The mystery of the megalithic monuments of “Stonehenge” located in Wiltshire region of England have always aroused a curiosity in us to learn and explore the story behind this prehistoric monument. And when a trip to the UK was devised we made sure not to miss a trip to this historical wonder of Stonehenge.
We booked a day tour with Anderson Tours on the day after Christmas. Our trip to Stonehenge also combined a visit to Windsor Castle and Salisbury Cathedral. With Public transport, this trip would have been a little cumbersome and time consuming so we chose to do a day tour.
Our meeting point was Earls Count Underground Station which was easy to locate. Once other travel mates for the day joined us on coach our tour guide briefed us about the places that we would be visiting for the day.
The Windsor Castle home to British sovereign for over 1000 years is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world. Unfortunately, the castle was closed during our visit and so we had only the town of Windsor to explore.
We parked our coach and climbed the stairs which led to the Windsor & Eton Central station which opened up into a large complex with several restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops.
We sauntered through the cobblestone streets past the restaurants and entered into a street along the magnificent castle wall of the Lower Ward of Windsor Castle.
Around the corner of the street is The Henry VIII gateway in the Lower Ward.
We continued on the street towards the Windsor Great Park taking pictures on the way.
St John the Baptist, Windsor
Irish Guardsman Statue – A statue dedicated to Irish Guardsmen.
Windsor Great Park – We were overwhelmed by the massive green landscape with an avenue called ‘The Long Walk’ running south of the castle for 3 long miles in a straight line.
The Royal Park of 2020 hectares for many centuries was the private hunting ground of Windsor Castle.
Windsor castle is steeped in royal history and antique furnishings. There was definitely a lot we had missed.
The State Apartments furnished with finest works of art. St George’s Chapel, one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture. Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, the most beautiful dolls’ house in the world. Sumptuously decorated Semi-State Rooms open to visitors in the winter months and used by The Queen for hosting her guests. And of course, the popular guard changing ceremony. Check schedules here.
And much more!
The Queen does occasionally make a visit to the castle during which the castle visit may be restricted. Before you plan your visit make sure to confirm the castle open times.
Windsor is well connected from London by rail with a good frequency and Heathrow Airport is about a 15 min ride.
We could not do much at the Windsor castle other than taking in its splendor and grandeur. We were zealous to reach our next stop. We drove through the beautiful countryside with the bright radiant daffodils everywhere. Once our guide informed us that we were nearing our destination we were all eyes for one glimpse of the astounding monument.
We finally reached the main entrance gate of the visitors center. Our guide got us the tickets along with an audio guide. We hopped onto one of the shuttles running from the visitor center to the Stones.
Our shuttle dropped us close to the Stonehenge. The Stonehenge bound by ropes to avoid proximity was swarming with tourists taking pictures. The weather was windy, we spent some time taking pictures and when the weather worsened we decided to leave.
Back at the visitor center one can find many recreated Neolithic Village which gives an insight into the life of the people who lived 4,500 years ago.
A huge Sarsen was at the display where one can attempt to pull the sarsen and test their strength. I tried pulling it but no luck it actually displayed a measure saying strength required would be 100 times of me.
The visitor center houses an exhibition with a 360-degree audio-visual experience of the Stonehenge. The antiquity exhibition displays more than 250 ancient archaeological objects discovered during excavation. The most remarkable of all was the face of a 5500-year-old man reconstructed with forensic help based on his bones found near Stonehenge.
After this overwhelming experience, we took a seat at a table of the cafeteria for a must required rest and recollected the amazing history.
The mysterious of “Stonehenge” dates back to around 4000 years. The Stonehenge stands in a vast sacred landscape dotted with large barrows of different forms which are burial mounds from an early Neolithic period.
It was interesting to know that biggest of Stonehenge’s stones, known as sarsens, are up to 30 feet tall and weigh 25 tons. The smaller ones known as bluestones weigh up to 4 tons which constitute the inner circle of Stonehenge was sourced from Wales, nearly 200 miles away.
One can grab a unique opportunity to experience the stones from close with an access to the inner circle. More Info here.
With so many curiosities unanswered we bid farewell to the most astonishing and incredible circle of mystery.
Our last stop of the tour was the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral, one of the UK’s most iconic medieval buildings. The Anglican Cathedral has the tallest church spire in the UK which can be visited on a tour. Also, worth checking is the cathedral clock supposedly the oldest working modern clock in the world.
We visited the beautifully decorated cathedral emanating a charming ambiance on occasion of Christmas eve.
We spend some time and decided to explore the town which was adorned with dazzling Christmas lights. We had our dinner at one of the restaurants and hustled back at the parking to drive back to London.
Have you been to Stonehenge or Windsor or Salisbury, we would love to hear your experiences? Do share with us in comments.
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