clock, and best-preserved copy of the Magna Carta!
You might recognize it from John Constable’s famous painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Grounds.
After Salisbury, we drove to Bath. Unfortunately, we arrived just about a half hour too late to see the Roman Baths, which is the main attraction in Bath. We were able to see them from the outside, but it wasn’t quite the same.
Seems like they would be great on a sunny day, though!
We were still able to see the inside of the Bath Abbey, which was very pretty.
Before making the drive back to London, we found a very cozy pub in town with a fireplace, where we got beer and tried a serving of Bath Chaps, a Somerset specialty:
I’ll probably go back to Bath at some point when it’s warmer weather, since I do want to see the Roman Baths and also some of the Jane Austen sights in town.
Still, it was nice to get a preview of the area, and to get a chance to see some of England beyond London!
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