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Stonehenge bus

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London, United...
posts: 11,426
reviews: 7
Stonehenge bus

Every other weekend I get thr train to Salisbury to visit my parents (in an outlying village).

Many times when I arrive, I am asked by visitors how to get to Stonehenge. I used to be able this straightforwardly, by pointing them at the bus.

I am, however, unsure how the new (newish - it's been a year or so, hasn't it?) system works. The bus is now gaudily labelled "Stonehenge Tour" , and seems to stop at the Cathedral on the way there or the way back, and possibly also Old Sarum.

So, how does it work now? Is it still possible to get a bus direct to Stonehenge? If one gets the "Stonehenge Tour" bus, does one get forced into stops at the Cathedral and Old Sarum? Is one having to pay a higher fare to cover a guide, or similar?

I'd like to know how to advise the visitors who ask me at the station - can anyone here help? Jill?

warrensburg,MO
posts: 7,625
1. Re: Stonehenge bus

Nick,

The regular Wilts and Dorset bus service to Stonehenge stopped a couple of years back. Now it's the tour or a taxi. The bus doesn't even call at Amesbury now. Just up to Stonehenge with a stop in the city and one at Sarum.

London, United...
posts: 11,426
reviews: 7
2. Re: Stonehenge bus

Ta. So, is it a tour, with enforced stops at the Cathedral and Old Sarum, or is just a bus with a fancy name? That is, can you just get on at the station and go to Stonehenge, or is a tour?

Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Amesbury, London
posts: 6,086
reviews: 46
3. Re: Stonehenge bus

Henneth - wot? It doesn't even go through Amesbury? Hang on, it does, I think.

Nick - I haven't been on it since the TA Stonehenge meet we arranged a couple of years back, and yes, I think the route was changed to include a stop at the Cathedral.

Essentially tell anyone to catch the bus either from the train station or bus station. Doesn't need to be pre-booked. The whole idea is that it's a sightseeing bus

[sorry - just got side-tracked on whether a 'sight-seeing bus' is a completely different concept to a 'sightseeing bus', LOL]

so yes, it would 'force' you to go via the Cathedral and Old Sarum. They charge enough, so you'd want to get your money's worth. There is a pre-recorded commentary over the loud-speaker system, but only in English.

It has its uses, and is useful for tourists on a tight schedule. However, if the visitor has time enough, then they'd do the cathedral anyway, and Stonehenge provides a good audioguide once you're there. The last time I checked, a taxi costs about £45 for a return journey and to wait... this compares very favourably if there are 4 or more of you in your group using the bus, which costs £11 per adult. You can pay £18 to include admission to Stonehenge, or £22 to include additionally a 'donation' to go into the cathedral. These combo prices do not actually save you any money than doing them individually, and if you're really hard-up, or have nerve of steels, then you could just decline to give a 'voluntary donation' to get into the cathedral anyway.

Nick - I was still composing this when you added your second post. Hopefully the above covers it!

Edited: 7:39 am, August 08, 2010
warrensburg,MO
posts: 7,625
4. Re: Stonehenge bus

I was listening to a driver yesterday at Stonehenge telling a group that he won't be stopping in Amesbury as they don't do that anymore as from this year. The family argued that it said so on the website and the driver said that needs to be updated.

Why he couldn't drop them there as he went through , I don't know. More than his jobs worth?

Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Amesbury, London
posts: 6,086
reviews: 46
5. Re: Stonehenge bus

Yes, it's still on their website. Opening themselves up to being sued for breach of contract and trauma resulting from loss of enjoyment, aren't they? Now you mention it, I remember going through Amesbury, but I don't recall the bus stopping at the bus station. Is it too late, do you think, for a retrospective claim?

I feel an email coming on... (to clarify, not to sue!)

London, United...
posts: 11,426
reviews: 7
6. Re: Stonehenge bus

Thanks, Jill.

I'm still a bit confused. Does the bus stop and the Cathedral and Old Sarum for some time, with everyone having to wait for that bit of the tour to finish, or is just a drive-by and a HOHO-style stop for thopse who want to get off and wait for the next bus?

What I'm asking is - can someone wanting just to go to Stonehenge use this bus to get there (reasonably) directly, or is a tour with mandatory sighseeing stops?

> £11 per adult <

Good God! That's more than a London all-zones TravelCard for a day!

Edited: 8:16 am, August 08, 2010
Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Amesbury, London
posts: 6,086
reviews: 46
7. Re: Stonehenge bus

Not sure about the cathedral - the stop isn't mentioned on the website, and wasn't part of the tour when I did it. The tour I did went from (maybe the station was the stop before I got on at the bus station) bus station to Stonehenge via Amesbury. It didn't stop anywhere. It stops at Stonehenge for 10 minutes - long enough to grab a photo, otherwise you get the next bus back, and that went via Old Sarum. We were told you could get off to visit the site, and then catch *any* bus back into town, including public buses so long as you still had your tour ticket. If I recall correctly it was about 20-30 mins to get to Stonehenge.

London, United...
posts: 11,426
reviews: 7
8. Re: Stonehenge bus

Thanks. Your experience is from before this change to the "tour" bus though, right?

What I'm trying to work out is what teh service you actually get is - whetehr it really is a HOHO-style thing so you can ignore Old Sarum if you want to, and use it just as a means of getting to and from Stonehenge, or if you are forced to wait at the other site(s) as others get their money's worth.

£11 seems sttep.

Edited: 11:00 am, August 08, 2010
London, United...
posts: 11,426
reviews: 7
9. Re: Stonehenge bus

FWIW, the web site (http://www.thestonehengetour.info/index.shtml) seems to be gibberish. It talks a lot about Amesbury, which I understand from this thread it no longer serves, and as part of that it seems to say that it serves Amesbury as the next stop after Old Sarum on the way back, which is presumably nonsense!

"... returning to Salisbury rail station, passing the imposing, impressive Old Sarum site on the return journey from Stonehenge. The next stop is in the charming town of Amesbury, an historic and traditional town at the heart of the unfolding hills and surrounding ancient sites"

Edited: 11:03 am, August 08, 2010
London, United...
posts: 11,426
reviews: 7
10. Re: Stonehenge bus

> I was listening to a driver yesterday at Stonehenge telling a group that he won't be stopping in Amesbury as they don't do that anymore as from this year. <

Ahhh ... I think I have worked this out. if the route is circular, as the web site says, and the people wanting to go to Amesbury were already at Stonehenge, the driver was correct - it doesn't stop at Amesbury on the way from Stonehenge, just on the the way there. You have to do the tour anti-clockwise.

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