Highlights of a Stonehenge Day Tour from Bath, England
Prior to traveling to U.K., I made a list of places I would like to visit there. As per all the countries on this Europe trip, I had a little more than a day to make the most of. The more famous landmarks of Cotwolds, Lacock and the Stonehenge were bucket list but without renting a car it was close to impossible visiting the countryside where they were located.
Luckily, I stumbled upon Mad Max Tours by chance and they had a couple of good reviews. I went ahead with mixed feelings as I did not like the idea of traveling with a tour. To my surprise, I was impressed with MMT. The tour went about smoothly, we managed to visit all 3 locations within the day and we were given enough time to explore and take photos at each location. The tour was fairly priced and way cheaper than renting a car. To top it off, the driver also serves as a tour guide, sharing his historical knowledge with us.
The tour starts at 8am in Bath central, ending around 5pm the same day. I would say that it is perfect for a one day itinerary.
The summarised highlights of a Stonehenge day tour –
- Castle Combe
- Silbury Hill
- Cherhil White Horse
In the southern part of the Cotswolds lies Castle Combe, and has been called ‘The Prettiest Village in England’ with good reason. The small village has a rustic charm to it, with rows of pretty stone cottages which are hundreds of years old. Strict rules apply to preserve the beauty and character of Castle Combe for later generations to admire. This has to be one of the most unspoilt places in England and the sights in this village are breathtaking. The village is a common set locations for films, with Dr Dolittle and Stardust being shot right here.
Sibury Hill is the largest man-made object in prehistoric Europe. It was built around 4800 years ago and took longer to build than Stonehenge. The reason for its construction remains unknown, although there a couple of legends flying around, from it being a tomb for a king, to it being a place of worship. Almost 40 metres tall, it is impossible to miss this mould from afar if you’re passing by. This location of the tour was just a quick photo shop, so I could only view and take photos from the comfort of the van.
The Cherhill Whitehorse is literally the figure of a horse cut into the hillside. The chalk figure was created by stripping away the turf to expose the chalk underneath. This was another quick photo stop, so just viewing and taking photos from the van. Although it wasn’t that impressive compared to the other landmarks I have seen so far, but with almost 300 years of history and still being so well defined, it was worth a quick look.
Lacock was the lunch stop for the tour, where I had a heartwarming although contradictory traditional English breakfast. Established back in the 1200s, Lacock was once a town thriving in the wooden industry. Today, visiting Lacock is like taking a step back in time as these quaint little village with as thatched stone cottages has been left technically untouched for the last 200 years. Lacock village is also a prominent location for a myriad of films and TV series. The Potter’s house in the Harry Potter franchise was filmed right here in this village.
This set of ancient ruins may not be as famous as its nearby relative Stonehenge, but is just as historic and mysterious. It is 15 times bigger and about a kilometre in circumference. Also, it is six centuries older than Stonehenge too.
What sets the Avebury Stone Circle apart from Stonehenge (other than being smaller) is that you can go right up to the stones and touch them. It is a magical feeling, being able to walk and touch these giant upright rocks that have withstood time and weather.
Our tour guide gave each of us an L-shaped piece of metal called a dowsing rod. We were then instructed to hold the short end of the L loosely in our hands. As we walked around the stones, the metal would move to always point toward the center of the structure. Quite fascinating and creepy at the same time. Apparently the rods were supposed to detect minerals or water or something.
The most famous bunch of rocks in the world, You would have probably heard of Stonehenge unless you have lived under a rock your entire life. With the amount of exposure Stonehenge gets, it is little wonder that it was right up there on my bucket list.
Naysayers say that it is just a bunch of stone and it is overrated but I beg to differ. Using the perspective that humans built Stonehenge over 5000 years ago without the benefit of cranes, modern trucks, or other machinery, how Stonehenge was constructed puzzles everyone up till today. The purpose of the Stonehenge is still unknown and speculated.
Unfortunately, Stonehenge is protected and I could only admire the colossal structure from behind a barrier a few yards away. Still it was satisfying just to view this wonder. I couldn’t help but feel that we are all just a smidge in the universe when standing beside that amazing structure.
The entrance ticket comes with an informative audio guides which tells you the history of the Stonehenge along the tour. There is also an extensive information centre with wonderful displays and a café for refreshments.
That’s all for the highlights of a Stonehenge day tour. If you are interested in the tour I booked, head over to https://www.madmaxtours.co.uk/ for more details! Happy travelling!