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An informative and entertaining walk through 200 years, revealing histories which have often been forgotten or ignored. Discover the lives of people who lived in very different times and their tales of bravery and achievement, through changing times and attitudes. All this on a route which takes us from the grandeur of the seafront, through the quaint old Lanes and finishing in the 'gay village' of Kemptown.
Brighton City (Shoreham) Airport is an excellent airfield to start a scenic helicopter flight. The recently refurbished Main Terminal Building is an art deco treasure and takes visitors back to an era where flying was the height of sophistication. The views over the airfield are a photographers dream with the light aircraft in the foreground and the stunning backdrop of Lancing College's ornate chapel and rolling South Downs in the background.
After a short safety briefing your pilot will assist you in boarding the helicopter. To detail every historic building, landmark or landscape would take more space than is available here, so here are the highlights!
South West England is rich in history and natural beauty. From the mysterious stones of Avebury and Stonehenge, to the Uffington White Horse, Bath, and the Salisbury Cathedral, there is a wealth of astonishing sites to take in. Our full-day Stonehenge Tour including Bath and Salisbury, led by a local historian and designed as a day trip from London, offers a glimpse of a deeply distinct part of England. Together, we'll explore the history, mystery, and profound beauty of this region.
Arriving by train from London, our exploration of the South West will begin from Salisbury station. Here we will meet our docent and driver and proceed to Stonehenge, just in time for its opening to the public, in order to beat the crowds and enjoy the view of the stones in tranquility. In the company of our expert, we will engage in the ongoing discussion regarding the origin and significance of the stones, while learning to distinguish historical facts from well established traditions. We will also have time to walk in the archaeological park and take in the ethereal magic of the site.
From here, we'll depart for our next stop, which depending on the day and the clients preference may be Bath (where we also have a standalone Bath Tour) or Salisbury Cathedral, but not before stopping in a local country pub for lunch. We may taste some of the local ales and indulge in traditional dishes such as game pies or a simple ploughman's lunch. After lunch, we'll proceed to the second part of our exploration.
Looking for another day trip from London? Try our Cambridge Tour.
If heading to Bath, we'll stroll through the Georgian streets while learning about the city's Roman origins and its later connections to the dandies and fashionables of London. Our docent will explain the role of the Roman Baths and how they are still today a fundamental fixture of the town. If we feel inclined, we may proceed inside and visit the Baths before taking the train back to London at the end of the day.
In Salisbury, our visit will focus on the Cathedral, home of the Magna Carta and exquisite example of Early English architecture. We will talk about the Cathedral's musical history and tradition dating back to the foundation of the church in 1258, as well as its role in innovation (the Salisbury Cathedral was the first English cathedral to recruit girl choristers in 1991). Our discussion will cover the once thriving town of Old Sarum and Salisbury's original cathedral, now only visible in its outline. We'll learn how many of its stones were re-used in the construction of the new building and why both city and cathedral moved from their original location to today's one.
As our day together comes to a close, we will have uncovered what makes South West England such a rich destination to visit: lesser-known charms, incredible landscapes, beautiful architecture, and the memorable UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Stonehenge and Avebury. At the end of the day, we'll return to London on one of the many direct trains that run between the two locations.
Please note: You will meet your docent and driver in Salisbury (we will provide detailed instructions). In general, the full-day excursion has you back in London by 8:00 pm. If you are staying in Bath, Salisbury or anywhere outside of London, please let us know and we can assist you with transport information. Note that we can also conduct a two-day extended excursion (private).
You will be responsible for purchasing train tickets at the station. Included in your confirmation will be details regarding which trains to take and how to book. If you prefer to travel by car from London, we can arrange for a full day car service. Please leave a note to this effect in your booking.
Can I see the inside of Stonehenge?
Although not possible during normal opening hours, you may visit the inside of Stonehenge by pre-booking with Stonehenge Circle Access. Visits take place in the early morning or late evening only and last for one hour, with a maximum of 26 participants on each visit. Stonehenge Circle Access should be booked well in advance of when you plan to visit. Those interested in booking must complete an Application Form. The cost of the ticket for accessing the stones is about 38GBP per person. Depending on the time of the year, early morning visits take place at 6:30-7:30 or 8 AM. Please include a note in your booking if you are interested in this option.
Where do we meet? Where do we end?
You will meet the docent and driver at the Salisbury train station. Trains are very easy to use and navigate in the UK. We suggest the 8:20am train from London Waterloo, to get you to Salisbury by 9:45am. From there you will proceed by private car that we've arranged for you. The day will end in Bath or Salisbury, depending on your preference, where the driver will drop you off at the Station. From there, you will catch the train back to London. Your confirmation email will have more information, the exact meeting point, along with a map and emergency phone number.
Can I arrange for private car service beginning and ending in London?
Yes! If you prefer to travel by car from London, we can arrange for a full day car service. Please leave a note to this effect in your booking. We'll be in touch with further information
What if it’s raining?
Tours operate rain or shine, but in the case of inclement weather, your docent will modify the tour so more time is spent indoors. It never hurts to have an umbrella on hand.
Is this tour good for kids?
Yes! We some excellent family friendly docents who can appeal to the learning styles of kids and teens. Please book privately if you have children under 13. Feel free to provide us with information about your children such as favorite school subjects, and hobbies. This way we can match you with the best possible docent.
In that paragon of travel documentaries, National Lampoon's European Vacation, there is a scene in which Ellen Griswold (Beverly D'Angelo) forgets to lock the door on the shared bathroom in their London hotel. A man comes in to brush his teeth and is pleasantly surprised when Ellen—washcloth over face and believing the man to be her hubby, Clark—calls to him from the bathtub to join her. Shock and hilarity ensue. The accidental intruder was played by none of ther than Robbie Coltrane, 16 years before he embodied Hagrid in the Harry Potter films.