Stonehenge – Getting There Independently
May 4, 2008
The blokes The Husband works with were down on Stonehenge, but I found it to be even more impressive than I had imagined. At first Mom and I thought we would take a tour leaving from London, of which there are many. Basically, it sounds like my idea of one of the levels of hell – the bus tours (either full or mini-bus) cost around 75 Pounds per person and we would have had to meet up with the bus at one of 6 tube stations between 7:30 and 9am, spending the remainder of the time picking up the other 20 to 60 people, then set out on the 2 plus hour ride to Stonehenge where we would spend one hour, then get back on the bus for another 2 hour ride where we and 60 other tourists would invade either Bath or Stratford, wandering the streets for 5 HOURS. Then it’s back on the bus and we’d finally be deposited in London around 7pm.
After a little investigating I found information on how to get there “independently” which is what Mom and I opted for. We had a leisurely breakfast and jumped on the tube around 10am to begin our fun and relaxing day trip.
Getting There From London: From Waterloo Station, take the train to Salisbury (24 Pounds, 1 hour 20 minutes). At Salisbury you can purchase a tour bus ticket by charge or cash. It’s 17.50 with the Stonehenge fee included or 11 Pounds cash only with an English Heritage card. We checked our bags at The Cat B&B for 2 quid each. The buses leave on the hour and take about 25 minutes to Stonehenge. Once there you can stay as long as you like. The buses return to Salisbury at 40 minutes after the hour. There are shops and pubs in easy walking distance of the train station. Trains head back to London every 30 to 45 minutes. You can only go into the inner circle at certain times of the day but I was quite satisfied without that.
The most hilarious part of the journey was buying the bus tickets at Salisbury Station. There is a big sign that says “Information” pointing to a tiny little booth set up just inside the entrance. It didn’t look permanent, more like a little trailer with two steps up to a narrow door. The sign doesn’t say “Tickets,” just “Information.” Virtually everyone who had gotten off the train was trying to crowd into the booth to find out what to do next. When we finally got in the door we could see a tiny little woman in the tiny little booth. She had the most British of name tags: Elizabeth Butters. Every person who made it to the counter asked, “Is this how to get to Stonehenge?” and each time Elizabeth Butters replied, “Unless you want to take a taxi.”
We had top seats on the double-decker bus. It was a lovely ride with some narration about the nearby sites. I am hoping to drive down with The H later in the summer and maybe do the inner circle thing at sunrise or sunset. I would love to be there at the summer solstice but I imagine the possibility of running into groups of hippies and robed Druids would be way too much for him. I can picture us having a medical situation due to repeated intensive eye rolling. I also tried to talk him into taking a Stonehenge and barrows helicopter ride but that’s too expensive for even me to justify. I’ll save that for the Grand Canyon.