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.