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Get Out of Londontown: Check Off Stonehenge from the Bucket List

May 23, 2012 at 11:40 AM | by | Comment (1)

Heading to London this summer? Yeah, so is everyone else. This week, Jaunted's London embed, Lilit Marcus, will share some definite destinations for getting out of town and out of the crowds.

If you can make it through a visit to Stonehenge without making a Spinal Tap joke, you’re a better person than I am. The stone formation, built by Druids during the Bronze Age, is still one of the world’s great wonders as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site. That said, it’s also kind of in the middle of nowhere. Though there are plans to build a more convenient rail route out to Stonehenge, currently the only way to get there is by car. There are several tour companies who will take you there and back from London and it’s also quite common to combine this with a trip to Bath, which is the route I took.

Because most of us have seen pop culture references to Stonehenge, the expectation is that the mysterious rocks are huge and majestic. It’s not huge, but it’s definitely still majestic. The series of stones was believed to be a burial ground (human bones have been found there) but there are plenty of other theories, namely that the location of the stones helped to determine the calendar because of the way the light fell during different times of the year.

You can’t get up close to the stones anymore (thanks, all those people who thought it was cool to try and carve your initials into the side), but there’s plenty of beautiful countryside around the site and plenty of opportunities for unobstructed photos. There’s a very good audio tour included with the price of admission, and history buffs will like the opportunity to listen to extra sections or get additional information on their favorite topics. (Also, literature majors will appreciate the shoutout to Tess of the D’Urbervilles, which has a scene set at Stonehenge.)

Once you’ve fully circled the formation and gotten the necessary Facebook photos in front of the Heel Stone, there’s not much else to do but check out the gift shop and cafes.The shop includes specific Stonehenge gear like books, magnets, and even lollipops (they’re blackurrant flavored), as well as Englishy treats like knit blankets and boxes of tea. Getting a history rundown and a stuffed Wilshire sheep in one quick jaunt seems like a pretty good deal, and you can be back in London before dinnertime.

[Photo: Darkest Before Dawn]

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You can still get close up to the Stones!

It is still possible to get close to the stones at Stonehenge if you book a Stonehenge private acccess tour. Try 'The Stonehenge Tour Company' http://www.stonehengetours.com/

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