A trip to the United Kingdom will never be complete without visiting Stonehenge. After finding out that doing it on our own will be so much of a hassle (time wasted switching public transport vs left-hand driving), we decided to join a bus tour instead. We checked a lot of travel agencies and weighed every offer available before coming up with the one from Anderson Tours that does a side trip to Bath. So, Stonehenge and Bath day trip from London it is!
What are the odds that our bus gets stuck in traffic? Very less, but we were the (un)fortunate ones. The bus collected us an hour late than the scheduled pick up. As a domino effect, the rest of the group was fetched later, rendering our tour hours significantly reduced. It was very responsible of Anderson Tours to extend the trip’s duration and giving us ample time to explore to compensate for the time lost. Yey!
Stonehenge: Could it be aliens?!
We arrived in Stonehenge few minutes before noon. Each of us was given passes and audio guides in our preferred language before riding a shuttle that took us to the Stonehenge site.
The monoliths of Stonehenge aren’t as huge as I pictured them to be. But still, they are big slabs of stones, moved from some place as far as Wales; transported and erected on site. Some of them have been lifted to the top of the other. All of these was done in 2200-3000 BC when technology wasn’t as sophisticated as nowadays.
Before these stones came into place, the first form in this vast landscape was a circular ditch (the stones stand in its midpoint at present). Burial mounds were also located around the area, which are still visible today.
Many years later after Stonehenge was discovered, its purpose is still shrouded with ambiguity. Although there have been human remains (more of bones) found in site, researchers still believe that there’s more to it than just being a cemetery of sorts.
Well, to me, these are works of aliens. Yep, if you can’t explain something, blame it on aliens. :>
Walking the path around the stones took us almost an hour. We went back to the visitor centre which houses a souvenir shop, cafe, loo, a small museum and an outdoor gallery.
Bath: A Pleasant Surprise
Bath is an hour drive from Stonehenge and the road leading to our next destination is quite exciting – rolling hills, vast plains and some ghost towns. Our tour manager brought to our attention a view of the city from top, as we approach Bath from a road overlooking it. It was love at first sight! We were given 3 hours to explore Bath – definitely not enough but not bad either.
Our tour includes a guided visit to The Roman Baths, the city’s main attraction. It was interesting that Bath was named after the “act of bathing” as the city was built around hot springs where people… bathe. When the early Roman settlers discovered the therapeutic value of these springs, the famous baths were constructed.
The Roman Baths complex is even larger that what it looks like. There are rooms, pools, museum with hundred of spa-related object in it and ruins of some ancient sauna. Temperature inside the rooms are higher and it’s quite humid, too. At the end of the tour, everyone is invited to have a taste of the famed Spa Water from the fountain. Curious as we were, we gave it a try. It’s so pure and natural, it didn’t taste like water at all.
We ventured out The Roman Baths and explored the rest of the city. From the exit doors, we had a superb view of the Bath Abbey.
We walked across Kingston Parade, then off to one narrow street, a sign that says Fudge Factory lured us to go there. The husband and I both have a sweet tooth and upon learning that Bath makes the best fudge in the world, we made sure to hoard as much fudge as our budget can, lol. It’s probably the best decision we made in this trip. Bath fudge is the bomb!
Our day was made after having a swell time taste-testing Bath’s fudges but to cut the guilt, we walked our remaining time around town. Heehee. We moved closer to River Avon, the mighty water body defining the city. If you’ve seen the film adaptation of Les Miserbales, this is the river where Javert jumped off!
We crossed Pulteney Bridge, one of the last surviving retail bridges in the world. At present, cafes and shop fill the retail part of it.
We were keen to see more of Bath, but unfortunately we were left with just half an hour and we haven’t had a decent meal for the day (except for the fudges we indulged! :s)
Our group’s meeting point was just outside a pub so we decided to get our late brunch/early dinner there. We learned from our guide that this region has the tastiest food and greatest ale and boy, was she right! It was the best meal we’ve had in the entire trip!
What ought to be a side trip turned out to be the highlight of our day. We love Bath so much and we’d love to return in the future! It was no doubt a superb day of adventure – Stonehenge was ticked off the bucket list and Bath was a beautiful revelation.
We love Anderson Tours’ services as well – four thumbs up from the hubby and I! Check out their website if you’re going to be in this part of the world. Highly recommended.