London to Stonehenge Day Trip with a Stop at Windsor Castle and Salisbury Cathedral

London to Stonehenge Day Trip with a Stop at Windsor Castle and Salisbury Cathedral

(Last Updated On: January 20, 2019)

We are a great history and architecture buffs and love to explore the historical monuments and attractions of a destination we visit. The historic attractions always top our must-visit places in a city sightseeing. The mystery of the megalithic monuments of ‘Stonehenge’ has always aroused a curiosity in us to learn and explore more about this prehistoric monument. And when a trip to the UK was devised we made sure not to miss a trip to the historical wonder of Stonehenge. We were based in London and London to Stonehenge day trip is one of the popular tours.

We visited the UK for Christmas and after spending 2 days in London exploring the beautiful city we booked a day tour to Stonehenge on the day after Christmas. This trip would have been a little cumbersome and time-consuming with public transport so we chose to book a day tour. Our trip to Stonehenge also combined a visit to Windsor Castle and Salisbury Cathedral.

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.

What is Stonehenge?

The ‘Stonehenge’ is a prehistoric monument comprising a ring of standing stones located in the Wiltshire region of England. The monument is believed to be built by Neolithic people some 4500 years ago around 3000 BC. Interestingly Stonehenge is said to be constructed in stages and even the stones rearranged several times from the Neolithic Period to the Bronze Age. The first monument built is said to be the ‘Henge’ part which was a circular ditch with an inner or outer bank about 5,000 years ago.

The stone circle was erected only during the late Neolithic period between 2500-2000 BC. There are several burial mounds which can be seen dotting the landscape around the Stonehenge which was built only in the Bronze Age. If this has piqued your interest you can read more in detail about the Stonehenge monument and its history on their website here. The Stonehenge is managed by the English Heritage Trust who also care for over 400 historic monuments and sites.

Originally the monument of Stonehenge comprised 30 upright stones with 30 supporting lintels but today there are only 17 upright stones with 6 lintels remaining. Some of the stones have fallen and many others have been missing from the site.

Visiting Stonehenge Monuments – The Best Part of London to Stonehenge Day Trip

Once we were at the main entrance gate of the visitors center our tour guide bought us the tickets along with an audio guide. You can also pick up an orientation leaflet or buy a guide for detailed information for your visit. Each of the tickets was timed and we had to start the monument visit in next half an hour or so. Public and private vehicles are not allowed near Stonehenge monuments. There are shuttles running from the visitor’s center to the Stonehenge monuments. We joined the queue waiting for the shuttle to the site of the monument and hopped into the next scheduled shuttle.

Day Tour Windsor Stonehenge Salisbury

Our shuttle dropped us close to the Stonehenge about 5 minutes walk away. You can also walk all the way to the stones which will take you about 40 minutes or take the shuttle half the way and then walk to the Stones. You will get to see the burial mounds along the way. As the weather wasn’t very nice we decided to take the shuttle all the way to the stones.

We were finally here, at the magnificent monuments. It was an amazing feeling! The Stonehenge bound by ropes to avoid proximity was swarming with tourists taking pictures of the monument and selfies with the stones. The audio guides were not very helpful as it was not clear due to the whooshing wind. We spent some time walking around the stones and when the weather worsened we decided to return to the visitor’s center.

Day Tour Windsor Stonehenge Salisbury

Neolithic Village at Stonehenge

Back at the visitor center, we explored the recreated Neolithic Village which gives an insight into the life of the people who lived 4,500 years ago. The houses in the recreated Neolithic Villages were built based on the archaeological findings around the area.

Day Tour Windsor Stonehenge Salisbury

The volunteers here walk visitors through the Neolithic Village and demonstrate domestic skills used by the prehistoric people.

Day Tour Windsor Stonehenge Salisbury

A huge Sarsen was at the display where one can attempt to pull the sarsen and test their strength. We tried our luck pulling it but in vain. It actually displayed a measure saying strength required would be 100 times each of us.

Day Tour Windsor Stonehenge Salisbury

Exhibition at Stonehenge Visitors Center

The visitor center houses an amazing exhibition providing information on the stones, its history, the landscape and the people behind this wonderful prehistoric monument. There is also a 360-degree audio-visual experience of the Stonehenge as a part of the exhibition. The antiquity collection consists of over 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.

Day Tour Windsor Stonehenge Salisbury

The mysterious of ‘Stonehenge’ dates back to around 4500 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. A tour of the Stonehenge actually lets you walk back in time and discover the life of the ancient people. And the exhibition provides artifacts on Stonehenge and the surrounding landscape.

It was interesting to know that there are two kinds of stones used in the ‘Stonehenge’ monument. The 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. You can read some more interesting facts about Stonehenge here.

Stone Circle Access

We were a bit taken aback when we saw that the stones were fenced out not allowing us to view the stones from close. And the visitors lingered all along the fence so it made it difficult for us even to get a glimpse. We visited in December and this was the case so wondering how would it be in the peak season.

But there is an opportunity to experience this magnificent monument from close which we unfortunately missed and hope to do it the next time. The ‘Stone Circle Access’ visits are visits that allow visitors to get close to the stones. The visits are held outside the normal visit times and there is a form to fill up to request for access with limited time slots available to select from for the visit. The visits are for a fixed time and each slot has a maximum of only 30 people. More Info here.

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral is one of the UK’s most iconic medieval buildings. We visited the beautifully decorated cathedral emanating a charming ambiance on the occasion of Christmas Eve.

Day Tour Windsor Stonehenge Salisbury

Salisbury Cathedral dates back to the 13th century. It took 38 years (1220-1258) to build the cathedral. The cathedral features gothic arches, pointed lancet windows and the spire which is the tallest church spire in the UK. Visitors can tour the cathedral tower which includes climbing to top which can be accessed through 332 steps of a narrow spiral stairway. The climb offers an impressive view of the cathedral interior and a spectacular view of the Salisbury and the surrounding countryside.

Day Tour Windsor Stonehenge Salisbury
Salisbury is a medieval town with historic streets and charming half-timbered buildings. We spend some time exploring the town which was adorned with dazzling Christmas lights. We did some shopping and even had our dinner at one of the restaurants.

Salisbury Museum

A visit to the Salisbury Museum is recommended if you are interested to learn more about the Stonehenge and prehistoric era. The exhibition at the Stonehenge is actually a part of the Salisbury Museum and the items are in fact been loaned by the Salisbury Museum to the Exhibition at Stonehenge.

The Salisbury Museum is located opposite the Salisbury Cathedral. The collection comprises of archaeological findings from Old Sarum, Stonehenge and the surrounding landscape, artifacts on the history of Salisbury, a ceramics and glass collection and the Costumes and Textiles Gallery which holds a collection which dates back to the 1750s. You can browse through the collection and check for the open times and ticket prices here.

Old Sarum

About 15 minutes drive from the Stonehenge and about 10 minutes drive from the Salisbury Cathedral is the Old Sarum which is the earliest settlement of the city of Salisbury and the original site of Salisbury Cathedral. It is possible to visit the fortress which holds the ruins of the royal palace, great tower, hall and the remains of the cathedral. A walk along the ramparts offers remarkable views of Wiltshire and the surrounding countryside.

Wiltshire Museum

The Wiltshire Museum located in Devizes is also worth a visit if you are an art and archaeology buff and are interested to learn more about the Stonehenge and prehistoric era. The collection at the Wiltshire Museum consists of treasures owned by the prehistoric people from the Stonehenge and artifacts on the history of Wiltshire.

Learn more about the collection, open times and ticket prices here.

Also Read: 15+ Amazing Day Trips from London – History, Architecture, and Nature!

Windsor Castle

The Windsor Castle home to British sovereign for over 1000 years is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world. The castle was founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. Unfortunately, the castle was closed during our visit for the Queen was visiting for Christmas 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.

Day Tour Windsor Stonehenge Salisbury

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.

Day Tour Windsor Stonehenge Salisbury

Around the corner of the street is The Henry VIII gateway in the Lower Ward.

Day Tour Windsor Stonehenge Salisbury

We continued on the street towards the Windsor Great Park taking pictures on the way.

St John the Baptist, Windsor

Day Tour Windsor Stonehenge Salisbury

Irish Guardsman Statue – A statue dedicated to Irish Guardsmen.

Day Tour Windsor Stonehenge Salisbury

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.

Day Tour Windsor Stonehenge Salisbury

Visitors need to buy an entrance ticket to explore Windsor Castle. The visit includes a visit to the State Apartments furnished with finest works of art and used by the Royal family for formal events. St George’s Chapel is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture, 10 monarchs including Henry VIII and Charles I are buried in the chapel. Visitors can also explore the Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, Semi-State Rooms open to visitors in the winter months, the Great Kitchen, climb the Tower for breathtaking views and of course, the popular guard changing ceremony. Check schedules here.

The Queen does occasionally make a visit to the castle during which the castle visit may be restricted. Visit the official website here before you plan your visit. Windsor is well connected from London by rail with a good frequency and Heathrow Airport is about a 15 min ride.

London to Stonehenge Day Trip Map with Stops

Suggested Tours for Visiting Stonehenge


Further Reads

9 Fascinating Things To Do In Birmingham With Insider Tips!

12 Awesome Things to do in London for the First-Timers

Top Things to do in Bristol – Banksy, Brunel, and the Bridge!

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38 thoughts on “London to Stonehenge Day Trip with a Stop at Windsor Castle and Salisbury Cathedral

  • October 7, 2016 at 12:05 pm
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    What a nice day tour! I didn’t know there were so many other things to do in the area, so this is a nice surprise! I’d love to go do this for myself one day.

    Reply
    • mm
      October 13, 2016 at 9:47 am
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      If you plan to book a day tour you mostly get it combined with visits to more places 🙂

      Reply
  • October 7, 2016 at 6:18 pm
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    Your second photo of Windsor kind of reminded me of the Tower of London – did you get that impression at all when you were there? Really interesting that you got to see the oldest working clock in the Salisbury Cathedral. I’ve never been to any of those places but would love to based on your photos and the rich history there. Did you have a favorite out of the three?

    Reply
    • mm
      October 13, 2016 at 9:49 am
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      Unfortunately, we could not get into Windsor. But Stonehenge is very impressive and intriguing with the stones and the barrows all around the surrounding green scape.

      Reply
  • October 7, 2016 at 11:15 pm
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    Castles are my favorite! I would absolutely visit every single castle in Europe if I could! (But there are so many of them lol). Stonehenge I’ve dreamed of visiting since childhood! I didn’t know about the Neolithic village, though. That’s definitely really neat. 🙂

    Reply
    • mm
      October 13, 2016 at 9:49 am
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      True Jillian Stonehenge itself has so many things to see and experience

      Reply
  • October 8, 2016 at 2:38 am
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    We actually skipped Stonehenge when we visited England. I didn’t realize there were so many other things you could do on the way there and back. I kind of want to visit now that I’ve read your post!

    Reply
    • mm
      October 13, 2016 at 9:50 am
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      Do plan a visit next time and share your experience with us 🙂

      Reply
  • October 8, 2016 at 3:16 am
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    What else to say? These places are absolutely awesome and I would love to visit them too. I am jealous right now and hope that I could just fly and travel AsAp.

    Reply
  • October 8, 2016 at 3:20 am
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    I have family in the UK so have visited often. Unfortunately much of the time is spent catching up rather than sight seeing lol. I would love to make it to Stonehenge one day.

    Reply
    • mm
      October 13, 2016 at 9:51 am
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      Thats awesome! UK has lot more to explore than we actually know 🙂

      Reply
  • October 8, 2016 at 6:30 am
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    When travelling I tend to shy away from famous monuments. But I think Stonehenge is a place I need to visit. I heard that the stones were put there by the ancient druids as kind of history books before paper was invented. Is that true?

    Reply
    • mm
      October 13, 2016 at 9:53 am
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      Not sure about the druids but yes of all what we have understood its definitely something to do with the religious customs as the landscape in and around Stonehenge is considered scared for rituals ages ago.

      Reply
  • October 8, 2016 at 6:42 am
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    If this is a tour that can be done in a day, I am totally up for it! What took me aback was also the Royal Park, the size of it is amazing and it looks immense from just the picture of the straight long walk way. I also like that there were replica houses of people who lived there before. It is interesting to contrast that against the enormous stone castles found in Windsor

    Reply
    • mm
      October 13, 2016 at 9:55 am
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      True 🙂

      Reply
  • October 13, 2016 at 9:54 am
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    I am thinking this is a perfect tour to do with children, I know mine would love each and every stage of it, so I would definitely consider this for family travel. Easier than with public transportation makes it a perfect choice for families with children. I love the pictures of the castle and that green “Long Walk” really looks beautiful. I will definitely add this day-trip to my wishlist of citybreaks for England!

    Reply
  • October 13, 2016 at 3:10 pm
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    The “long walk” is almost frightening from that picture!
    Anyway, I would have never thought to find a Christmas tree inside a church! I see it’s Anglican, so they are a bit different from the usual Christians, but still, a tree like that was totally unexpected! 😀

    Reply
  • October 14, 2016 at 6:05 am
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    I, like some of the previous commenters, was under the mistake assumption that Stonehenge was in somewhat of an isolated place with little else around of interest. Good to know that there are plenty of other exhibitions and attractions that would make the journey worthwhile. Although, as a bit of a history buff, it is kind of embarrassing that I haven’t yet been there! Nice write-up and some superb pictures

    Reply
  • October 14, 2016 at 12:58 pm
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    We have been to Stonehenge, but we couldn’t justify the price to get up close and personal when we could see it from the road. We didn’t realise there was more to see than just the stones, so we did a drive by ‘shooting’ of this beautiful landmark. If we had done our research, maybe we would have gone in. Windsor Castle is on our UK bucket list, and your post has confirmed that we need to get there before we set off from the UK.

    Reply
    • mm
      October 16, 2016 at 12:57 pm
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      Unfortunately, Windsor was closed for the visit during our trip. We know we missed amazing things there. Do share your experience when you visit, we would love to read 🙂

      Reply
  • October 15, 2016 at 2:10 am
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    I’ve been to Stonehenge via a tour. It is a nice relaxing spot and quite intriguing. It’s good you explored outside the city as many people only go the London and that’s about it. There are plenty of other places to explore obviously. Good write up.

    Reply
    • mm
      October 16, 2016 at 12:59 pm
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      Yes we were lucky enough on that, we are glad we booked a tour that covered other places around the stones else if on own it wouldn’t have been possible.

      Reply
  • October 16, 2016 at 12:03 pm
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    I hope stone henge happens in my life soon. Just the pics and the history excites me. Looks like there are other ample things to do around too.

    Reply
    • mm
      October 16, 2016 at 12:59 pm
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      Agree the history is definitely fascinating and you should make a visit soon 🙂

      Reply
  • October 17, 2016 at 5:29 pm
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    What a beautiful place to visit! As a kid, I used to learn a lot about Stonehenge during my English lessons. I have never yet really felt the need to see this place on my own. The history is really fascinating and hard to imagine how people built this place years ago.
    Glad to read you had a fantastic time in England! 🙂

    Reply
  • October 18, 2016 at 1:24 am
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    One day packed with tour highlights, I must say. I am so envious of your photos and I hope one day I would go there as well. Windsor Castle looks amazing and I am very curious how the royal apartments look like. I am not sure if I have skipped reading it, but may I know how much a day trip to these three places cost you? Just wanna know for future reference. 🙂

    Reply
  • October 18, 2016 at 6:08 am
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    Your snaps are lovely. And I couldn’t help but fall more, deeper, and deeper in love with the mountains. The pictures entice my craving for historical and cultural experience. Hoping to visit the place one of these days. 🙂

    Reply
  • October 18, 2016 at 7:50 am
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    Windsor castle looks really elegant. Do you know that the Bangalore Palace is modeled along the lines of the Windsor Palace? Stonehenge is another enigmatic place that I would love to visit someday. The place has a mysterious aura about it.

    Reply
    • mm
      October 18, 2016 at 11:44 am
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      Oh is it! We really didnt about the Bangalore Palace been inspired by the Windsor Palace. Yes, Stonehenge is mysterious indeed 🙂

      Reply
  • October 18, 2016 at 12:53 pm
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    Wow! Stonehenge is not just a landmark, good to know that they also put up a sample figures of a Neolithic Village for the visitors. Now I wonder how that 5500-year old man looks like. I hope soon to have a day visiting these places too. Windsor castle is also a place I’m dreaming of visiting to. Thanks for this post!

    Reply
  • October 18, 2016 at 4:08 pm
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    The day tour seems worth it! I haven’t been to any of those places, so I’m definitely looking forward to it. I can’t wait to see the Windsor Castle and the Stonehenge – looks so dreamy,

    Reply
  • October 18, 2016 at 5:06 pm
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    Great to see some thng on the Stonehenge! It is not merely about the place but the sheer prehistoric mystery that is attached with these structures that intrigues me. I think I just have a fascination for lost civilizatons like Indus Valley on this side.

    Reply
  • October 18, 2016 at 9:11 pm
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    What an exciting day to say the least! I’ve made a goal to see all 7 wonders of the world by 30 so this is obviously on the list. I’d love to see Windsor while i was in the vicinity too!

    Reply
  • October 18, 2016 at 10:01 pm
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    I may be alone in this thought, but my favorite picture was of “The Long Walk”. It’s just so lush and vast-I love it! This sounds like a very long day! I haven’t been, but have often read that Stonehenge leaves a lot to be desired. Did you feel that way? I’ve also never had much of a grasp on how massive those stones are-very interesting!

    Reply
  • October 19, 2016 at 2:48 pm
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    Nice post! Thanks for sharing your story and tips! 😉 I really wanted to visit Stonehedge some time ago and never went. Your route seems really worthy for visiting multiple places in a short time! I will keep your post bookmarked until I find some days to fly to UK. I loved the pics too 😀

    Reply
  • October 19, 2016 at 4:48 pm
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    Wow I had no idea that the Windsor castle is the oldest in the world! I’ve always had it in mind to visit if I am close by as it looks absolutely stunning! Stonehenge is another attraction that is on everyone’s list going to England and I can see why. It is one of these magic places in the world that you want to see with your own eyes. The cathedral looks amazing on both outside and inside. I love Gothic architecture and especially love the spacious cathedrals with tall arc that create a pattern when you look up.

    Reply
  • October 20, 2016 at 10:33 pm
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    When I started watching history channel about ancient aliens I had fascination with Mayans, stonehedge and Egypt. These are the few spots I wanna see over the next 3 years of me traveling. I also wanna see castle coz there are NO castles here in the Philippines so ticking off France on my list will be lovely

    Reply
  • October 21, 2016 at 11:12 pm
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    This is actually pretty cool. I studied Stonehenge last year in school so it was nice to reflect and see how you interpreted your way around the site. Specifically, the visitor centre did you find that site was a nice medium to Stonehenge itself because it’s periods of times of constructions stark to conflicting generations?

    Reply

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