Another reason I love London, amongst the many mentioned in I ♥ London, is that it is just a step, hop, and a jump away from some historic sites. One item on my bucket list was to visit Stonehenge. From London there are a couple of tours that you can take and trying to fit in as much as possible in a short period of time, I opted for the all day Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath tour.
The most anticipated part of the tour for me was Stonehenge, but we spent the least amount of time there so it was a bit of a killjoy. On top of that, as soon as we got to Stonehenge it started to rain and all we had time for was a quick loop around the Stone Circle and some quick photos to document the trip before racing back to the bus to keep from getting completely drenched. I know that rain is quite common in England, especially during the month of October, but it was sunny in the morning and we were hopeful that the sunshine would continue. It was funny because Mike specifically said to me, “I really hope it doesn’t rain when we get to Stonehenge because that would really suck”, low and behold it rained the moment we got to Stonehenge. LOL. I guess we were lucky to even be able to walk around the entire circle because when the weather is wet they usually close off the grassy section.
Having read a lot about Stone Circles, I was really excited to see the stones but the experience was “meh” for me. Obviously, it had more to do with the weather and the tour’s scheduled time allotment for Stonehenge than the historic site itself. I mean the stones are magnificent and I can appreciate why it’s a World Heritage Site, but it’s not just about the physical site and the scenery. The story behind how the stones were moved and the placement of the stones around the circle is just as important to me. This is definitely a do-over trip for me.
The next time I visit Stonehenge, here’s what I would do differently:
1) Give myself more time: I think my biggest mistake was trying to do too much in one day and for some reason Stonehenge got the short end of the stick and we were only able to get a cursory visit. With some places that is fine, but I wanted to learn a lot more about the mysterious monoliths than the 15 minute summary we got on the tour bus.
Next time, I would rather rent a car and drive to Stonehenge myself. Sure there are other “go directly to Stonehenge” tours that you can take but the problem is someone else has predetermined how much time you can spend at the Stone Circles and that is something I don’t want to repeat again. There is something to be said about not being handcuffed to someone else’s schedule and having the freedom to explore on your own. There is more to explore than just the Stone Circles and really depending on your thirst for information, it seems that the Visitor Centre is worth visiting. You can also get an audio tour (which I had no idea existed) that can provide information that allows you to appreciate Stonehenge that much more. To be honest, the audio tour wouldn’t have been practical for us because of the time restriction, but it is a good thing to know for next time.
Also, visiting Stonehenge on my own will give me the time I need to just take in the moment and enjoy the beauty.
2) Bring a tri-pod: it was extremely hard to capture nice pictures without having a bunch of people in the shot, so I recommend bringing a tripod to take a bunch of pictures and then piecing them together (refer to our Travel Hack #3).
3) Bring an umbrella (this will protect you from the rain or sun) and proper footwear, so that you are protected from the weather and can enjoy the beauty of Stonehenge whether it rains or is extremely hot.
Since I didn’t really get my Stonehenge fix, I guess I will just have to go back for a proper visit!
These stories and adventures give me something to smile about everyday, I hope that it brings you a little something too.