This post detailing the perfect, easy Stonehenge trip is part of my friend, Elissa’s, Europe series! After she left Korea, she traveled around a bit before heading home to LA, and she was kind enough to write about all her adventures for the blog. If you’re hoping to see this iconic structure, we hope this helps you out!
Since Jen and I extended our London itinerary to about 7 days, we wanted to do a day trip somewhere. We didn’t know if we’d ever get the opportunity again, so we decided to make the trek to see the iconic Stonehenge.
It’s a feature in so many famous movies, books, and TV shows, we wanted to see it for ourselves at least once. Stonehenge and nearby Salisbury are a fairly easy day trip from London and there was a lot more to see than we realized!
The Perfect Guide to a Stonehenge Day Trip
For our trip, we used the Stonehenge Tour Bus (more below), which goes to three major sites: Stonehenge, Old Sarum, and Salisbury Cathedral.
First Stop: Visiting Stonehenge
From Salisbury, the bus will go straight to the Stonehenge Visitor Center.
Stonehenge has one of the most interesting histories! Growing up, we were told the big mystery of the monument was that no one quite knew how or why it was built.
The structure we see now was first constructed almost 5,000 years ago, and many believe the larger stones (or sarsens) were brought from as far as 20 miles away while the smaller stones (or bluestones) were brought from as far as 140 miles away in Wales. While people have theories on how the stones could have been transported to their current spot, no one has ever figured it out for sure.
As for why we have this circular monument, the answer also isn’t very clear.
There have been plenty of conspiracies (like aliens), but recently BBC put out an article with the most recent research. They discovered that what we see may have been a small part of a larger series of structures spanning for miles. In fact, while Stonehenge itself is around 5,000 years old, the area has been in use for 9,000 years!
- Address: Amesbury, Salisbury SP4 7DE, UK
- Hours: Around 9:00 am – 8:00 pm, last admission 2 hours before close
- However times vary slightly by season, so check the visiting hours before you go
- Adult Ticket: £17.50 (booking ahead), £19.50 (walking up)
Second Stop: Salisbury Cathedral
Not only is Salisbury Cathedral a beautiful example of Early English architecture, it’s also home to the best preserved of the four remaining 1215 Magna Cartas.
The Cathedral also has the tallest spire (123m from the ground) and the largest cathedral close (80 acres) in Britain. It’s quite impressive!
Visiting Salisbury Cathedral:
- Address: 6 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EJ, UK
- Hours: Mon.- Sat. 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Sun. – 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
- Fee: Free
See the Magna Carta
- Mon-Fri: 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Apr. – Oct.), 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Nov. – March)
- Sun: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
- Fee: Free
Third Stop: Old Sarum
Old Sarum was a pleasant surprise! We only planned on seeing it if we had time and because it’s a stop on the Stonehenge Tour Bus. It’s definitely worth seeing, and it has great views of the surrounding countryside.
It’s home to the earliest settled of Salisbury and, as a result, home to over 2,000 years of Roman, Norman, and Saxon history. You can visit the ruins and foundations of Salisbury’s original cathedral, an old castle, and an Iron Age fort.
- Hours: (last entry is 30 mins before closing)
- Closed December 24-26
- 30 March – 30 September
- Sunday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
- 1 October – 4 November
- Sunday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- 5 November – 31 March
- Sunday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Adult Ticket: £5.20
- Address: Castle Road, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 3SD
Getting to Stonehenge
We traveled by bus since it was much cheaper, but it is possible (and definitely easier) to get there via train or car.
From London to Salisbury:
We took National Express Bus from London (Victoria Coach Station) to Salisbury (Millstream Coach Park, near The Boathouse) with a transfer in Southampton (Coach Station- Harbour Parade).
The ride from London to Southampton was about 2 hours. The ride from Southampton to Salisbury was about 45 minutes. We left London around 6:30 a.m. and arrived in Salisbury around 10:30 am.
**There are direct buses from London to Salisbury, there just weren’t any available for the time and day we wanted.
From Salisbury to London:
Our trip back to London from Salisbury was the same as the trip there. We left Salisbury at 6:40 p.m. and arrived in London at 10:15 p.m.
If you don’t mind a 2-3 hour bus trip both ways, then I definitely recommend this option since it was so much cheaper than going by train or car.
Also, we had about nine full hours to explore Salisbury, which was plenty of time and we feel like we saw a lot without rushing to the next thing! Besides the traveling bit, it was a very relaxing day.
Once we were in Salisbury, we took the Stonehenge Tour Bus to the Stonehenge Visitor Center where a short shuttle runs from to Stonehenge itself.
The Stonehenge Tour Bus is a hop-on-hop-off bus that not only takes you to Stonehenge and Salisbury but to Old Sarum as well. We used it to get to all of the sites (besides walking of course), and it’s quite easy and convenient to use.
Stonehenge Tour Ideas
While it’s pretty easy to DIY a trip to Stonehenge and Salisbury if you’d prefer, here are some tour options:
- Stonehenge Express Half Day Tour (Klook)* – You can leave at either 8:30 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. from London. This tour includes an audio guide as well. Check here for a similar option on GYG.*
- Stonehenge, Afternoon Tea at Salisbury Cathedral, and Bath (Klook)* – Full day tour from London that starts with Bath, then Stonehenge, then tea in Salisbury Cathedral’s Bell Tower tea rooms. Check here for a similar option on GYG*.
- Buckingham Palace and Stonehenge Tour (GYG)* – Starts with a changing of the guards at Buckingham and then goes to Stonehenge.
- Windsor, Stonehenge, and Oxford Tour (GYG)* – This 11-hour tour will take you through Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and end in Oxford.
- Stonehenge, Bath, + Cotswolds (GYG)* – Go through Bath, Cotswolds, and finish at Stonehenge on this 13-hour tour. There’s a lot of Jane Austen places visited too, if you’re a fan!
- King Arthur: Stonehenge, Winchester, and Glastonbury (GYG)* – This tour is for those who love King Arthur!
Where to Stay in Salisbury
If you want to spend more time than just a day in Salisbury, there are a few options. The Pembroke Arms* is the top rated hotel and The Old Rectory B&B* is the top rated bed and breakfast on Booking, but check below to compare the different hotels:
To Learn More About Stonehenge
And there you have it, a little guide to visiting Stonehenge and Salisbury! Let us know if you have any other tips on what to see or do in the area!