Romancing the Stones: Stonehenge, Bath & Lunch in the Cotswolds
- The wonder of Stonehenge: Marvel at this 4,500-year-old circle of monoliths, hear theories of their origin, and experience the site's tastefully integrated new visitor center.
- The elegance of Bath: Enjoy a guided walk and free time in the only entire British city listed as a World Heritage Site – a wonderland of Georgian-era stonework where Jane Austen lived and set her two final novels, and ancient Roman hot baths still bubble.
- The beauty of the Cotswolds: Tuck into an authentic pub lunch in Castle Combe, aka "The Prettiest Village in England," brimming with honey-colored stone cottages. Then step back into the 14th century in tiny Lacock, featured in period productions like Pride and Prejudice and Downton Abbey.
- Small group = more personal: Groups are limited to no more than 25, for a relaxed and intimate experience with deeper guide interaction and audio headsets so you don't miss a word.
Please make your way to the Gloucester Road tube station at the junction of Gloucester Road and Cromwell Road to meet our GoBe Rep.
There are some great views seen along your drive. If taking pictures from the vehicle, turn your flash off, set your camera on manual focus, use the fastest shutter speed possible, and zoom as far as you can.
This tour involves a moderate amount of walking. It is not wheelchair accessible. Travelers with limited mobility may not see all sites fully but can participate at their discretion.
Full Day, Bus Tour, Walking Tour
Suitable for all ages.
Special Medical Restriction
Participants must be in good health, disclose their physical fitness and advise any conditions that might impact their participation in the tour. Please inform in advance of any special dietary requirements.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
About This London Tour
Though they share the underlying theme of being stonework showplaces, Stonehenge, Bath, and the Cotswolds each reached their height of prominence during a very different chapter in England's history.
Bath actually had two heydays – 1,700 years apart. Founded by the Romans on the site of a prolific thermal spring, it became the region's hottest spa destination in the 1st century, and stayed that way for nearly 400 years. But when the Romans left Britain, the baths known as Aquae Sullis (named in honor of an ancient Celtic goddess) were abandoned until the Georgian period (1714-1830), attracting aristocrats and commoners alike. By the time Jane Austen moved here in 1801, Bath was England's eighth-largest city, and certainly one of its most magnificent – today it has more than 5,000 designated historic buildings, more even than central London. With your free time, you may want to visit the wonderfully preserved Roman Baths, sample the mineral-rich water in the Grand Pump Room that overlooks them, explore the town's glorious crescent-shaped townhouse blocks, or stop by the Jane Austen Center for an immersion into her world.
Meanwhile, like time machines stuck in Middle Ages mode, the two Cotswold villages we visit look unchanged from their 15th-century heydays, back when wool was king and spinning wheels were a household appliance. Surrounding their ancient churches (Castle Combe's contains one of the oldest working clockworks in England) are lanes lined with charming clusters of cottages, pubs, inns, and shops clad in Cotswold stone or half-timbered wood. As you wander these unspoiled hamlets, you'll see why they work so well as period locations in films. There's barely any need for set dressing.
But when it comes to masonry with some real age to it, few places on earth can match Stonehenge. This iconic stone circle on the Salisbury Plain dates from around 2500 B.C. and includes mega-monoliths weighing upwards of 50,000 pounds, apparently hauled from a quarry 20 miles away. Just how Neolithic builders managed to pull this off without benefit of even the most basic mechanical technology (like, say, the wheel) is still a stone-cold mystery.
The sorcerer's stones
The "bluestones" at Stonehenge, while smaller than the enormous sarsen stones, weigh up to four tons each, and somehow got here from the Preseli Hills of Wales, some 200 miles off. One theory has them being rolled to the Welsh coast on tree trunks, then rafted here up the Avon River. Another has them hauled overland in huge wicker baskets by teams of oxen. Or they may have been plopped down nearby by cooperative glaciers. The most absurd theory: The wizard Merlin created the whole shebang. With his wand.
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Approximate Duration: 12 Hours
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