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Bath & Stonehenge - Do it myself or take the tour

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Ottawa, Canada
posts: 7
Bath & Stonehenge - Do it myself or take the tour

Hello, I am hoping someone can help me. I am coming to London at the beginning of May and want to see Stonehenge and the City of Bath, as well as the Roman Baths. Is it better for me to take a tour (about 100$ american per person) or to take the bus out myself and sleepover one night. I have done all the research I can, but am still anxiety struck over what to do. I always trust the forums, so I am hoping you guys can help me out and tell me what you think might be best.

Thank you.

Seattle
posts: 9,623
reviews: 6
1. Re: Bath & Stonehenge - Do it myself or take the tour

Bebecanora: I would suggest staying over in Bath. You can easily take the train to Salisbury and catch a bus to/from Stonehenge at the Salisbury train station, but try to to visit Salisbury Cathedral, too. Bath is well worth spending a night or two because it's such a lovely small city.

warrensburg,MO
posts: 7,639
2. Re: Bath & Stonehenge - Do it myself or take the tour

It would depend on how long you would have in London and whether you want to cut out a night there to spend somewhere else. I would say that if you can overnight in Bath then do so and see other aspects of England from a more rural perspective.

If you do decide to spend a night in Bath then buy a period return from London Paddington, this allows you to make the return trip a day or two later. Whilst in Bath take one of the guided minibus tours to Stonehenge run by the likes of Mad Max, Scarper Tours or Stonehenge Express. They will return you to Bath where you can take the train back to London.

If you decide to do Bath and Stonehenge as a day trip I would suggest an organised tour. Firstly, by public transport, you'll have to make at least three seperate train journeys and another bus journey to Stonehenge and back and you'll be leaving London from Paddington station and returning to Waterloo. Adding up train fares, admissions to the Roman Baths and the Salisbury to Stonehenge tour bus costs plus any additional journey you may have to make in London by tube will probably cost you about the same as the day tour company would charge you. So it really boils down to whether you want to do things at your own pace and master the bus and train services on your own or whether you want to be on the schedule of a tour manager but get the benifit of a guide to fire questions at!!

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 7
3. Re: Bath & Stonehenge - Do it myself or take the tour

Thanks for the advice. I think I might stay in Bath. What would you recommend to get there, the train seems really expensive, but I could not find a bus on Bus National Express that went to Bath, do you know of one?

Bath, United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for Bath
posts: 687
reviews: 84
4. Re: Bath & Stonehenge - Do it myself or take the tour

Hi Bebecanora,

The bus takes ages! If you book your trainline in advance you should be able to get one for about £38 return. Try www.thetrainline.com. I always bok my tickets through them.It is really easy to use the web site.

If you don't want to spend too much money on accomodation, you may be lucky enough to pick up a £26 room at the Travelodge, which is about 10 minutes walk-if that-from the station.It is at the top of town next to bars and restaurants.

I think the tours always whisk people around Bath too quickly. As for Stonehenge, i have never been!Shocking isn't it?! but i see that others have advised you on that.

Have a good time

Allvox

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 7
5. Re: Bath & Stonehenge - Do it myself or take the tour

Thanks so much to all of you!

Corby, United...
posts: 12
reviews: 22
6. Re: Bath & Stonehenge - Do it myself or take the tour

If you are an independent traveller I recommend taking the train to Salisbury. You can get local taxis and buses (cheaper but slower) to Stonehenge.

Be prepared to be disappointed. You can't normally get that close to the stones, especially if in a tour group (but read on!) and the custodians, English Heritage, probably have the most lacklustre exposition in Britain and is a national disgrace for a World Heritage site!! You can see the site for free from the road and can also walk round the perimeter fence away from the crowds in the car park and the busy road that skirts it.

But not many people know this. English Heritage grant access to the stone circle outside normal opening hours for a small fee (£12) on most days. See english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.876

for details. You can apply as an individual but not a tour party.

If Stonehenge fascinates you, do spend time in the surrounding landscape, it's rich in archaeology, burial mounds, and the grassy downs have a real atmosphere.

But if you think Stonehenge is worth visiting, to try to trek 30 miles north to Avebury! By far a more impressive stone circle. May be worth hiring a car and doing both. "Avebury doth outshine Stonehenge as a cathedral doth a parish church" AND it has better faciities: museum, pub, and a much more intensive archaeological landscape.

Corby, United...
posts: 12
reviews: 22
7. Re: Bath & Stonehenge - Do it myself or take the tour

If you are an independent traveller I recommend taking the train to Salisbury. You can get local taxis and buses (cheaper but slower) to Stonehenge.

You can also get a local service bus from Bath to Salisbury (2.5 hrs) but National Express do operate between Bath and Salisbury (1.5 hrs)

Be prepared to be disappointed. You can't normally get that close to the stones, especially if in a tour group (but read on!) and the custodians, English Heritage, probably have the most lacklustre exposition in Britain and is a national disgrace for a World Heritage site!! You can see the site for free from the road and can also walk round the perimeter fence away from the crowds in the car park and the busy road that skirts it.

But not many people know this. English Heritage grant access to the stone circle outside normal opening hours for a small fee (£12) on most days. See english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.876

for details. You can apply as an individual but not a tour party.

If Stonehenge fascinates you, do spend time in the surrounding landscape, it's rich in archaeology, burial mounds, and the grassy downs have a real atmosphere.

But if you think Stonehenge is worth visiting, do try to trek 30 miles north to Avebury! By far a more impressive stone circle. May be worth hiring a car and doing both. "Avebury doth outshine Stonehenge as a cathedral doth a parish church" AND it has better faciities: museum, pub, and a much more intensive archaeological landscape.

Bath, United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for Bath
posts: 687
reviews: 84
8. Re: Bath & Stonehenge - Do it myself or take the tour

Yes, according to my partner, Avebury, 'scuse the slight pun, rocks, compared to Stonehenge.

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