Stonehenge tour or on our own?

Old Jun 6th, 2015, 08:12 PM
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Stonehenge tour or on our own?

My husband and I are leaving for England in 6 days. We will be in Liverpool for 4 days then off to London for 4 days. We are interested in seeing Stonehenge but I'm not sure that I want to take an all day tour (Stonehenge, Bath, Windsor). Are the tours worth it? If so, can anyone recommend a specific tour company? Is it worth spending an entire day outside of London? It is our first trip to London so I don't really want to lose a day in the city if there could be too many other sights to see. Price would be a factor but from what I've researched, most are about 75-110 pounds/person.

Would it be better or even easily possible to go out there on our own?
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Old Jun 6th, 2015, 08:39 PM
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So much to see and do in London - wait for another trip to try to see Stonehenge, etc.
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Old Jun 6th, 2015, 08:41 PM
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With only four days I'd stick to London too.
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Old Jun 6th, 2015, 10:17 PM
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It doesn't matter how you do it -- visiting Stonehenge will take a whole day from London.

The tours take longer because they drive all the way to Bath and visit more places. But doing it on your own involves taking a train to Salisbury, then a local tour bus or taxi to the Stonehenge visitors centre, then a tram or long walk to the stones then back to the visitors centre, back to Salisbury, and train back to London.

So no matter how you slice it, you've lost a day from London. You need to decide if you want to do that or not. Personally I wouldn't w/ just 4 days.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 12:08 AM
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I agree with the comments above. I found Stonehenge somewhat underwhelming, after being so keen to see it for myself.

You are not able to walk among the stones - you get to walk a well-beaten path around the outside of the ring.

We didn't even bother to go inside the fence when we were there - the crowds were overwhelming, the queue was serpentine just to get in; so many bus groups had arrived before us that I think the only way to really enjoy the place would be to get there either very early, or really at the end of the day.

London is one of those cities that has far more to offer than you can possibly hope to see in a short stay! Di
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 07:19 AM
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Personally, I think Stonehenge very much worth visiting, but with only four days, I agree, stay in London.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 07:36 AM
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Four days in London can be filled easily. It is such an exciting city.

Is your desire to see Stonehenge a life long dream? If not skip it.

DH is into mystical stuff and liked it. I can understand the draw, but it was pretty boring for me.

We waited to do it until our second trip to England when we had two weeks. Personally, I find Bath interesting and beautiful and worth a couple of days. We did the Stonehenge tour from Bath.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 07:53 AM
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>>Would it be better or even easily possible to go out there on our own

If you want to look into driving from Liverpool to London via Stonehenge, it's just under 300 miles or about 5 hours driving time. After the one way fee and the fuel costs you will be paying about the same as the tour for 2. If you are comfortable driving a compact car with a stick on the left side of the road it might work out to be cheaper than the tour. You could arrive later in the day when it is not quite as crowded if you are returning the car to a 24-hour place like at Heathrow airport.

So instead of a taking a half day transiting from Liverpool to London you would take up a full day driving via Stonehenge. Not sure what your plans were, but in that case maybe taking time away from your Liverpool stay, not London.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 08:19 AM
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di2315: >>We didn't even bother to go inside the fence when we were there - the crowds were overwhelming, the queue was serpentine just to get in; so many bus groups had arrived before us that I think the only way to really enjoy the place would be to get there either very early, or really at the end of the day.
completely transformed w/ a remote Visitors center, no coaches or car park (or even road) next to the stone, etc.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 08:19 AM
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Here is a Google street view look at the area-- maybe just a drive by after hours would be enough for you?

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.1795...90Jg4-cXsw!2e0
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 08:22 AM
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Oh - and tom_mm's info is way off. That would be a 7 hours drive in the best of circumstances. W/ stops, traffic, a meal and visiting Stonehenge it could easily be a 12 hour day.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 08:47 AM
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I loved our trip to Stonehenge but we were able to book one of the after hours visits and had a chance to walk amongst the stones with only a small group of other visitors. This was really a highlight for our family. However, I have read many other visitors are disappointed by Stonehenge which may have been true for us if we had been unable to get close to the stones.

Bath and Windsor are also worth seeing but that tour would make for a very long day.

I think I would try to rate the sights you plan to see in London with how important this day trip would be. When my husband and I visit a new place, we tend to look at a guide book and figure out our "must sees", "like to sees", "see if we have extra time" ratings. How would this day trip rate for you? What else do you want to see in London and can you fit it all in without being exhausted? The trip, after all, should be enjoyable!
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 08:54 AM
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I haven't taken it but London Walks (a great walking tour company) does a Stonehenge tour:

http://www.walks.com/Standalone/Ston...r/default.aspx.

Another option to the all day bus tour.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 08:54 AM
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tom_mn -- that google map link/image is OLD. The site isn't like that anymore. No car/coach park, the road is gone.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 09:45 AM
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I've been to Stonehenge twice and IMHO it's underwhelming. If you only have 4 days in London you'd miss out on some much.
It's a most interesting and exciting city far more than Stonehenge IMHO.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 10:07 AM
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Here's a more recent (1 yr) Google picture from the other side, much farther away.

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.1767...Q_Uj-1wmGQ!2e0

Via Michelin listed the drive as 5 hours 18 minutes, or 55 mph average. All but 60 miles of their route is on motorway/freeway.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 11:12 AM
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>>Via Michelin listed the drive as 5 hours 18 minutes,>Here's a more recent (1 yr) Google picture from the other side, much farther away.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 11:37 AM
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Opinions vary. I thought Stonehenge was magical. Maybe it helped that there had just been a thunderstorm, and half the sky was still leaden (had it not been close to noon there would have certainly been a rainbow). However, the idea of taking a long bus ride out of London just for Stonehenge (and if you pack in a few other places, it will be a mad scramble) is not appealing. There is a lot to do in London, but the English countryside is magical, and it is best explored at a leisurely pace. If you can sacrifice a day in Liverpool and rent a car (or catch an early train to Bath), you could, for instance, easily see Stonehenge and perhaps Wells (lovely, smallest cathedral town in England) and then spend the night in Bath (quite nice in its own right). This would require renting a car in Liverpool or Bath, but you would then drop off your car in Bath and take a morning train to London.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 12:20 PM
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And should you decide to go on your own via train and bus, Salisbury Cathedral is wonderful.
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Old Jun 7th, 2015, 03:55 PM
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I don't frequently post, but really wanted to let you know there is another option, since Stonehenge was the favorite part of my last trip to UK. DD and I visited Stonehenge about 3 years ago as a day trip from London. We used the Stonehenge tours company from the Salisbury train station. Their bus is on the left after you exit the station. Time from the station to Stonehenge is about 30 minutes. You can buy tickets in advance on the web (what we did) or from the driver. The best part is that buying the ticket that includes admission to the site allows you to bypass the long serpentine line of people and walk right in through the group tours gate. Basically you are on your own once you enter the site, and just have to remember not to miss the last bus back to town. Their schedule and prices are on the web site. I LOVED Stonehenge, even if I didn't get to walk amongst the stones. Our trip to/from London was about half a day. If you click on my username, you can read my trip report. http://www.thestonehengetour.info/
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