When searching through various travel and tourism lists, Stonehenge almost always pops up somewhere along the line. Stonehenge is over 5,000 years old and still serves as a mystery and special place for many. It is an unofficial world wonder for many, but also a UNESCO world heritage site. It’s an incredibly popular tourist attraction overall. Festivals and scientific studies still occur here frequently.
Planning our first trip to London, England, we added this mythical site to our list of places we wanted to visit. Interestingly, many of our friends discouraged us in our choice. “Don’t go to Stonehenge. It is boring and a waste of time,” they said. After talking about it, we both agreed that we really wanted to trek out into the English countryside to visit this spot regardless of their interjections.
Departing For Stonehenge
A quick search led us to an ideal half day tour. We took the Tube from our hotel to Victoria Coach Station in London. The early morning hour meant the time in transit was little less crowded. However, finding the station and getting to the correct spot was time consuming as the coach station was jam-packed with people! We made our way to our departing tour bus just in time to get in line to start loading. If you’re planning a trip, make sure to allow yourself plenty of time to navigate the area and station. We also downloaded our vouchers on to our phones, making it one less piece of paper to keep track of. A quick scan and we were off on our adventure!
The drive out to Stonehenge is a bit long, but it gives passengers the opportunity to see parts of London and the country. We found our ride to be the perfect opportunity to take a quick early morning nap. Before long, the driver informed everyone we were approaching Stonehenge. We were given a quick run down of the surrounding sites and departure times before being set loose.
Navigating The Crowds
I was anticipating mass crowds and minimal viewing opportunities. Because we visited on a chilly day in early April, it was quite opposite. This is one of many benefits of traveling in the off-season. We easily hopped on the first trolley and were transported closer to the area in mere minutes. Along the way, information about Stonehenge and the surrounding burial mounds played on the speakers. Upon approach, seeing this legendary historic site is thrilling! The minimal crowds allowed for plenty of viewing opportunities. It was nice to have ample time to take in Stonehenge instead of getting quickly pushed along or lost in the crowds.
Sustainable Tourism Surprises
After our time spent at the circle of stones, we walked back to check out the other spots in the area. Our tour offered plenty of time for lunch in the onsite cafeteria as well. I was pleasantly surprised to see their efforts to lessen their negative environmental impacts. Instead of plastic cutlery, the offered only wooden forks, spoons and knives. Other recycling efforts are in place too, which is very refreshing. If more places that are host to mass tourism followed this lead, we would off to a great start in reducing single-use plastics in travel.
Returning to London
Our time at Stonehenge came to an end and we piled back on the bus to return to London. Driving off, I couldn’t help but notice all the sheep in the fields surrounding this place. Seeing them grazing made me smile. It reminded me of how such monumental stuff can be surrounded by the more simple things in life. It’s all a matter of perspective. When related to travel, so much of it is what you appreciate and what you take away from your experiences. I’m glad we didn’t listen to our friends who told us not to go. Our time at Stonehenge was filled with observations both big and small.Such monumental stuff can be surrounded by the more simple things in life. It's all a matter of perspective. Click To Tweet
The half day tour was the perfect length. Being able to work this into our itinerary was a great way to branch out and explore a little more during our trip. The timing was just right. We returned to London just in time to walk down the street and see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. This is where we also realized at this time that we lost a camera at Stonehenge! Travel isn’t always perfect, but it is what you make of it. This day still was a perfect way to experience this monumental place.
Stonehenge is such a historic site how can you go to England without going to see It? So much history there and I can envision the sheep grazing. It’s the simple things that make all the difference.
Agreed! Personally, I like the historic sites. We don’t have that sort of stuff where we live, so if we’re going to fly half way around the world, why not check it out!?!
Exactly how I am. We don’t have a lot of historic sites here in Canada either, but Europe is full of them and they fascinate me.
Sounds like you had a good trip! as you say pays to visit these major places out of season. Me and Phil went a few years ago in the summer and it was pretty busy. I remember thinking it’s incredible it’s 5,000 years old, shame you can’t get up close though.
Well… you can buy the super expensive inner circle tickets. But, we felt that money could go towards something else! Off-season travel is one of our favorite things… it makes such a difference!
I saw you said April is off season. What is high tourist season in London?
High season usually starts in May and goes through summer from what I’m told. We were back in London last month and it was a zoo!
Good thing you went and didn’t allow the opinions of others to dissuade this worthwhile visit! I bet the sheep gazing nearby was quite a sight, and I totally agree with you regarding so much of travel is what you take away from your experience. 🙂
I think that’s one of the best things about travel – you learn so much and in so many different forms!
I love to visit historic sites when i am traveling. Stonehenge would be right up my alley of things I’d like to do when I travel to England.
Me too! If you ever find yourself in the area, Stonehenge is worth a visit.
I remember stonehange, It was such a great trip, and you have here all the information that anyone needs. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you also enjoyed your time at Stonehenge!
I wish I had gone to see Stonehenge when I was in London. It looks fascinating. It’s a shame you lost your camera there.
Yes, we were really bummed about the camera too! Thankfully it was early on in our trip (and we had another camera) so we didn’t lose all our photos!
Stonehenge has been on my bucket list for such a long time; I’m so glad that you recommend it so highly. Sometimes when traveling you have to just trust your instincts and do what you feel you want to do even when people are telling you otherwise.
I’m really glad we made the half day trip! Sometimes it really isn’t worth it to listen to others!
What a great day trip from London! I’m absolutely mesmerized by Stonehenge, but have only been able to see replicas and parodies of this amazing site, and not the original.
Does that mean you have been to Carhenge?!
You are so right that this site is more crowded in high season, so a definite advantage to going in April! I love driving past when travelling by Road from London to the west country. It’s such an iconic sight!
Glad you got to see Stonehenge. There are so many incredible things to do and see in the UK aside from London. #FeetDoTravel
Yes, I agree. London is great, but there is much more to the UK!
I have always wondered where Stonehenge was in relation to the main tourist attractions. If you only had a few days to tour London, would you still recommend the half day tour?
Absolutely! We were only in London for 3 days total and we still trekked out to Stonehenge!
Looks like you had a great half a day. I love historic sites , but unfortunately I have not been to Stonehenge, we have driven past it but not stopped. I loved the part of recycling mentioned in your post. We all have to play part in sustainable travelling.
Looks great! Id love to visit here someday. I think its always great to experience personally than take the word of someone else. And its definately a great idea to come during the off season 🙂
Stonehenge is right on my doorstep and I’ve never yet managed to visit it. I will get there one day but it almost feels too close to home. I agree with going off season,I’ve driven past it a couple of times at peak season, and the roads are just chaos.
I know what you mean about places that are too close to home!
Stonehenge has also always been on my must see sights. Clearly off season is the best time to visit, as is using public transport to get there. Great advise – Thank you
Glad you found the info here helpful. Hope you make it to Stonehenge some day!
I was so surprised when I went there – I hadn’t realized it was so close to the main road. I’ve watched so many documentaries about this historical site – and each time I learn a little bit more about it. It’s such a fascinating story.
We have watched several documentaries too. I really got a kick out of all the sheep grazing around the site. Like… it was no big deal to them!
This is a truly interesting post about an iconic landmark! I learned so many things I didn’t know already! I especially love the sustainable tourism surprises. Thanks so much for your insight and for sharing your experience and advice.
Glad to hear you enjoyed the post and learned some new things! Thanks for commenting!
Wow. You seem to be really lucky there. The site was really devoid of crowd when you visited! Looks like the early morning start and navigating through the London crowd finally paid off! This is a really iconic landmark and high on our bucket list too
As much as we dislike getting up so early when we travel, the early mornings really do make a difference with the crowds. Off-season is also a great way to avoid throngs of people!
Such a great post. I loved learning more about Stonehenge. Would you recommend a longer amount of time or do you feel that half of a day is sufficient?
I felt half a day was sufficient. However, if you want to expand to other nearby spots a longer tour that offers them would be great!
That is the right word. We also felt that the whole experience was monumental when we visited…also for half a day/
Nice! Did you feel half day was sufficient or were there things you felt you missed out on?
I don’t have a real bucket list – but if I had one, Stonehenge would be on it. I love mysterious places! Also, I don’t even know why I never made it there since it’s really not so far from London. Somehow, it seems out of this world – also geographically 😉
It’s very ironic, isn’t it? Something so out of reach is just right down the road…
I remember Stonehenge as the Windows desktop wallpaper from childhood. 🙂 It’s nice to read a Stonehenge trip account. The problem with popular places is that they get too crowded – glad you could visit during a quieter time of the year.
That is hilarious that you remember it as a desktop wallpaper! Now that you say that, I think I remember that too! I’m glad we went in real life, and that it wasn’t too crowded.