Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath

**This is a post copied over from my old blog and has been edited**

2014

On the second day of my trip to London, I took a day trip to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath from London. Like my day trip to Blarney Castle, I booked through a company, this time through Premium Tours.

This was probably one of the most stressful (now hilarious) portions of my trip. I was with a friend and we left the hostel with an hour and a half to travel to the bus station where our tour would be departing. We decided to take the bus there from our hostel, but at 8 am (we needed to be at Victoria Coach Station at 8:10 am) we realized that we were too far away to get there on time. So, we decided to sprint to the bus station, but we were still halfway across London. We popped into the Ritz and asked to use their phone to call the tour group. We get ahold of the tour group and she says “sorry, you’ll have to reschedule.” We were only in London for one more day, so we didn’t think that that was an optioN!

I asked (okay, maybe begged) to see if they could pick us up somewhere else. The receptionist said that they could pick us up at Harrod’s, but that we’d have to take a taxi to get there on time. We sprinted out to the street, the doorman got us a taxi, and we got to Harrod’s….right as a Premium Tour Bus is driving by. Because we thought it was our tour bus, we chased after them. We then proceeded to panic for the next ten minutes before I went across the street and a nice gentleman lent me his phone. I called the tour company again, and the woman said “don’t worry, they’ll be there soon!” Right as she said that, my friend bangs on the door to tell me that they’re here, so we sprint across the street and get onto the bus! We boarded the bus with all of the other travelers (mostly middle aged or retired seniors) glared at us as we boarded…

Windsor Castle

 
This was the first stop on our trip. Windsor Castle was HUGE and gorgeous (over 950 rooms) and is the Queen’s favorite castle! We weren’t allowed to take photos indoors, so most of these images are from outside.
The grounds were gorgeous and everything was so green – another reminder that I need to spend more time in the countryside!

 

It was nice that most of the groups that were there were smallish tour groups, so it never really felt like we were standing right on top of each other, as we did at Buckingham Palace.

One complaint about the indoor tour of Windsor Castle is that it was a bit short – there were many areas that I wanted to see, but they weren’t open! The castle was also under construction, so those areas were closed as well.
Windsor Castle also holds a Changing of the Guards ceremony, so we were lucky to watch that before we had to head back to the bus. I was also able to snag one of those iconic tourist photos with a guardsman.

#cliche

On the grounds of Windsor Castle is also Windsor Abbey; there are many royal family members buried here and while the caretaker couldn’t tell us, my friend and I suspect that this is where the Queen herself will be buried.

Windsor Abbey

Bath
 
Our next stop was to Bath. Bath is home to the Roman Baths, where the citizens of Bath would take communal baths. It was very cool, but it was SO crowded that I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked. The water is from a natural hot spring and has a high mineral concentration. Obviously, the green water is no longer swimmable, but it was still cool to see!

 

Communal bath

In addition to the bathing areas that are still filled with water were different rooms to be toured. Each of these rooms had a placard that described their purpose and their original layout. I thought that this was really interesting, but again, there were so many people here that it was hard to really enjoy the tour.

 

Our final stop in Bath was for High Tea before we headed to Stonehenge. This was another “must have” experience and I must admit that it was much more enjoyable than my fish and chips. We split the lunch and it came with a cup of tea, a tier of finger sandwiches, shortbreads, and cakes. There was also a number of teas to choose from.

African bush tea

 

High Tea tray

Stonehenge
 
I loved Stonehenge. We got there after 5, so there were hardly any tourists there, and I had the BEST time! It was really cool to explore and have the place to ourselves. I may or may not have been tempted to run and touch the rocks, which happens to be strictly forbidden. I thought better of doing that and had some fun instead.

 

 

Even though we did not have much time here, it was still a really interesting place to be. It’s amazing to me that anthropologists still aren’t sure about the purpose of Stonehenge. I would love to return during one of the solstices to see the sun align perfectly with the stones!

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