Stonehenge needs no introduction to anyone in the world. Brushing shoulders with Pyramids of Giza, as one of the seven wonders of Ancient World, this pristine wonder is one of the gems of English Heritage. Generally people are caught in a dilemma whether to visit or not, as there is nothing touristy to do there and to travel so far to see some stones may not sound as an exciting holiday idea; however I would say for those who are looking to explore British Heritage and go down the lane of history, it cannot get better than this.
Visiting Stonehenge would certainly require a day. If you are based at London it will take you a 2 hour travel by Train or a little over 2 hours by road depending on the traffic. My personal suggestion would be to take a Train from London to Salisbury which in itself is quite a treat of historical marvels. There are Stonehenge Bus Tours from Salisbury which will take you around Salisbury, Old Sarum and Stonehenge. So you get to explore some more pearls of British history.
Salisbury is a town in south-west England in the county of Wiltshire which basks in the glory of the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral.
Built in 38 years, Salisbury Cathedral has a Gothic architecture style, quite evident from its spires. It is difficult to get enough of its detailed designs and sculptures on the façade. The saints and kings on its walls seem to be talking to you every time you look at them.
The facade of the Cathedral
View of the Cathedral from one of its gardens
The inside of the Cathedral is intimidating with its huge stained glass windows, tall pillars and high arches.
The interior of the Cathedral with its tall columnar pillars
View of the interior of the Cathedral
The gardens and the intricate arches all around it.
However other than its magnificent architecture, what makes this Cathedral attract visitors is that it houses the original best preserved copy of ‘Magna Carta’. A quick refresher from our textbooks, Magna Carta was the royal charter which led to the rule of the Constitutional law in England. Beautifully handwritten in Latin, The Magna Carta is on display in the Chapter House of the Cathedral. Photography is not permitted.
Magna Carta. Original copy of the document is preserved in the Cathedral.
Though a lesser known one than its peers, this Cathedral has many entries in the record books of UK. Standing tall with its 404 feet high spire, which is the tallest in the UK, it pretty much dominates the skyline of this quaint town. Dated as old as 1220 AD, this Cathedral has the largest ‘Cloister’ and ‘Close’ in Britain and houses world’s oldest mechanical working clock.
The tall spire of the Cathedral can be spotted from miles. This is certainly the major highlight of this structure.
Around 9 miles from Salisbury lies the World Heritage site of Stonehenge. Unlike other monuments, the entry to Stonehenge is highly regulated. One cannot go near the stones and have to view them from the periphery of a restricted fencing.
View of the Stonehenge from outside the fence
Well, an obvious question arises in every visitor’s mind what is after all the hullabaloo around Stonehenge? I had the same apprehensions arising in my mind too prior to my visit. This matter can be very subjective and would be more appropriate to say that it depends what interests a traveller. I am a history freak so it was a natural incline to visit places of historical significance which made me plan a trip to Stonehenge.
As a visitor to Stonehenge, I was completely awed with the brilliance of its placement in the middle of a countryside. It also amazes me like many theorists as to how these gigantic stones were transported and then made into these vertical and horizontal patterns.
A close up view
Some theories mention these stones were transported from Wales through waterways and then rolled to its current site, while some believe that this is not possible without human intervention and a large workforce was involved to get these stones. Definitely there must be a deep study of some science involved. Maybe it was an observatory, maybe it was not. A part of me also goes with the Pagans and Druids to go by the thread of Religion that this place was of religious significance and has a supernatural dimension too.
Another close up from another side of the stone arrangement
Yes a day out seeped in history can be tiring; if its summers you can come back to the quaint markets of Salisbury to soothe your nerves with some retail therapy and chilled beer.
Some of the photos from a local market in the town center of Salisbury
Polish Sausages; quite a common site in any local market
The world would be different without Italian desserts and we are all are bitten by the ‘Italiano’ bug.
Wooden toys which are actually plant holders.
And as I call it a day and walk back to the station, there is an English flavour that i cant help clicking. Canals in the towns with bushy canopies and bridges with the charm of yore.
Salisbury is at the confluence of 5 rivers. One canal flowing in the town.
A bridge across the canal
*Note to Travelers*
The cheapest and easiest way to travel would be to purchase the tickets of the Stonehenge tour from either Salisbury Railway station or get onto the Bus at the marked stops and purchase directly from the Driver.
Online Resource Pool: There is plenty of information on web about Salisbury and Stonehenge and other stone circles in the UK. My suggestions would be to refer the below prior to making your visit.
For train bookings from London to Salisbury
For booking tours to Stonehenge