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Stonehenge/Avebury tours

Hi all,

My family (partner and two teenagers) are planning a trip to London this June and we'd love to visit Stonehenge & Avebury. I've found a company, Anderson Tours, that does a full-day trip from London (https://andersontours.co.uk/?content=tour&tour=4874) and I'm curious if anyone has booked with them. We don't generally do guided tours, but this would spare us renting a car (we're not otherwise leaving London) or dealing with public transit, which would be great. It's an early start for the teenagers, but they could doze on the bus.

If you have other recommendations for visiting Stonehenge & Avebury, I'd be grateful!

thanks,
Caroline

Posted by
1934 posts

You don't need to rent a car to reach Stonehenge from London. You simply take a train from London (Waterloo) to Salisbury and then a shuttle bus up to Stonehenge. On returning to Salisbury, it is well worth wandering around to view the magnificent medieval cathedral. Avebury by public transport is rather more awkward.

Trains:> www.nationalrail.co.uk
http://www.thestonehengetour.info/timetable
https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/
https://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/salisbury

Also consider taking the train to Bath from London (Paddington). This route is cheapest if pre-booked for specific trains around 11 weeks in advance.https://visitbath.co.uk

Posted by
759 posts

Caroline,

Trying to do both Stonehenge and Avery via public transport is a headache- one that you do not need. The smart plan is book the tour and have a wonderful day out!

If Avebury is not important to you then a train to Salisbury (and coach to Stonehenge) is a strong option.

As for the teenagers- a spray bottle and cold water can be your friend...lol.

Posted by
2949 posts

First of all, I note you're going in June. If your date is near the solstice, Stonehenge will be more packed than usual. Are you thinking of going on the solstice date itself? If so, look up the English Heritage special advice for solstice visitors.

Assuming you'll go on a non-solstice day: if the Anderson tour to Stonehenge & Avebury gets an early start, that's a good sign because it probably means you'll have adequate time at each of the sites to enjoy and appreciate what's there. Stonehenge has a large visitor centre with exhibits indoors and out, and then it's about 1/4 mile to the henge itself. Not sure what your tour will have you do, but regular visitors can choose to take the free shuttle or walk. The entry fee includes an audio guide that you wear around your neck and its commentary is very good. The Avebury stone circle is a mile round.

If you don't care that much about Avebury, as noted by others you can do Stonehenge yourselves by taking the train from London to Salisbury. From there, a circulator bus will take you to Stonehenge and Old Sarum. If the teens want to stretch their legs, send them out to walk between Stonehenge and Woodhenge / Durrington Walls.

Don't rent a car for the one day. Navigating out of London and back would be a big headache, and if you took any wrong turns you could lose precious time at Stonehenge and Avebury. (Not that the countryside isn't lovely, but wandering around the Marlborough Downs wasn't what you came for.)

Posted by
6784 posts

Just a note that we found Avebury much more interesting place to visit than Stonehenge, so don't give it short shrift. Its not as dramatic, but Stonehenge surrounded by teeming crowds of selfie-takers wasn't the contemplative mystical experience that we had expected. We were on a tour from Bath, and I think the whole group spent more time in the gift shop than at the circle.

Posted by
98 posts

We went to Stonehenge and Avebury in early June 2 two years ago. We bought tickets for Stonehenge online the night before. Tuesday morning was a typical summer day in Britain, (horizontal freezing rain). We arrived at Stonehenge at 9:15. We went directly to the ticket agent and boarded the waiting bus for the brief ride to the stones. When we arrived there were fewer than ten people there. We got some stunning pictures with the threatening skies in the background. Just like the Druids must have experienced. The visitors center is really good. There is a cafeteria there as well. The docents said that the cruise ship crowds would arrive by 10:30.
Avebury was a different experience. You can just go up and touch the stones. Beware of the sheep and the droppings that share the space Wear waterproof shoes. There were some folks that were having some emotional experiences while touching and leaning on the stones. It was moving, but in a different way than the drama of Stonehenge. There is a little town and museum inside the stone circle.
My wife and daughter preferred Avebury. I preferred Stonehenge. In short, they are both worth the visit. I don’t think that they are so similar as to be interchangeable.
Manage the crowds. Be tolerant of the weather. We drove, but you might benefit from the tour operator you mentioned. I wouldn’t attempt the public transport option. I wouldn’t hesitate to rent a car but I can understand that driving isn’t for everyone. Good luck.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks so much for all the helpful input, everybody! We'll book the tour to see both sites (not on the solstice; we will avoid those crazy crowds). Really looking forward to it.

Posted by
4716 posts

We got some stunning pictures with the threatening skies in the background. Just like the Druids must have experienced.

Stonehenge wasn't built by Druids, it's a Neolithic construction that predates the Druids by thousands of years.