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Does anyone have experience wandering around this area? It will be mid January. We have tentative plans to train from London to Bath, spend time in Bath, pick up a car later in the day and head East. I have reservations for now in East Kennett, just west of Marlboro, in a lovely B&B. It is rather far to Stonehenge from there for our Inner Circle tour at 8 am the next day, though. The next morning, we would spend time at Stonehenge, then travel to Salisbury for the remainder of the day, or wander about I suppose. I planned to drop the car in Salisbury and train back to London. I thought this would give us a chance to see a few other low key sites such as Avebury and the Wiltshire White Horses. Maybe not so exciting, but some countryside. This would be the only driving on our 10 day trip. Touring the countryside is best left to nicer times of the year, but this would at least get us out of a larger city. Thoughts?

Posted by
657 posts

We did a 4-day inn-to-inn walk to/from Bath a couple years ago and loved the countryside (of which we saw a LOT, and in the rain too). We stayed at Bradford-on-Avon, Lacock, and Castle Combe, all of which were charming. I'm sure you could easily see them in one day with a car.

Posted by
239 posts

To me, it's a pefect idea. My wife and I often used to take short countryside breaks in January or February. The days will be short and the trees bare and it will make it marvellously atmospheric for looking at Neolithic and Bronze Age sites, as well as some of the sites of King Alfred's battles against the Vikings, though there is not much to see of those. Marlborough (note the spelling) is a lovely town and you're also not far from north Dorset or east Somerset, so you aren't restricted to Wiltshire.

Posted by
6113 posts

Day 1 is going to be very busy with the train to Bath, a full day there then hiring a car and driving to East Kennett. Hiring a car and driving will probably take 2 hours.

The Vale of Pewsey is attractive countryside. Lacock is interesting, but is possibly too far west when you are heading east. Salisbury cathedral is worth visiting.

It will be dark at c 4pm in January. You will also be driving to Stonehenge partly in the dark. Snow is a possibility, but not likely. Frost is more likely.

Posted by
1801 posts

Visit Winchester, particularly the cathedral. Winchester isn't in Wiltshire, of course, but it is only about thirty miles from Salisbury. It is interesting to compare the two cathedrals and Winchester has a nice central area to explore.

Posted by
30 posts

If you are physically able to do so I would recommend wondering around Old Sarum. My son and I really enjoyed the history and the scenery around this place.

Posted by
7195 posts

If you rent a car, consider driving to Wells and Glastonbury, south of Bath. You can see Bath in one day. Avebury is worth a stop. Salisbury and Stonehenge you can do with Avebury in one day.

Posted by
56 posts

So many ideas. I hope I can return someday so I can explore more sights outside London. We don't want to run helter-skelter so we will see most of what we can in London and take time for some of what is suggested here.

Posted by
3111 posts

Days will be short and most of what you want to see is outdoors, so make sure to get an early start each day or else the sun will go down on your sightseeing. We had a rental car and did most of what you describe, but at a time of year when the days are longer.

Can you skip Bath or put it later in your trip, after Salisbury? Because if you want to see Avebury and the Witshire White Horses, how are you going to do that without retracing your steps from Stonehenge?

Driving from East Kennett to Stonehenge you have a fairly straight shot through Pewsey Downs National Nature Reserve and down the A345 (Salisbury Road) to the A303. These are small country roads and it is easy to take a wrong turn at a roundabout, especially in the predawn darkness. Honestly I would allow 2 hours (i.e., leave your B&B by 6 AM) because if you're late for your Inner Circle tour, you're out of luck.

If you stick to your plan to train London-Bath, it will take you all day just to get to East Kennett, even if you don't really see much of Bath. Then after you've enjoyed Stonehenge at 8 AM, your route back towards Avebury and the chalk horses will take you right past Durrington Walls & Woodhenge (just north of the intersection of Salisbury Road and A303). But, that means you'll be driving south to Stonehenge before dawn, north to Avebury in the late morning, and then back south to Salisbury in the afternoon -- right?

Here's what I suggest: You could take the train from London to Newbury as it's the nearest town to East Kennett that has train service. Get a rental car in Newbury, drive from Newbury through Marlborough, continue to the chalk horse(s) and Avebury, then spend the night in the lovely B&B in East Kennett. Next morning, 8 AM Stonehenge etc., then proceed to Old Sarum and Salisbury. After enjoying Salisbury, drive to Bath, enjoy the sights of Bath, turn in your car and train back to London. Would that work?

Posted by
3576 posts

Excellent suggestions by epltd. And I would definitely see Salisbury Cathedral.