Stonehenge Tour company?

Old Nov 20th, 2010, 06:24 PM
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Stonehenge Tour company?

My husband and three sons (13,11 and 8) are travelling to London next summer. On one of our days, we hope to take a bus tour to Stonehenge. Does anyone have a good suggestion for a tour itinerary or a tour company? I see some good/bad reviews of all companies. I'd really like to book before we go. We definitely want to do a tour.
Thanks!
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Old Nov 20th, 2010, 06:33 PM
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To be honest - the best and most affordable tours leave from Bath (MadMax). Guided coach tours from London are all pretty expensive and basically 6 of 1/half dozen of the others.

The one exception is the Stonehenge/Salisbury day away. This is excellent and expensive. But in the summer it is only offered on Tuesdays.

http://www.walks.com/London_Walks_Ho...r/default.aspx
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Old Nov 20th, 2010, 06:35 PM
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That should read >>The one exception is the London Walks Stonehenge/Salisbury day away
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Old Nov 20th, 2010, 06:37 PM
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Also, if we are looking at the tour that goes to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Oxford, does it matter to go on a Sunday?
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Old Nov 20th, 2010, 06:47 PM
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"Also, if we are looking at the tour that goes to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Oxford, . . ."

Unfortunately, that is pretty ridiculous. Yes - some tour companies offer that horrendous itinerary. But you will see almost NOTHING.

Just the drive from London > Windsor > Stonehenge > Oxford > London takes about 6 hours -- leaving you about 4-5 hours to see things. Windsor Castle alone requires 2.5 - 3 hours to just skim. Oxford is easily a full day by itself. And w/ just 45 mins at Stonehenge - you see you just won't have time to see much of ANYTHING in Oxford.

And for the privilege of rushing past all these great sites you will pay a boatload of ££££

I would do it if THEY paid me!
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Old Nov 20th, 2010, 06:49 PM
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jeeze -- I should PREVIEW!!

That should read >>I wouldn't do it if THEY paid me!
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Old Nov 20th, 2010, 07:26 PM
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We took the Mad Max Stonehenge all-day tour two months ago. The itinerary was great but we were unfortunate to have Gary for our guide who acted like he was bored with the job and didn't have all that much information. However, some other people at the B&B where we stayed went with Mad Max to Stonehenge on a different day and they thought their guide was great (sorry, can't remember the name). So it all depends on who you get for your guide.
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Old Nov 20th, 2010, 07:28 PM
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Forgot to mention that Mad Max only leaves from Bath, as janisj wrote.
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Old Nov 20th, 2010, 09:30 PM
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International Friends offers a wonderful day trip. It is in a smaller van, 16 passenger max, and the they have various tours, depending on what you are interested in. Cannot recommend them highly enough. I have also taken the big bus trips but now that I have been on the smaller vans, cannot explain how much better that is. And being on a smaller trip, the driver/guide has the flexibility to make it more personal and vary the route depending on what the group wants to see. The web page shows how many seats are left on any given day, so you may have the flexibility to wait and book until you are there and see the what the weather will be like and how your schedule works out, etc.
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Old Nov 20th, 2010, 10:07 PM
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But even the 'good' tours like International Friends are awfully expensive. For a family of 5 most of the IF tours that include Stonehenge costs £395 + tips. (The Bath/Stonehenge-only tour would run £230 - but that is still a lot)

I personally don't think any of the guided tours (except Mad Max) are a good idea for a family of 5 w/ young kids. But w/ Mad Max there is the time/expense of getting to Bath, so probably should be combined w/ an overnight trip to Bath.

Compare £400 for IF w/ renting a car for the day and doing it independently. Of course you still couldn't cover 1/2 of SW England. But Salisbury/Stonehenge/Avebury would be easy.

Now, for Oxford or Windsor - just going for the day by train is the best option.
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Old Nov 21st, 2010, 01:59 AM
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It's perfectly feasible to do a day-trip to Stonehenge from London by public transport - train to Salisbury, direct bus from there:
http://www.londontoolkit.com/whattod...ting_there.htm

I'd be surprised if a tour guide could tell you more than you would get from the audioguide at Stonehenge itself.

The walk from Amesbury, by the way, allows you to see Stonehenge in the context of the way the makers used the landscape and gives you a much greater sense of the scope of the whole thing:
http://autolycus-london.blogspot.com...e-through.html

On the other hand, hiring a car gives you your own flexibility over seeing Avebury and other places nearby.
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Old Nov 21st, 2010, 07:28 AM
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Try a tour inside the stones when they're closed to the public. There's limited availability try

http://www.andersontours.co.uk/tourd...nkid=salisbury

or another highly rated one on Trip Advisor at

www.salisburyguidedtours.com

Tours to Stonehenge are of variable quality.
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Old Nov 21st, 2010, 09:14 AM
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What about a London Walks tour? We took their tour to Stonehenge and Salisbury and really enjoyed it. Prices were reasonable and our guide was fantastic!
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Old Nov 21st, 2010, 10:06 AM
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"What about a London Walks tour? We took their tour to Stonehenge and Salisbury and really enjoyed it. Prices were reasonable and our guide was fantastic!"

The link to that tour is in my first post - Tuesdays only.
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Old Nov 21st, 2010, 10:13 AM
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re tubbsd1957's post: One can book inside access directly through English Heritage w/o having to pay a middle man £370.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2010, 05:57 AM
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What my husband and I did in 2008 was took a train from London to Salisbury, walked right outside the train station and caught a tourbus to Stonehenge, spent some time there, hopped back on the tourbus (which has different pickup times so you can pick when to leave), rode back to Salisbury, toured the cathedral (AMAZING) and saw a bit of the town, had dinner, trained back to London. Here's the website for the bus from Salisbury
http://www.thestonehengetour.info/

There's a nice audio on the bus on the way to Stonehenge and the audio guide at Stonehenge is good, too. You don't have to book ahead, I don't think, either. You pay on the bus. Having the bus come by at regular intervals to take people back to Salisbury means your kids will have some flexibility--if they get bored, catch the first bus you can! If they're having a ball or the shop is crowded, catch a later one.

Granted, we had EnglandRailFlexPasses for our train travel so we didn't explore fares, etc. So I can't give you any info on booking train just to Salisbury. We liked these passes because we planned 4 day-trips-by-train but didn't want to lock into a specific day and these passes are fully flexible, so this worked for us as we picked a day when weather looked decent, hopped on the first train we could get to, found the tour bus and paid on board, and then just stayed in Salisbury until we wanted to and caught a train back. If you decide to do a train trip and you don't have similar passes, then it seems the cheapest thing to do is book your train travel ahead. There are plenty of threads/website connections on train travel in England on this Forum.

But this trip--train from London to Salisbury to bustour for Stonehenge back to Salsibury for Cathedral and dinner and train back to London--was pretty affordable, had plenty of information via the audio guides on site, left us plenty of time to wander at our own pace, and was very do-able as a day trip. 'Course, my husband especially doesn't like a tour guide because he lingers to take pics and read stuff; I know some people really want a tour guide. But you might consider a trip like this.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2010, 03:03 PM
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Good timing in reading this thread. Today I decided to add a night in London (next fall) and head to Stonehenge on one of my days. I printed out the London Toolkit, which has the public transport information. My plan is to include time in Salisbury and see the Cathedral. I also understand there's a market that's held twice a week, so maybe I can go on one of those days.

Monica
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Old Nov 29th, 2010, 06:22 PM
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We did Stonehenge last Christmas and did exactly what texasbookworm did; we took the train to Salisbury, grabbed the tour right outside the station(there are signs everywhere in the train station telling you where to catch the tour bus), and followed the tour. It was the most basic tour available but it was still very informative and the bus ride was very informative. Definitely take some time to see the cathedral and town if you have it to spend . I loved Stonehenge and loved the town of Salisbury even more. Enjoy!
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Old Jan 7th, 2011, 09:41 PM
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This is wonderful advice. Thank you.
Due to the timing of our trip, we will be visiting Stonehenge on a July Sunday. Are there any foreseeable issues beyond limited cathedral tours?
Just to clarify... We take the train from London to Salisbury (we're staying by Victoria station - how long a train ride?), explore Salisbury a bit, catch tour bus to Stonehenge for a visit, return on the bus stopping at Old Sarum, then return to Salisbury for a possible catherdral tour and then train back to London?
This sounds much more enjoyable than a 14 hour tour bus ride. How long might a day described above be? I realize it depends on how long we would stay in each place, but is there an estimate of travel times to each location?
Our kids are 13, 11, and 8 and LOVE traveling and history. I do not expect they will be bored at all, just possibly they will tire as we will have only been in London for a couple of days from North America (jet lag ).
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Old Jan 8th, 2011, 12:17 AM
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Trains to Salisbury run from Waterloo. You can check the timetables on www.nationalrail.co.uk, but you will need to check nearer the time for any engineering works that might cause delays.

The bus timetable is at http://www.thestonehengetour.info/
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