Stonehenge - Inner Circle Access

Old May 7th, 2009, 10:33 AM
  #1  
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Stonehenge - Inner Circle Access

Hi,

I've been to London many times and am a seasoned traveler but on this next trip we are making it out to Stonehenge. I heard about StoneHenge Inner Circle Access:

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/nav.878

And reserved a time for 8 am on 5-22. I am staying in London. My questions are:

1. How easy is it to rent a car and drive to Stonehenge from London? How far/long?
2. Has anyone done the Inner Circle thing? What are your experiences?
3. Has anyone been to stonehenge in general...any tips? (I've been to the Taj Mahal 8 times, I know there are tricks to everything, hahaha.... I was just wondering if anyone would offer advice)


Thanks for any help!

Best,

Bob
riversair is offline  
Old May 7th, 2009, 10:56 AM
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You might consider going to Salisbury and staying the night before. It is a great little city with the cathedral, the magna carta and all and a short -- less than 30 minutes -- to Stonehenge. Or combining the two even if you just go to for a day trip.

Driving ease to Stonehenge depends on your comfort driving on the left side of the road. As public transportation is quite easy to Salisbury and Stonehenge you might think about that. The train to Salisbury and then a bus that leaves right from the train station to Stonehenge site. I don't think though that you can get train and bus quite that early in time to be there for 8 am though but it is worth checking.

Driving distance and time on mappy.com from SW London to Salisbury is 140 kilometers, 2 hours 15 minutes. (I didn't know the more precise location of Stonehenge. It might be closer if you went directly rather than through Salisbury.)
laurie_ann is offline  
Old May 7th, 2009, 10:59 AM
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The trip is around 3.5 hours but this does depend on where you are going to be based. Use Google maps to give you some idea. The time also depends on your driving experience.
Things to note_ You will have to pick up your car the day before if you want to drive that day to SH. You may have to miss out on breakfast at your hotel so plan for a stop along the way. (This will add time to the journey) Personally (and I have lived in the area) I found stone hedge disappointing I much prefer Avebury and the surrounding monuments.
If you do not want to drive from London and back in a day then stop off around either Salisbury or Winchester.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 11:30 AM
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Our family did the Stone Circle Access, although we went after closing time rather than in the morning. We loved it, and I thought it was totally worth it. Being able to walk among the stones made the experience so memorable, especially for our children.

Our experience: We arrived about 10 minutes before closing. As we pulled into the parking lot, someone approached us to inform us that Stonehenge was about to close. When we told them that we had reservations for the special access, we were asked to wait a few minutes until closing time. Once all the regular visitors had exited, we were handed an informational booklet and allowed to enter.

I don't really know about any tips or tricks. One thing we did notice was that, after about 20 minutes, many people in our group started to leave. That allowed us to get some great shots with no one in the background...it looked like we were there all alone. Also, because we were there during sunset, we were able to get some beautiful shots of the setting sun behind the stones. One thing that was a little disappointing was that the souvenir shop was closed. There was a particular T-shirt that my daughters wanted, and we weren't able to buy it, but that certainly didn't ruin the experience. In hindsight, we probably should have realized that that would be the case.

We were not staying in London, so I don't have any experience with driving to Stonehenge from there. I can say that driving in the countryside around Stonehenge was no problem at all.

Good Luck! I hope you enjoy the experience as much as we did.
mindylt1 is offline  
Old May 7th, 2009, 12:59 PM
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8am? You will need to leave London at about 5am then. I guess if you've reserved it then you'd better go. I'll repeat what I've said before here, Stonehenge is over-rated. If you are making a day of it and what to see some really old things not far away, don't miss Avebury stone circle, West Kennet Long Barrow and Silbury Hill, in the northern part of Wiltshire, very accessible to walk round and all three sites are within strolling distance of each other.

Stonehenge - is a couple of stone circles one within the other with other stones lying around. Interesting and of largely unknown origin, startling for the first 5 minutes, badly presented by English Heritage and close to 2 main roads. The Taj Mahal, seeing you've been there, it ain't.

laurie_ann's advice is good if your arrangements are flexible.

You will be driving down the A303 to get there. Take care, it's awful. And will be busy on a spring Friday.

Are you another of this Rick Steves chap's victims? His online guide to England is highly questionable.
stfc is offline  
Old May 7th, 2009, 03:19 PM
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74 miles....really 3 hours given it is on a major artery? No, I don't know of this Rick Steve guy...haha. We cannot stay in Salsbury so definitely coming from London.. I was planning on leaving at 6...But I will leave earlier if y ou think it is necessary. Thanks everyone for your help! Good note on the car getting the day before...
riversair is offline  
Old May 7th, 2009, 03:51 PM
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We enjoyed Avebury so much more than Stonehenge. I suggest driving by Stonehenge and then spending more time walking around Avebury.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 03:58 PM
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You haven't said whereabouts in London you will be starting from but I assume your route will involve the local London roads to reach the M4, M25, M3, A303 with small variations. These are likely to be very busy. I would allow 3 hours personally.
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Old May 8th, 2009, 03:31 AM
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Marriot Marble Arch, Near Hyde park...
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Old May 26th, 2009, 07:21 PM
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I just wanted to give everyone an update... The trip worked out fine. StoneHenge Inner Circle Access was DEFINITELY worth it as you got to touch the stones, walk inside them, with very few people around, and enjoy them at our leisure. We got to StoneHenge in about 1 hr 45 min using my rental car (Mercedes from Hertz) in my first time driving on left. We left at 5:45 and got there by 8 (stopped at Welcome Centre). On the way home we hit up Windsor Castle got there by 9:45, and had lunch in the town thereafter (Browns - Best Fish & Chips I had while there). Overall, it was a great experience. BTW, toliet facilities were open (they said they (english heritage) wouldnt be)!
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Old May 27th, 2009, 06:55 AM
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Thank you very much for your update with details. It is much appreciated!
denise8101214 is offline  
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