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Tour to Stonehenge after hours for inner circle access

Tour to Stonehenge after hours for inner circle access

Old Mar 28th, 2010, 10:12 AM
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Tour to Stonehenge after hours for inner circle access

Hi,

I found a tour that offers this on a day we'll be in London. It leaves London at noon, visits Avebury and West Kennet Long Barrow, then continues to Stonehenge. I'm trying to decide if this is something my husband, 2 older sons and I should do even though we'll only be in London (1st timers) for 5 nights. I have always wanted to see Stonehenge though! Has anyone done this type of a tour? Thanks in advance!
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Old Mar 28th, 2010, 11:10 AM
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The tour is expensive -- but to do it independently by public transport is difficult, so you are paying for the convenience.

The cheapest way by far is to book your own inner access through English Heritage and rent a car for the day.

The main problem is you really have less free time in London than you might think. Day 1 is often a jet lagged fog -- for at least some of you. You won't have time to see more than a few of the major sites in London.

Only you can decide if the Stonehenge day trip is worth losing about 1/4 of your time in London.

If it was me -- I'd probably just do London this time and next visit spend fewer days in London and more out in the countryside. But then the first time I set foot in London/the UK I knew I'd be back many times -- and I have.
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Old Mar 28th, 2010, 03:55 PM
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Thanks janisj! You are always so helpful!! I guess I need to decide how much I really want to go! Is it worth going if we can't do the inner circle but instead just take a train in to at least see Stonehenge?
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Old Mar 28th, 2010, 04:08 PM
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Inner access is great -- (I'm a bit less blown away by 'getting to touch the stones' because I was able to visit Stonehenge several times before it was roped off.)

Some say the stones are fenced -- they aren't. It is just a cable that allows one to get quite close in some places and farther away in others. If you just want to see Stonehenge w/o inner access, and Salisbury, it is very easy to do it on your own. Train to Salisbury and cab or bus to the stones. And you could be back in London by late afternoon/early evening if you wanted to do something at night.

If you wanted to see Avebury/etc too -- the best thing would be to go out to LHR on the tube and pick up a rental car for the day. LHR/Avebury/Stonehenge/Salisbury/LHR is totally doable day's drive. And it would cost a fraction of 4X the guided tour price.

OR - does the whole family want to see Stonehenge? If not, one or two of you could do it and the others could stay in London and fit in more of what they want . . .
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Old Mar 28th, 2010, 10:09 PM
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We (family of 4 with two teenagers) did an inner access visit one evening and just loved the experience. We had rented a car and booked our tickets through the English Heritage society's website. They really don't give a tour but open up the stones to a small group to wander through and take time to experience the setting. If this is something you've always wanted to do and aren't sure if you'll be returning to London, I'd highly recommend it. Of course, it is hard to know if your family would enjoy it as much as ours did. There is so much to do in London that you will really have to pick and choose your priorities. Good luck with your decision and have a great trip!
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Old Mar 28th, 2010, 11:30 PM
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Stonehenge again. Good advice from janisj and KTtravel. You will spend most of the day travelling to see some organised stones, and that's it. Interesting, even quite impressive places in their own way but not unless integrated into time spent in Wiltshire.

As first-timers with just 5 days, my advice also is to stay in the London area. If you need a break from the city there is no shortage of easy short trips out.

Stonehenge is a bete noire of mine. It is a never-ending source of amazement that the place features so high up foreign tourists lists of 'must-dos'.
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Old Mar 28th, 2010, 11:56 PM
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Stonehenge, as something to look at just as a 'thing' isn't that interesting. The how the heck did they do it, and why, is the interesting part
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 12:54 AM
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Agreed, and a lot more is being worked out now about why the stones are there. It involves the history of all of Salisbury Plain and the area known as Wessex. That is a very interesting subject and reveals a lot about the early human habitation of England. But I suggest one doesn't need to physically visit the stones to appreciate or understand the subject, particularly if time in the UK is short.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 04:28 AM
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I found on two occassions that the audio gadget one carries around with you at Stonehenge is absolutely necessary if you want to get the most out of the experience. Just looking at these incredible ancient stones is not enough. Its far more interesting hearing what stone is what, about the direction of the sun, what the historians think happened here, etc. etc.
I would go for the day trip to Avebury & West Kennet ending with the highlight at Stonehenge. You will remember this day long after the hustle and bustle of London has gone quiet.
Don't take anyone along who is not enthralled by ancient monuments........like youngsters who would rather you left them in London for the afternoon. I'd let them off the leash(providing they are over 16) and hear all the exciting things they did when you get back! It will be a learning curve of note I reckon.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 05:00 AM
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Thank you all for your honest opinions!! I have wanted to see Stonehenge since I first saw pictures of it in National Geographic!! But, I agree, it's not for everyone, probably including my two sons!! Maybe just DH and I will go, although I believe he would be doing this just for me.

We are also going to Paris for 3 nights before coming back to London for one last night so this trip will be busy. Then one son will remain in London to do a semester at Roehampton University in SW London! So many decisions, although such fun to plan this out!!! I have more questions about other activities, but I'll be posting them separately! Thanks again!
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 05:12 AM
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Jayneann, don't get me wrong, these places ARE worth visiting, but are not, in my opinion, 'must-sees' at all. The UK has so much to offer to a time-limited visitor that I don't understand why they keep appearing above the horizon.

I have lived in Wiltshire for 20 years, quite close to Avebury and Silbury Hill as it happens, and I am only just really discovering the county now I have retired. Let alone the rest of the UK and countries abroad.

It will be interesting to hear eventually what you thought of Stonehenge and whether you thought the trip worthwhile.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 06:18 AM
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If I can jump on to this thread since I have a related question....

I am going to book an access tour (directly with EH) in the evening in early July. They have a choice between 7:30 to 8:30 pm, or 8:30 to 9:30 pm. I plan on taking some photos (it is a family trip). The sunset is at 9:20 (if I have looked this up correctly). Which time do you think would be better for photos/atmosphere?

Santa was very nice to me at Christmas, and I am just learning all the lighting etc. rules, so sorry for the lame question!
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 06:55 AM
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stfc, I certainly understand! There are many places I haven't been to yet that are only within a 200 mile radius from me!!
Just don't know if and when I'll get back to the UK, whereas I figure I'll eventually get to most local sights!

Poutine, good luck with your question. I don't believe any question, when sincere, is lame!!
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 09:56 AM
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Poutine, sorry I'm not a photographer so really don't know the answer to your question. I hope others can chime in.

I can see why some would wonder why foreign tourists are so interested in Stonehenge. I think it might be because, in the US, we do see a lot of pictures of it and read a bit about it in our history books when we are young. For me, it is up there with the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, the Taj Mahal, the Roman Coliseum, the Grand Canyon -- one of those places you've seen pictures of for so many years so you're excited to actually get to see it.

As a native San Franciscan, I can't imagine what tourists find so interesting about our city, LOL!
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 10:07 AM
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Jayneann - This trip or any other in the far distant future has STONEHENGE written on it! Please I implore you, take off to Stonehenge with Husband in towe, leave the 'young'uns ' behind to have a discovery of their very own - LONDON! Remember you have a refuge for them to come home to and hopefully all have your cellphones in contact!
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 10:12 AM
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poutine: It depends on your camera. Are you going to click away on a normal shoot & point camera or do you have a camera that can adapt to very darkened light.
My husband shoots photographs in the darkest of night that look like midday - so, you see where I'm coming from.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 11:22 AM
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KT, I surrender. Stonehenge up there with the Grand Canyon, and the Great Wall of China. Really? I've never seen the Wall but I'll spend time at the Canyon any time. Stonehenge may be an icon, but it's an small and unimpressive one in the flesh.

San Francisco? The view from the car park just on the north side of the bay across the Golden Gate to the city is one of the finest in the world. In my opinion. Matched only by the view from Sugar Loaf Mountain back towards Rio as the sun sets. Sorry, going off thread.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 07:15 PM
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stfc: I live 90 miles from San Francisco, lived for 5 years in NE Oxfordshire, have parked in that Marin county car park often, ---- AND have been to Stonehenge probably 15+ times (pre and post ropes)

The place still amazes me. . . . but I agree, in a prefect world one should be seen along the rest of that part of the country . . .

A week for Avebury, old Sarum, Stonehenge, Salisbury, Winchester, the New Forest, etc etc etc.

poutine: The earlier tour will be in bright daylight. The 2nd tour will start in daylight but - if you are lucky - will give you the chance to take some amazing sunset photos through the Stones. But the weather could mess up that plan.
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Old Mar 30th, 2010, 01:22 PM
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Well Janisj, looks like my husband agrees with you!! He thinks visiting London and Paris in one trip is enough, and really doesn't want to fit Stonehenge in too!! He agreed to see it next time though!!!

So, Tod and stfc, looks like I'll get there eventually, just not this trip!!! I did try to convince him Stonehenge was calling my name, but he couldn't hear it, lol!!! I'm now good with this decision, so many other sights to see right in the city!!!
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Old Mar 30th, 2010, 02:06 PM
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That's great - you will be back and maybe spend a whole trip outside of London. LOTS of amazing sites in the SW.

>><i>in a prefect world one should be seen along the rest of that part of the country</i>.<< I really <i>should</i> preview

In a prefect world it should be seen along the rest of that part of the country.
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