Monday, August 15, 2005

London, Day 3: Salisbury and Stonehenge 

Rather than doing it on our own, we opted to take a London Walks tour of Stonehenge that also happened to include the town of Salisbury and its magnificent cathedral. I have a hard time signing up for organized tours for the same reason I can't buy handicrafts made by somebody else: I know I'm capable of doing it myself--probably for less money--and I also know that doing it myself is half the fun. I'm really glad that I made an exception and signed up for this tour though!

The tour cost us 99 pounds in transportation for the 4 of us and 22 pounds for the tour itself for me and Fred (kids under 15 are free for the tours). When I had priced it out to do the same journey independently, I was quoted 77 pounds in trainfare to Salisbury and then we would have had to worry about making the bus connection out to Stonehenge. Going through London Walks made things so much easier for very little extra money!

While we certainly could have gotten ourselves out to Stonehenge and back, we wouldn't have gotten as much out of the trip without our excellent guide Richard. He was always informative and frequently entertaining and helped us to really understand what we were seeing.

Here are some of my favorite photos from Salisbury. This tour group in the middle of the river was one of the first things we saw as we walked from the train station to the cathedral:

The cathedral itself is just amazing:

Here are some workers who were dangling on the side of the cathedral. To the naked eye, they looked like little colorful ants crawling around up there:

We didn't have long for lunch before we needed to get on the bus for Stonehenge. We stopped for a bite at a little cafe almost directly across from the cathedral. I can't remember the name of the place, but I had the scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. I'm glad I did, too, as those were the only scones that crossed my path on the whole trip!

The bus ride out to Stonehenge was quite enjoyable. Richard kept us all entertained by pointing out homes of famous people and showing us lovely thatched-roof cottages. Annabelle amused herself on the bus by reading the fourth Harry Potter book (she started the series shortly before Fred came home and is now starting the fifth volume). The lady in the row behind her said that she had taken the London Walks tour of "Little Venice" and had gotten to see J.K. Rowling's house. That got us wondering about a potential future tour. Hmmm . . .

Stonehenge itself wasn't half the zoo I had expected, but it doesn't take long to look around and say, "Wow, rocks!" Here are Ears, Cheeser, and Pellet in front of the famous standing stones:

And here's the whole gang:

Mike wanted his picture taken with his new Nintendo DS in front of Stonehenge. I think he's planning on sending it to Nintendo in the hopes that maybe they will send him something like a free t-shirt:

We got back to Waterloo Station at about 6:00 that night and immediately got on the Tube and headed east toward the Tower Bridge for a couple pictures:

Then we found a pub that had a patio where we could sit with the kids for dinner (more fish and chips--yum!). After supper, we walked across the bridge, past the Tower of London, and up to St. Paul's, where we got back on the Tube and went back to the hotel.

Tune in again soon to find out if we ever made it to J.K. Rowling's house . . .

WHat agreat post. I have done that exact same London Walks tour to Salisbury, and it's a great deal.
I love the picture of the stuffed bunnies at STonehenge. Hilarious!
Here's hoping you make it back to the US intact.
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