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London-Stonehenge-Bath

Hi!
My wife and I will be arriving in London in mid-June (2016) and taking the train from Heathrow to Bath. We're debating about seeing Stonehenge at all. The Rick Steves' England guidebook (6th edition, page 447) suggests seeing "Stonehenge on your way from London, saving your Bath side-tripping...for the other sights." What is a relatively easy way to travel from Heathrow to Stonehenge to Bath? (I don't see that sequence described in the book.) And with jet lag, is that even recommended?
Thanks!
Will

Posted by
4981 posts

The jet lag issue you mentioned is the best reason I can think of to go directly to Bath. You'll need some time to adjust and not just be walking around in a daze. If memory serves there are several tours of Stonehenge that leave from and return to Bath.

Posted by
3941 posts

We had a whole two nights in Bath in 2012...we used Scarper Tours to go out to Stonehenge. Takes about 3 hrs - an hour out and back, and an hour at the site. Well, it took us a little longer as there had been a car accident and we got rerouted.

https://www.scarpertours.com/

Are you spending a few nights in Bath? Stonehenge - as some have said - is a bit of a letdown (maybe it was because it was cold and raining when we went), but I am still glad that we went and checked it off the too-see list.

Posted by
6113 posts

If you are debating whether or not to see Stonehenge, then don't.

I get the impression that most visitors go because they feel they ought to, rather than wanting to go there. You don't want to go with luggage and jetlag. What would you do with your luggage? Nor should you spend longer travelling on a coach from Bath than you actually spend there, which is the wrong ratio for me. Unless you are in England for 2 months, there are plenty of other things that are more interesting than Stonehenge IMO.

Stonehenge isn't easy to reach via public transport either. It's a bus to Reading from Heathrow, then a train to Salisbury then a bus to the site. Then a bus back to the rail station to pick up a train to Bath.

Posted by
14157 posts

I enjoy Stonehenge but don't try to somehow work in a visit on the way to Bath.

I actually don't agree with Rick's advice about heading directly to Bath from Heathrow altho many do just that. Depending on how your days flow, it seems to me it's better to go to London for a few days and then go out to Bath. From Bath, as others mentioned there are day and 1/2 day trips that include Stonehenge. OR you can go from London to Salisbury, stay 2 nights there and take the local Salisbury Reds Stonehenge Tour bus which runs a loop all day out to Stonehenge and back via Old Sarum.

I fly from the Western US and get to London around noon. I usually get to my hotel between 2 and 3, then have a short time to walk around in the sunlight to try and adjust to jet lag, get an early dinner with a glass of wine and call it a night. I am not sure I could tolerate a couple more hours on a bus (which is what he recommends).

As to luggage at Stonehenge...when I was at Stonehenge last Fall there were a bunch of tourists dragging immense wheeled suitcases (really, they were as big as they were!) on the path around the stones, some of which is paved and some of which is not paved. Very bizarre, but made for interesting people watching.

Posted by
2783 posts

Stonehenge is worth a visit. I know that Rick always recommend going to Bath, after landing. There are so many other places that you can go to and easier. You could get a cab into Slough (15 minute ride) get the train to Moreton-in-Marsh, Cotswolds its a 1 hr 20 minute ride. I much prefer to start my holiday in the Cotswolds.

Posted by
149 posts

I debated not going to Stonehenge last year as well. My brother talked me into it and I took one of the London Walks day trips there. We arrived rather early in the morning and it was BEAUTIFUL. I found it to be extremely worth the trip and I'm really glad my brother talked me into it.

Posted by
846 posts

The easiest logistical way to do Heathrow, Stonehenge, Bath is to rent a car at Heathrow. But, this doesn't work so well when you are jet lagged. If you don't rent a car, and want to do it on the way, you have to figure out what to do with your luggage. If you do a day trip from Bath, you have to do a tour (so you can't linger) or you have to conquer the transportation issues (which is doable, but Stonehenge is not easily reached). I think Stonehenge is most easily done as a day trip from Salisbury. With a rented car, it's a great destination, esp if you arrive first thing, and then you visit Old Sarum and/or Salisbury in the afternoon.

Posted by
110 posts

As far as Heathrow to Bath, I we are taking the advice of some of the regulars and locals here:

Instead of training Heathrow to Paddington and then Paddington to Bath, we will instead take a local bus from Heathrow to Windsor and Maidenhead and then train to Bath from there. Fewer transfers and less backtracking.

Once in Bath, we opted for Lion Tours that does a half day Stonehenge Express tour (they also have a full day that includes Salisbury, Glastonbury and Wells, but we went with the half day so we could actually see some of Bath.)

Good luck and have fun!
D

Posted by
16894 posts

The primary way that Rick intends you to accomplish that suggestion on p. 447 is by taking a bus tour that departs London, such as Evan Evans' or Golden Tours; see p. 219. That implies that you visit London first.

On the other hand, one of his reasons to go to Bath directly from the airport is so that you don't have to stay in London twice (if you'll later fly out from there or take a Eurostar train to the continent).

Posted by
14157 posts

Oh gosh, I do love Bath but maybe that's because I love the fiction from the Georgian/Regency period and it is so very easy to imagine those characters strolling thru the streets! I enjoyed my 2 nights in Salisbury this fall and particularly enjoyed the Cathedral/Chapter House and Wiltshire Museum there. However I found more to do over the 5 nights I was in Bath and it had more restaurants suited to my needs.

Others don't share my extreme enthusiasm for Bath and feel it is fine for a day trip and that is just fine with me!

Posted by
110 posts

b.paul1 - As a side note, I feel the same way about the Cotswolds. Can't understand why everyone raves about them but that only means they're not for me. Everyone else can go. Then again, for me, I love the Roman ruins far more than the more modern stuff.