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Stonehenge, Bath and Avebury from London by rental car

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Hello! After deciding the dates and the amount of time in each place, I'm now working on the specifics of my family trip in next September-October.

We'll have six full days in London (first time!) and I want to see Stonehenge. I've read several topics about this day trip and, without a doubt, the most simple way to do it is to go with a tour by some company. This was my choice until I read that you can only go inside the stone circle at specific times (before and after the general public times) and, although some co. can arrange that, the cost seems a *little* expensive - from £35 in the normal tour (outside the circle) to £79+ with the inner circle access, even tough the entrance fee to the "park" is the same (£7.80)!

That said, I'm thinking that for a lesser amount of money than we would pay in the special tour (that is, £79x3 (me, my wife and our daughter), we could dump the tour, rent a car and make a little road trip, including some other cities in our way. These would be Bath and Avebury (to see some more stones!). I'm aware that to do this without a tour co., I must book directly with English Heritage, months in advance etc, but I think I'll try.

So, I have the following questions:

1. Do you recommend a busy day-trip like this?

2. From reading previous topics, it seems that the best place to get (and return) the car is Heathrow. Is this still the best option?

3. I want to book Stonehenge to the afternoon slot (18:30 hrs). So, I'm thinking in leave Heathrow very early, see Avebury in the morning, lunch in Bath and sightseeing trough the evening, and Stonehenge at 18:30 hrs. From there, directly to Heathrow. Is this the best route? Am I missing something great in the way?

Thank you for any input!

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