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Stonehenge Travel (Car & Driver Hire)

The husband and I have reservations for early morning inner circle access. I understand there isn't public transportation that early and the best bet would be to stay in Salibury the night before. Unfortunately, that is not an option for us. Does anyone have personal recommendations for a reasonably priced car and driver? I've gotten some quotes from some of the bigger names but they are so high, well outside our budget. I fear that we might just have to bite the bullet so to speak, and rent a car and drive ourselves. Scary! Thanks in advance for your advice.

Posted by
8889 posts

Where are you actually staying on the night before, you say "not Salisbury" but where? I.e. where do you want transport from?
This will affect the answer to your question.

A car and driver for a whole day would be paid British wages, not 3rd world, and would cost a lot. What prices have you been quoted have you got and what would you call "reasonable"?
Renting a car and driving is not scary, as long as your are not starting in central London. Driving in, to or from central London is not recommended. Depending on traffic that can take a long time and can be scary.
If you want to get to Stonehenge early, that implies picking the car up the afternoon before. You will need to check with your hotel if they can recommend somewhere to park it overnight.

Posted by
6113 posts

Cynthia.

Stonehenge is c 90 miles from London, so a car and driver is going to be expensive as they will either have to wait for you or make their own way back to London and allow you to return by train. Why is renting a car so scary? I always rent a car whilst on holiday, be that in the States or in mainland Europe - both are the 'wrong' side of the road for me and I have never had any issues! Salisbury is worth a visit.

Thank you for the responses. We are staying in London, but if forced to rent a car and drive ourselves, will likely pick up from Heathrow as I think that's in the general direction of Stonehenge and would save us some city driving. I understand we could pick up in Central London, but want to avoid drving in that area at all costs. Neither my husband or I have driven in the UK before so that's why it's scary to us.

Posted by
2505 posts

the first train from London will get you to Salisbury just after 8.00am, then simply get a taxi to Stonehenge

Posted by
3391 posts

Since you are attempting to get there for early morning access you will have to leave London mighty early to make it. The plus is that there will be no traffic!
A driver is simply going to cost you a small fortune...there's no way around that. It's about 90 miles to Stonehenge, the driver will have to wait, and then you'll have to drive back and the traffic will be much heavier and it will take longer.
To drive out of central London to Stonehenge with a drive allow yourself at least 2 hours to be on the safe side.
If you decide on renting a car at Heathrow, you'll have to get there via public transport first which may not be possible that early in the morning. In general, the underground doesn't start running until around 5 AM at the earliest. It's about an hour via tube to Heathrow depending on where you start from. Then you'll need at least 90 minutes to drive...
This is a tough one...too bad that staying in Salisbury isn't an option.
Where in the city are you staying? That will affect the feasibility of renting a car the day before, parking it overnight, and then driving out of the city (no small task) very early the next morning. That's really the only other possibility you have.

Posted by
1819 posts

Since you never said WHY doing an overnight in Salisbury is not an option, I am going to guess it might be because you have already paid for accommodation in London for that night? If that is the case, it might be easier and possibly even less expensive to just go ahead and pay another $150 for an overnight in Salisbury and an early morning taxi to Stonehenge. That way you would not need to drive yourselves, since you feel that would be very stressful for you. And the area around Salisbury Cathedral and along the river is a very pleasant place to while away a few hours. The private access time at Stonehenge is very special - it would be a shame to miss it because you didn't get there on time from London.

Posted by
8660 posts

Your best option is to bite the bullet and SPEND the night in Salisbury. Seriously. Think it through. Car hire is costly.
Public transport won't get you there early enough. Car rental from Heathrow means you have to get up VERY early, get to Heathrow, rent the car, get used to driving on the opposite of the road and navigate from Heathrow to Stonehenge in predawn hours and traffic. I think if you did the numbers and factored in the stress you'd see that canceling London Lodging for a night (and eating the cost) would be worth it. Check to see if the Spire House B and B is available. The early morning circle access is worth all this effort!!!! Don't miss it.

Posted by
3391 posts

I think you should keep your London hotel the entire time you planned but not use it the night before Stonehenge. Reserve a room out in Salisbury, pack a small overnight bag, and go there the afternoon before you have reservations for early morning access. Spend the night there, go to Stonehenge in the morning, and then take the train back when you are done, returning to your London hotel. It will cost you FAR less than hiring a driver and be FAR less hassle than trying to stay in London the night before.
Simplify your life and follow my advice!

Your replies have been so helpful. I will definitely be looking into traveling to Salisbury the night before. Eating the cost of the flat in London for one night does suck, but I'm also planning a get together with my English friends that Sunday afternoon that I don't want to have to cut short. That is the real driving force for us. We haven't seen them in years and it's worth a bit of stress on my end I guess to spend a few extra hours with them.
I'm sure I can look it up, but do any of you know off hand what time the last train leaves for Salisbury on a Sunday night? Maybe we could take the last train out and I could still make our day plans on Sunday work. Again, thank you so much for your replies!

Posted by
32735 posts

I don't know either but I did look it up...

The last three trains on the last Sunday in June, the 28th, are:

21:15 London Waterloo Platform 9 => Salisbury Platform 4, 22:45 arrival, 1h 30m duration, 0 changes
22:15 London Waterloo Platform 8 => Salisbury Platform 4, 23:48, 1h 33m 0

23:35 London Waterloo Platform 10 => Salisbury Platform 4, 01:22am 1h 47m 0

Any later trains will not complete the journey and you will be on a station until the morning.

I'd be careful about taking the last train and then trying to wake up in the morning for the Stonehenge experience you worked so hard to get.

Nigel, thanks for your response. The trains run much later than I thought they would so we'll take your advice and catch one of the early evening trains out to Salisbury. Such a relief to finally have this aspect of our trip nailed down. Thanks for all the help!!

Ok. Thanks to everyone's generous advice, we decided to book a super cheap room at a hostel in Salisbury for the night before we're due at Stonehenge for our early morning inner circle access. I booked a later train on the Sunday, around 8pm and that will put us in Salisbury in plenty of time to check into the hostel. Thank you all so much for your insight and input on this leg of our journey. Advice has been followed and my nerves are intact. :-) Thank you!

Posted by
3391 posts

Excellent decision! This will both reduce your stress level and increase the likelihood of getting to the circle in plenty of the by a factor of 10! Have a great time!