Advice on Selecting a Stonehenge Tour

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Oct 6th, 2004, 07:33 AM
  #1
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Advice on Selecting a Stonehenge Tour

I am having difficulty deciding between two different options for tours to Stonehenge. We have settled on Astral Tours which offers a half day tour and a full day tour including Stonehenge.

The half day tour is a Stonehenge Special Access tour which runs from 1pm-8pm and includes the following: Avebury, West Kennet Long Barrow, Silbury Hill, drive through Marlborough Downs (see white chalk horse) and finally, Stonehenge. Stonehenge is visited after normal hours and you are permitted to walk amongst the stones and see them close up.

On the other hand, the full day tour (Stones and Bones Tour) runs from 8am-6pm and includes the following: Salisbury Cathedral and City, Old Sarum Castle, Stonehenge (not up close), Avebury stone circle and medieval village, Chalk Hill figures, Celtic burial mounds, Country Pub Lunch.

We will be staying at Rubens at the Palace (across from the Royal Mews)--the tour company will pick us up at our hotel. If we do the half day tour, what could we reasonably see that morning in London prior to our tour (keeping in mind transportation time and lunch)? Also, would it be difficult to find a place to eat dinner if we don't return back from the tour until 8pm? No mention of stopping for dinner is made on the tour itinerary.

While seeing the stones up close is appealing, it is certainly not a necessity. Also, I have read that many people like Salisbury and Old Sarum so that is a vote for the full day tour.

Can someone give some advice? Thank you.
kvadragon is offline  
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Oct 6th, 2004, 09:17 AM
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We went on STones and Bones and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! Although you don't have close access to stonehenge, you are plenty close enough to see everything and the pix you take make it look like you are the only one there! Also, we actually loved our time in Avebury more than stonehenge. Thus, I would recommend that tour.
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Oct 6th, 2004, 09:32 AM
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If this is your first visit, I'd recommend the full day tour that includes Salisbury which is a beautiful city and cathedral - be sure to see the copy of the Magna Carta in the chapter house. When I went, I didn't do it via a tour, we took the train from London to Salisbury (about an hour) then a bus from Salisbury train station to Stonhenge & back, then walked around Salisbury and visited the cathedral before taking the train back to London. HOWEVER having already done that, should I be able to return to England I would want to take the special access tour to allow me to actually enter the stone circe and touch the stones. While it's true you can still get a good view and photos from outside the ropes, actually being able to touch it would be really special.

I don't think you should have a problem finding dinner if you get back into town later in the evening. If all else fails you can walk a short distance down to Victoria train station and there is a mall right next door with several restaurants on the upper level
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Oct 6th, 2004, 10:34 AM
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We also did the Stones and Bones tour and enjoyed it. The Salisbury Cathedral is absolutely amazing.
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Oct 6th, 2004, 12:13 PM
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Another vote for including Salisbury. I LOVED that little town!

Karen
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Oct 6th, 2004, 06:10 PM
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I took the Astral Inner Circle tour in 2001, AND visited Salisbury and Old Sarum on my own. We enjoyed the tour thoroughly, and it was a highlight of our 3-week trip. BUT unless you have some compelling need to experience Stonehenge up close,you'd probably get more out of the full-day tour.

Indeed, the Inner Circle tour (at the time we took it, at least) made almost no provision for meals nor bathroom breaks -- there was a brief opportunity when we stopped in Avebury. Thank goodness we're so cheap, we were traveling with a little cooler with beverages and sandwich fixin's. We were the envy of the whole coach.
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Oct 10th, 2004, 10:55 AM
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Having just returned from a month in England Stonehenge is relatively fresh in my mind. After two weeks in London we rented a car a drove the short distance to Salisbury. We stayed in a B&B that was walking distance not only to Salisbury Cathedral (amazing, don't miss it) but also Old Sarum. We drove to Stonehenge, West Kennet Long Barrow and the Silbury Hill. This worked very well....the entrance fee to Stonehenge incudes an excellent audio guide. We got there before the first tour bus so it was very pleasant. There was no one at Silbury Hill and just a couple people at West Kennet....it hasn't become real 'touristy' yet....both were interesting. We didn't get to the Avebury circle, but I wish we had. So I'd advise the full day tour.
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Oct 10th, 2004, 06:36 PM
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I would highly recommend the Astral tour where you have private access after hours. I did this a couple of years ago and loved it. I couldn't imagine traveling 4000 miles across the ocean - and as many years in history - and not get to go into the circle and physically touch this amazing structure. But that's me; I needed to touch the stones and spend time photographing them.

If you can arrange it, get David as your guide. He was polite, informative, and encouraged the youths to ask questions. Let me know what you decide and I hope you have a great time!
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