Located on the plains of Salisbury, just a few hours south west of London, Stonehenge is a World Heritage site dating back to Neolithic or early Bronze Age times, about 3,500 years ago. The structure is still an enigma. There are many theories of why Stonehenge was built, but no confirmed reasons for this ancient, huge creation. Was it a calendar, a place of healing or a burial site? Mysterious and silent, the stones do not speak. A visit to this World Heritage site is a wonderful way of spending a day trip from London and best of all, is close enough to the gracious Georgian city of Bath to combine both in one trip. Organised tours start from approximately £79, go by bus, are rushed and can be busy. Instead, avoid the crowds, set your own timetable and make your own way there!
Step 1: Buy your train tickets
You’ll need tickets for three legs: London-Salisbury, Salisbury-Bath and Bath-London. The first leg can be purchased from Southwest Trains, with trains departing from Waterloo Station. The second and third are both run by First Great Western Trains.
The cheapest tickets are on weekends, or during off-peak times. Try to go earlier or later in the day to avoid the crowds. The stones are at their most atmospheric at dawn and sunset. Opening times at Stonehenge vary by the season, so check the schedule.
Step 2: Getting to Stonehenge
Once you arrive at Salisbury make your way to the Salisbury city centre and purchase a hop-on-hop-off ticket for the Stonehenge Tour. The ticket includes entrance fees to both Stonehenge as well as Old Sarum, another Iron Age site. £20 for another £4 includes Salisbury Cathedral.
Step 3: Getting to Bath
After you’ve had your fill of the stones, make your way back to Salisbury train station and catch the train to Bath Spa. The station is right in the heart of town, and all the attractions in Bath are within walking distance, so it’s easy to get around. The Roman Baths are a highlight. £12.50
Step 4: Making your way back to London
The way back to London is via train – simply hop back on the route from Bath Spa to any London station using your prepaid ticket.
|London-Salisbury train ticket||£36|
|Salisbury-Bath Spa train ticket||£9|
|Bath Spa-London train ticket||£12|
|Stonehenge Tour ticket||£20|
|Roman Baths ticket||£12.50|
It’s worth noting that doing it yourself will cost you slightly more than an organised tour; the benefit of doing-it-yourself on this day trip instead of going via organised tour is that you get to set your own timetable, spending as much or as little time as you like at the sites that take your fancy. Although the organised tours are more convenient, they take up the whole day as the tours go via coach whereas this itinerary is faster and more comfortable you take the trains, and can be easily completed with enough time for you to get back to London by tea time.