Friday, May 27, 2016

Europe Adventure: Day Four- Part One- Stonehenge

 When I was doing my trip research I read on trip advisor about a couple that was able to go on a semi private tour of Stonehenge before opening hours. It was called a Special Access tour. 
I went to the Stonehenge website and looked it up. I couldn't find anything about these special access tours except through private touring companies that charged a ton and always had it added on to a tour from London visiting a bunch of other places as well. We didn't need that and we didn't want to pay that much. 
So I emailed them. I asked if Special Access tours were still available. 
I received a response saying that yes, they did do them. They were limited to a small amount of people and certain days but I could fill out an application for the day and time we wanted and see if it was available. I did that and they said yes to one of the days I listed. 
We had to pay about twice as much as a Stonehenge ticket normally is (around $50 each as opposed to around $25 each) but it was worth it to us for many reasons. 
First, we had a lot of things to do this day and it was really nice to be able to get into Stonehenge so early that we could be to the next place at opening. 
Second, when you go to Stonehenge you normally don't get very close to the stones. You are kept back past a little fence on a path. In the pictures below you can see the path and that is as close as you can get. We got to walk right in and around the stones.
And Third, the crowds. We had hardly anyone there with us. It was so peaceful.

We did have to leave our hotel really early in the morning. We checked out the night before and then dropped our key in a drop box at the desk. I got ready and then took the luggage down while my mom got ready. It was really quiet and dark still and quite cold. 
Then we drove for about an hour to Stonehenge. 
When we got there we had to show our tickets to some security men who then let us into the parking lot. 
From there we had to walk over to the shuttle bus and it drove us down the road to a spot close to Stonehenge. 
Then we got out and walked the rest of the way. 
The sun was just rising and it was absolutely beautiful.
(Warning: LOTS of pictures. It was too hard to decide between them!)

There was a security guard there to watch over us and he opened the gate to let us in. 
It was unbelievably cool to be walking amongst these large stones. 

They were all big, but some were massive.

Stone close up.

Looking up while I am standing under a stone archway....

There were a few stones scattered about, some laying down, that were not part of the big group. 

It was freezing cold. We had about an hour to walk around the stones but my mom's toes were completely frozen by about the 45 minute mark so we walked back over to the shuttle bus at that point. The others soon followed and then the bus took us back over to the visitor's center. 
This was an incredible experience and I wouldn't hesitate to pay the extra money for it. 
It is so worth it. 

Next up: Jane Austen

More on Scones and Crackers here.


Seth and Julie said...

That semi-private tour thing is something I will have to store for future reference. How cool to be able to get up closer and that early morning sky is such a stunning backdrop.

Donna said...

What an incredible place and experience. When I go someday I'll try to get a Special Access tour too. I love it that you were there in the morning when the sun was coming out--it looks beautiful in the pictures. I love the one where you're looking out at the countryside from between the stone pillars. That's awesome.

cheryl said...

Julie- it was awesome. I would always recommend the private tour. Worth every penny.

Donna- It really was so amazing. It was so beautiful at that time of day. I think it had a special feeling too because of the lack of people and traffic.