Before my surprise return to California, two of my friends and I decided to make the most of our last days in the UK with a day trip to Bath, Salisbury and the ever-perplexing Stonehenge. After looking at trains, coaches and even hiring a car for the day, we ended up booking a guided tour through Evan Evans tours. For a little under £60 each (with our student discounts), we saved the headaches of planning the day and got to check out Georgian Bath, Salisbury and Stonehenge.
We left from Victoria Station at 8:45AM and were in the city of Bath just a couple of hours later. I had heard repeatedly about how amazing the Georgian town was: a town that manages to blend history and a sense of calm with a dash of posh. We were given an hour and a half to explore the town and the baths ended taking up a good portion of our allotted time. The baths, of course, are a huge tourist draw for the city. The natural hot springs are famed for their ‘healing properties’ (for lack of a better description) in their ability to help sooth joint pain and body aches. The king’s visits to the baths in the 13th – 14th centuries helped catapult the city into elite territory. Though it’s fairly small and peripheral now, it was one of the places to be seen in the UK in centuries past. After we checked out the baths, we made our way to the Pump Room, apparently made famous by Jane Austen. While I’m not the hugest of Austen buffs, one of my travel mates was excited to pass through the glitzy Pump Room to grab a drink of (hot) water from the springs. Despite the fact that we were short on time, we managed to grab a quick lunch after leaving the Pump Room and glimpse the city’s shopping area. Within the short time we were there, the consensus was that Bath would have made a wonderful weekend trip. Two or three days to explore the area would have been much more appropriate. Duly noted for my next trip to the UK.
After our time in Bath, we made our way to Salisbury. While the cathedral in Salisbury holds a great deal of history and a number of artifacts, it is probably most famous for housing the best-preserved version of the original Magna Carta. There are a grand total of four in existence, but the one in Salisbury was in incredible shape considering it dates back to 1215. We popped in to check it out first-hand (pictures are not allowed) and then spent the rest of our time in Salisbury enjoying afternoon tea in the refectory. Since I had yet to experience the institution that is afternoon tea in London, I was able to tick two boxes in one go!
After our jaunt in Salisbury, we made our way to our final stop: Stonehenge. Everything inside of me said that Stonehenge alone would make for a rather boring day trip. While it’s a must-see historical site in the UK, it’s not very interactive. It was awesome to see it, but I found myself supremely grateful for having made the stopover part of a larger day trip. Alone, it wouldn’t have been worth the drive time from London. We snapped a few shots of the stones, listened to the history and made our way back to London shortly after.
In all honesty, while Stonehenge is an interesting sight, I found it a bit lackluster given all of the hype that it receives. For anyone wanting to book a trip to see the area, it’s worth wrapping in other towns to make the trip more complete. On its own there really is very little time you can spend at the site before you’re ready to wrap up.
All in all, the trip was a great way to cap off my time in the UK! I had been wanting to check out Stonehenge and was so happy to finally have been able to see it. The addition of Bath and Salisbury made for a perfect day trip!