When people visit London, one of the premier tourist cities in the world, they often forget that the UK is a surprisingly small country and has excellent public transport. If you’re conscious about saving the pennies and have used a company like Millennium Hotels to find a bargain on hotels Kensington-wide or elsewhere in the capital, you might be thinking that it’d break the budget to get out of London, but you couldn’t be further from the truth.
First of all, it’s worth remembering that London is expensive compared to the rest of the UK, even the best value hotel in the centre of the capital will be more expensive than similar accommodation further out.
Top of anyone’s list of sites to see in the UK has to be Stonehenge. The ‘Henge has been the subject of more archaeological digs and investigations than probably any other site in the UK but still holds onto many of its secrets and retains much of its mystery. Even if you’ve seen pictures a thousand times of the standing stones, the magic of actually seeing it is something altogether different.
From London the easiest way to get to Stonehenge is on the National Express – a relatively cheap bus that runs from Victoria Coach Station in central London. The journey takes about two hours and you’ll need to get off at Amesbury which is about two miles from the site. It’s an easy enough walk, or you can get one of the many cheap and reliable taxis which operate nearby.
An alternative option is to book ahead and get cheap train tickets. Trains leave from Waterloo to the nearest train station to Stonehenge, Salisbury, every half hour and take about an hour and a half (much quicker than the bus), on the other hand they are quite a lot more expensive so it’s definitely worth booking in advance. The other thing to consider with the train is that you’ll then need to take a local bus, or a taxi, to Stonehenge, as it’s about nine miles from Salisbury – although Salisbury itself is a lovely little city and would be a great place to stay.
Another tip is to look into a trip to Avebury. Avebury is no more than half an hour to an hours drive from Stonehenge and is a much less famous version of its big brother. The stones at Avebury are much further apart and form massive rings, but because they’re less well known you can get up close and personal to the stones. In summer there are loads of buses and tours which offer good value, but at other times of year it can be very quiet and (though more difficult to get there) you could well have the site to yourself.
The UK is quite a small country and easy to get around, if you’re going to travel by trains there are some great deals if you look for them, and it’s definitely worth booking ahead. Whilst there’s no denying that London is a great city, there’s so much more to see and do than the famous tourist sites of the capital and you shouldn’t miss out on an opportunity to really explore some of Britain’s greatest sites.