Stonehenge & Bath with Golden Tours
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NOTE: I was NOT sponsored by Golden Tours for this post. The tour was purchased with my own money, and all opinions are my own. Thanks for reading!
For as long as I could remember, seeing Stonehenge was one of the top things on my bucket list. When I booked my trip to London last year, I knew I finally had my chance!
Originally, my friend and I did not plan on doing a guided tour. We thought that we could make our way there on our own, either by renting a car or public transportation, in order to have our own say in how we spent our time and to save money. We didn’t make any definite plans before our trip, deciding to figure out our best option once we were in London.
After a few days of exploring London, we decided it was time to get out of the city; however, we didn’t really have the energy to organize our own excursion to Stonehenge. After seeing that our hostel assisted with booking day tours to Stonehenge, Bath, and other popular destinations, we decided that would be the best way to go, even if it meant spending a little extra money. The tours booked at our hostel were through a company called Golden Tours. We were able to choose from a variety of combination tours that included Stonehenge. The company also offered excursions to other hotspots in the United Kingdom, such as the Warner Bros. Studio Tour and to Liverpool.
After reviewing our options, we opted for a full-day tour of Stonehenge and Bath including entry to the Roman Baths and lunch. This tour was scheduled to last about 10.5 hours, and was around £80. There was a cheaper tour that did not include entry to the Roman Baths, but why would you want to go to Bath and not see the most important attraction in the city? We also considered a tour that included a visit to Windsor Castle, but the additional stop would cut into our time spent at Stonehenge and in Bath.
Our tour was set to depart at 8:30am from the Golden Tours Kensington Office (156 Cromwell Rd. Kensington, London SW7 4EF). Once we arrived, we checked in, and boarded our coach: a 16 passenger van. The van was full, so it was a little snug, but not uncomfortably so. Once we had all boarded the van, we set off for a nearly 2-hour drive to our first stop: Stonehenge.
We pulled up to Stonehenge visitor center, where we had time for bathroom breaks before we boarded the shuttle that took us to the stone circle. Seeing Stonehenge in person was surreal. I had previously read reviews from people saying that Stonehenge was a disappointment, and that the stones were much smaller in person than they had imagined. I completely disagree: Stonehenge was not in any way a disappointment to me. It was amazing to see such a historic monument with so much history surrounding it. Maybe the stones were a little smaller than I expected, but I don’t consider that grounds for disappointment in any way.
We had about an hour and a half of exploring Stonehenge and the museum at the visitor center before we had to return to our coach to make our way to Bath. My friend and I spend the majority of this time looking at the stones in awe, and unfortunately missed the museum. If I ever return to Stonehenge (which I definitely hope to!), I’ll make sure to check out the museum to learn more about the history of the monument.
When our time was up, we made our way back to our van where our lunch was waiting. In order to have more time for sightseeing, we were served sack lunches from Subway on the road to Bath. These lunches included a 6-inch cheese & lettuce sandwich, chips, a cookie, and a bottle of water. I was hungry, and unfortunately, this lunch did not hit the spot. Luckily, we would have time in Bath to try out a world-famous Cornish pasty.
Upon arrival in Bath, we went on a quick walking tour of the city where we saw some of the famous sites, such as The Circus, a group of beautiful Georgian townhouses, some of which are owned by celebrities. On our walk, we learned about the history of Bath, namely the Bath Blitz: Hitler’s revenge on Winston Churchill for attacks on German cities by the Royal Air Force. Hundreds were killed, over 1,000 injured, and many of Bath’s beautiful buildings were damaged or destroyed. We also learned about the city’s architecture, and how most of the city’s buildings are made from Bath Stone, a golden-colored form of limestone that is local to the area.
Our next stop was the Roman Baths, the attraction that the city is known for. We spent about an hour exploring the site, seeing the Baths themselves as well as a museum on the history of the Baths. At the end of the tour, we were able to try water that was pumped from the bath. It had a very sulfuric taste, and isn’t something I’d want to drink regularly, even though it is completely safe.
We still had a couple more hours to explore Bath before we had to return to the van. Since we were still pretty hungry after our lunch, we decided to sample a Cornish pasty from the bakery recommended by our guide to have the best Cornish pasties in the region: The Cornish Bakery. Cornish pasties are a traditional pastry from the Cornwall region of England and consist of a filling (usually meat and vegetables) inside a semi-circle crust that I found similar to the crust of a pot pie. This bakery is right beside the Roman Baths, so it is the perfect place to try a Cornish pasty on this tour. I decided to try the bakery’s “Award-Winning Traditional” pasty, which was filled with beef, onion, potatoes, and a bit of rutabega. I don’t remember the exact price of the pasty, but I believe that it was somewhere around £4. Would I consider this to be the best Cornish pasty in the area? I don’t know, since it was the only one I tried, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was! My pasty was delicious: the filling was perfect for a cold January day and the crust was perfectly flaky. I’ve been craving them ever since!
We still had a little more time left, so we went inside the Bath Abbey, the city’s 15th century church. There is no required admission fee, but there is a suggested donation of £4 for adults and £2 for students/children. Being students, we each gave a £2 donation and went inside to explore the Abbey, which was beautiful. If you visit, I highly recommend giving at least the suggested donation, as it goes toward the upkeep of the historical Abbey. By the time we finished touring the Abbey, it was time to return to the van to head back to London, where we arrived at about 7:30pm.
Could I have planned a cheaper tour to Stonehenge and Bath on my own? Probably, but it was still nice to not have to worry about planning anything on my own. If you’re in London and wanting to get out of the city for a day, whether it be to Stonehenge and Bath or elsewhere, and you don’t want to worry about planning anything on your own, Golden Tours is a great option. I found the tours to be reasonably priced and our guide was very knowledgable and entertaining. My tour was also a great introduction to the city of Bath, and I’d definitely like to spend at least a couple of days there the next time I return to England.
Have you ever been to Stonehenge or Bath, or have you ever done a guided tour for a day trip? If you’re planning on heading to London and want to get out of the city for a little bit, make sure to check out Golden Tours!