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Lisa O`Brien

Has anyone been to Stonehenge? Some questions.

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Hello. Even though i`m English,to my shame I have to admit that THE one place I have always wanted to visit in England is Stonehenge but still never have. Just been watching a documentary about it with the wonderful Tony Robinson. It made me realise just how much,for most of my life,I have wanted to see the stones for myself ,before I am too old and decrepit to venture anywhere . Has anyone on here been to Stonehenge ? Does anybody know of a half decent hotel or B and B nearby where people have stayed in before? I don`t drive and will be travelling from Ireland. Ideally visit my sister and her husband in Manchester for a few days and then travel down south; maybe taking in London for two or three nights and then travel on to Stonehenge from London . Just wondered if anyone had been and could give me a few tips. Many thanks.

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Lisa, I have wonderful memories of Stonehenge from holidays when I was a child.  The A303 was the road we used to take to the west country, and I can still remember the excitement when the stones appeared on the horizon in the middle of nowhere.   In those days you could just park the car, get out, wander up to the stones and have a good look round, and then go on.  Happy days.  :)  Even now, although you have to pay to go inside, you can still get a good view from the road for free (or you could about 4 years ago, anyway).  However,  the plan by English Heritage is to divert the road so that no-one can see it for nothing.  BOO!  The whole joy of Stonehenge is the fact that it is so isolated, and you come upon it almost by accident.  The idea of going through a tunnel, or whatever, is abhorrent to me.  

 

Anyway, on a more practical level, if you don't drive, then I think you will probably have to go on a guided tour.  I am not sure, but I believe there are tours from London.  If not, then the nearest town is Salisbury.  I don't know if there is a B&B close by, but if so I think it would still be difficult to get to without your own transport. 

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Further to my previous post, I wondered exactly how you would get there using public transport.  Apparently you can get a National Express coach from London Victoria coach station to Amesbury, which takes about two and a half hours.   A return ticket from London costs about £35.  Then it is about a 2 mile walk to Stonehenge, or you can get a taxi.  It is quite a long way to go just to look at the stones, though.  If it was me, I would either go on an organised day trip that combines it with something else, or stay in Salisbury and sort out something from there. 

Edited by Fonty
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Thanks Fonty. I think if I were to go I would want to be there as long as possible,as I will probably [sadly] never ever get to go there again.I would want to really make the most of it and go to the visitor centre and do well, everything !

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I went to Stonehenge about 5 years ago. This was before the current visitor centre. I stayed in Salisbury and took the tour bus around Salisbury and then up to Stonehenge: http://www.thestonehengetour.info/  Its a hop-on/hop-off bus so if you start early enough you can spend most of the day at Stonehenge should you wish.

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Sounds great. Many thanks,RMM1.Can I ask you about accommodation in Salisbury? Is there much choice? And is staying in Salisbury town as near as you can get to the stones? What I mean is, is there nowhere nearer to stay?

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There are a lot of hotels, guest houses and B&Bs in Salisbury and the surrounding areas. There is accommodation closer to Stonehenge than Salisbury itself but if you are reliant on public transport, then probably not suitable. We stayed near Bath last month and found there to be lots of places but they do book up in quite a bit in advance.

 

If you wanted to cut costs and really visit the area, going from Manchester to Bristol or Bath would be possible, and missing out London. Both these places offer day trips to Stonehenge and Bristol, in particular, as a city , offers you plenty of things to explore. All depending on travel to and from home of course, for if you need to arrive or depart in London.

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In the vicinity are Silbury Hill, West Kennet long barrow plus avenue and Avebury stone circles. All much more atmospheric in my opinion than Stonehenge. You might find more information on English Heritage and National Trust websites about how to visit the area without your own transport.

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Echoing 2dancersmum Salisbury is probably the nearest best place to stay if you are using public transport. Lots of accommodation choices, although might not be much choice if you coincide with the Salisbury Festival which starts end of May Bank Holiday weekend for a couple of weeks.

 

I actually went for the Cathedral and Stonehenge was a bonus. I stayed in the Mercure Hotel which was very nice and room itself was fine but was located just above the traffic lights so quite noisy.

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Hi Lisa

I grew up in Salisbury and would recommend you stay there anyway - as there is also "Old Sarum" which is great to visit as well plus the Cathedral with it's lovely close and walks along the River Avon - there is quite a lot to do in and around the city.

 

The city itself is small enough to wander around as well - and there used to be a lovely tea shop "The Cross Keys Restaurant" that served great cream teas in the afternoon and a full silver-service menu in the evening - I know because I worked there as a teenager and the American tips were amazing! ;) 

Can't really vouch for the quality of the hotels now - but the Rose & Crown in Harnham is right on the river and only a 15 min walk from the Cathedral - I had my wedding reception there some 21 years ago now (scary!).  I still go and visit friends from time to time and I always love going back - it still feels like home even though it hasn't been for over 20 years.

 

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Like Fonty, I remember a time when you could just drive there and walk among the stones. But I also remember the stones having quite a bit of graffiti already (many decades ago!), so I can understand why they'd want to protect them. But the idea of building a bypass so you can't see the stones without having to pay is just awful. I could sort of understand it if a diversion was necessary to protect the stones, but just to grab money from people? I know it's fashionable these days to turn everything into a commodity, but that's very mean-spirited. I mean, this is a famous part of our heritage, and it should at least be accessible from a distance.

Edited by Melody
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