Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Stonehenge. I've Waited My Whole Life For This

Travel, solo travel, Stonehenge, Karfelt
Stonehenge/The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

On a briskly cold morning a month before the winter solstice I finally made it to Stonehenge. 

It's a place I've wanted to see since I first read about it as a kid. Neolithic sites fascinate me. In the USA I love Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos New Mexico. But when I headed to England for completely unrelated reasons, I put my mind to finally getting to Stonehenge.

Since I was in London alone I decided I'd take a tour from there. Stonehenge is a bit of a drive. I have my International Driving Permit, but didn't want to tackle the journey solo. After some research and checking reviews on Trip Advisor, I decided to go with the top rated and small tour, The English Bus. They picked me up near Waterloo Station right in London's Zone One, at the entrance to The London Eye, on Belvedere Drive

Since I was making my life as easy as possible and didn't want the long tube ride in from Watford where I was, I stayed at the Premier Inn London County Hall the day before and the day after the tour. It's in a good location and offers fair prices. I'd classify it as a business hotel with the basics taken care of. It's also right on Belvedere Drive next to the London Eye.

The English Bus is a small comfortable van with about sixteen people taking the tour. 

The driver was knowledgeable and fun. He made the trip out of London traffic and down to Stonehenge seem quick. We made a rest stop or two, and even stopped for a peek at the nearby wood-henge.

There are restroom facilities by the parking lot at Stonehenge. The guide took care of getting our entrance tickets and headphones for the audio-tour. There's a bus from the parking lot to the site. It's not far, but a bit of a walk on a very cold day. 

Stonehenge is on a plain with long green grass bent low from the wind. I worried it'd be like the Alamo with a city built right up to it, but it isn't. 

My first glimpse!

There's a road on the other side in the distance, and there are plenty of tourists, but it's easy to get photographs of the site without people in them and the entire place has a feel of emptiness to it. There are ditches and barrows surrounding the stones, and it's mostly on a rise in front of you as you circle it. 

Author S.R. Karfelt, U.K., English tourism, stonehenge
Stonehenge/S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe

travel blog, stonehenge, karfelt
Stonehenge/S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe

You can't go into the stone circle or touch the stones except on the summer and winter solstices.

There are plenty of tourists, but the path going the closest to the stones is only on one side. On the far side of the stones you can't see anything but Stonehenge. 

Notice the ditch?

How close can you get to the stones? Pretty close. 

S.R. Karfelt, the glitter globe, srkarfelt.com, stonehenge, travel
Stonehenge/S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe

stonehenge, bath, the secret place, karfelt, travel
Stonehenge/S.R. Karfelt/The Glitter Globe

YAS! At last baby!
There are other henges in England. Some you can go inside all the time. Stonehenge is the most famous, but other ones I saw were spectacular too. I'd like to visit them all someday. There's a nice gift shop at Stonehenge that you can stop in on your way out. I try not to pick up many souvenirs, but I always get postcards. They're professional photographs and are always superior to mine. This time I also picked up a couple bead bracelets made from the same stones as Stonehenge. It's a nice reminder of dragging myself to see this marvelous site despite my cough and ear infection. No regrets. 

You don't have to wait to visit Stonehenge to pick up souvenirs. The English Heritage website is on-line. Delivery is quick. I know that because I ordered a couple things from it that I didn't want to have to haul around in my luggage the entire trip, like jams for my English trifle at Christmas

Now that I've gone, I really want to go back! 

After Stonehenge The English Bus took us to Bath and a "secret place" (it's part of their amazing tour) but it's a genuine secret and I've sworn to keep that part of the trip secret. I hope you can go someday and find out for yourself.

You'd keep the epic secret too wouldn't you?

Is Stonehenge on your travel wishlist too? Or have you already gone? If you did, do you want to go back as badly as I do?


  1. Stonehenge was my favorite. I want to do the breakfast tour, where you can actually go into the circle. Our tour was rushed. We only got an hour there. I wanted a week. Bucket list. There was definitely a sense of mystery and I had a primal connection to it. My ancestors hail from the region so maybe that was all it was, but I had a visceral experience.

    1. LaD— This is the first I've heard of the breakfast tour! That sounds absolutely amazing. I'm with you, I'd like a week, maybe to go from henge to henge. You drive. ;)

  2. What a wonderful article, and we are so pleased to hear you had an amazing time on your tour with us!! Thanks for choosing The English Bus, and when you do fancy another trip back to Stonehenge, don't forget us - the changing seasons and light will make for a different experience. Thanks again, and enjoy your travels. Jen & Chris @ The English Bus

    1. You don't know how tempting that is. I did subscribe to your newsletter so I can dream. :)

  3. We saw Stonehenge last through the English bus. Best tour ever!

    1. It was the best tour I've ever been on. There are several other excursions that they offer that I'm interested in too!