Day Tripping to Stonehenge, United Kingdom
One of the British tourist attractions that was very high up on my son’s visit list was the ruins of Stonehenge. Stonehenge is a pre-historic monument consisting of a ring of stones that is orientated towards the summer solstice. It’s a British cultural icon of which my son was super keen and interested to visit. Read on to see how we navigated through to Stonehenge and planned our day.
This post is one chapter on our trip to Portugal, the United Kingdom (England and Norther Ireland) and Ireland. This trip was redeemed through American Airlines Advantage and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read more from this trip:
- Introduction: Portugal, the United Kingdom, Ireland via TAP Portugal and British Airways Business Class.
- A Positioning Flight: Air Canada Vancouver – Toronto
- TAP Portugal Business Class: Toronto – Lisbon
- Sheraton Lisboa Hotel and Spa, Lisbon, Portugal
- The First Steps in the Hilly Capital City of Lisbon, Portugal
- Exploring the Turrets of Castelo del São Jorge, Lisbon, Portugal
- The Seaside Town of Belem and the Jerónimos Monastery, Portugal
- The Lisbon Cathedral and Iberico Ham at Time Out Market, Lisbon, Portugal
- TAP Portugal Premium Business Lounge, Lisbon, Portugal
- TAP Portugal Business Class: Lisbon – London Heathrow
- Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge: London Heathrow Terminal Two
- The Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington, United Kingdom
- Walking Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street, London, United Kingdom
- Churchill’s War Rooms & Westminster Abbey, London, United Kingdom
- Touring the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, London, United Kingdom
- Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
- De-Cyphering the Rosetta Stone and Camden Locks, London United Kingdom
- Day Tripping to Stonehenge, Salisbury, United Kingdom
- The Moxy London Heathrow Airport, United Kingdom
- The Plaza Premium Lounge, London Heathrow Terminal Two
- Aer Lingus: London Heathrow – Dublin
- Aloft Dublin City, Dublin, Ireland
- Discovering Temple Bar District, Dublin, Ireland
- Calling on the Guiness Storehouse and Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
- The Shertaon Athlone Hotel, Athlone, Ireland
- Drinking at Ireland’s Oldest Bar, Athlone, Ireland
- Hiking Along the Cliff’s of Moher, Ireland
- Crystal Springs Bed and Breakfast, Killarney, Ireland
- Circling The Skelling Islands and Driving the Ring of Kerry, Ireland
- Kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, Cork, Ireland
- AC Hotel by Marriott, Belfast, Northern Ireland
- Experiencing the Tragedy of the Titanic at the Titanic Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland
- In the Shadows at the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
- Terminal One T1 Lounge, Dublin Airport, Ireland
- British Airways Club Europe: Dublin – London Heathrow
- Cathay Pacific Business Lounge, London Heathrow
- No1 Lounge, London Heathrow
- British Airways Club World Business Class: London – Vancouver
Activity Attraction Visit: Day Tripping to Stonehenge, Salisbury, United Kingdom.
Today’s adventures led us to Stonehenge, along with dinner at a friend’s house in Henley on Thames. Given that we were on a bit of a tighter schedule fitting in both attractions and social commitments, we ended up deciding to hire a car for the day instead of taking the train. There are lots of “train for the day” and other public transit options involving buses or trains and cars. I might consider the train option the next time to allow for a variety of returns. However, today’s visit along with a social engagement in outer London meant that a car was the best option for us.
We were up at the Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington at 6 AM for a shower. It was check out day after our five day stay taking in all the sights of London.
We were out the door of the hotel with our luggage at 7:15 AM for Underground tube to Heathrow. We arrived to Heathrow at about 8:20 AM.
We were picking up a twenty four hour Hertz Rental to self drive ourselves to Stonehenge, followed by our social event, finally ending the day at the Moxy London Heathrow Airport. I didn’t know whether there was any advantage to any particular terminal at Heathrow for getting over to Hertz, so we just elected to start from the familiar Heathrow Terminal Two where we had landed 6 days earlier on our TAP Portugal Business Class Lisbon – London Heathrow. The Hertz depot is off site from the terminals, so we’d be taking a bus to the car rental facility no matter which terminal we went to.
After arriving to London Heathrow, we hopped the shuttle bus over to Hertz’s lot on the North end of the field. We located our car and a Honda Civic, as booked per our car category, was waiting for us in stall 16. I was parked next to a nice Mercedes C200 but we weren’t assigned any terrific or free Ultimate Choice upgrades were available, even for a Hertz 5 Star today.
Driving to Stonehenge:
After a courtesy check out the car, we were out on the M3 Motorway towards Stonehenge.
We had quite a bit of weekend traffic as we got towards Stonehenge but we arrived after about one hour and thirty five minutes.
We eventually got to the lot, which had free parking. WT73Jr had a good time picking out the various European Licence plates from the various countries throughout Europe in the parking lot as we walked towards admissions.
Once at admissions, we were encouraged to download the Stonehenge App to listen to the “offline” audio tour. It was a great way instead of handing out the usual headphones audio tours.
First off was the museum that featured a bit of history on the site. It had the usual historical references, along with the multi media displays.
Immediately outside the museum was a theoretical display of how the stones made it to Stonehenge. WT73JR attempted to pull the cart with limited results (laughing).
Walking to the Stones:
The Stonehenge facility itself is located a short 30 – 45 minute walk away down a private road from the reception and museum centre. Although there were shuttle busses available, being a beautiful day, we ended up walking.
Eventually, we got onto the site, slowly appearing on the horizon. The site is set up where you can walk around the entire stones. It is super impressive site and neat to visit and wonder. Thanks to over a million visitors a year, they don’t allow direct access to the stones anymore.
As we continued around the site, we took in the free audio tour via the Stonehenge App that provided information. It was a smart, modern way to educate visitors instead of the old fashioned way of providing headphones that are later to be collected and cleaned for the next visitor.
We also came across the signage and alignment of the stones as it led towards the winter solstice.
Walking Back through the Fields:
Instead of taking the usual road back (or the shuttle bus), we opted for the walk through the fields through the remnants of what would have likely been the settlements around Stonehenge. It was a pleasant walk through Englands’ rolling hills; a far contrast to the usual Pacific Northwest Mountains of Vancouver.
All in, we spent about 3 hours at the site. The Stonehenge site is well worth a visit, and despite it being a popular tourist attraction, it did not feel overly touristy.
A Short Visit to Henley on Thames:
From there, we went onto Henley on Thames via the back roads. WT73Jr was interested and curious that the roads were not based on any logical grid like back home as the paths twisted and turned around farms and lanes that have likely existed for centuries.
We had a lovely Salmon, green beans and roasted potatoes, along with a peach mascarpone desert with our friends who accommodated us and our busy travel schedules.
After a wonderful evening of socializing, it was back down to Heathrow via the M4. I filled up the car at Shell; with 120 miles on the odometer at 1.39 £ a litre (1.85 USD) or 24.01 £ (31.65 USD) before we arrived and checked into the Moxy London Heathrow Airport hotel.
My Thoughts on Our Day Trip to Stonehenge:
The Stonehenge day visit was well worth our time. Although I would probably include Stonehenge as part of a larger tour around London the next time around, my son was keen to get onto greater opportunities and the main focus for the trip for him: the Republic of Ireland.