During our time in London, we wanted to leave the city to experience some of the historical sights throughout Southern England.
After a little research, we found a tour with Viator Tours that would allow us to experience Windsor Castle, the historical city of Bath, and Stonehenge all in one day. Although the tour schedule was condensed, we decided to take it due to the fact that we were determined to stand among the mysterious stones at Stonehenge.
The convenience of a tour didn’t come cheap, costing us approximately $160 CAD per person. However, this price included the admission costs to Windsor Castle, The Roman Baths and Stonehenge. When we factored those costs into the total, the cost became much easier to swallow!
Our first stop outside of London was Windsor Castle. The town of Windsor itself is picturesque, and Windsor Castle looks beautiful as it towers over it. The castle has been the family home to British kings and queens for over 1,000 years! Queen Elizabeth still takes up residence in Windsor Castle throughout the year.
When visiting Windsor Castle, you’ll want to walk the grounds. The stone work is incredible, and so well preserved. Inside, you will want to visit the State Apartments, which are furnished with some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection. You’ll also want to visit St George’s Chapel, the burial place of monarchs like Henry VIII and Charles I. St George’s Chapel is a stunning structure, and one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in England. Last but not least, don’t forget to stand to attention whilst watching the Changing of the Guard! We missed the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace in London, so we were excited to witness it at Windsor Castle!
Admission to Windsor Castle costs £20 per adult, and £11.70 per child (ages 5-16).
Bath is a small, romantic, UNESCO World heritage city consisting solely of 18th-century Georgian architecture.
Every Jane Austen-loving woman dreams of visiting Bath. As you stroll the magnificent streets you feel like you’re back in time, living through your favourite Jane Austen story. Austen made Bath her home from 1801 to 1806, and there is a museum, The Jane Austen Centre, located in Bath that is dedicated to her life and works. A must visit for any Jane Austen fan!
The city of Bath itself however was founded by the Romans long before Jane Austen’s time. The Roman Baths, which make the city famous, were constructed by the Romans around 70 AD by leveraging the natural hot springs in the area to create a grand bathing and socializing complex. The Roman Baths are now some of the best preserved Roman remains in the world, and the top sight to see when visiting Bath.
During your visit to the Roman Baths, be sure to pick up an audio guide and listen to fascinating commentary as you make your way around the site. Adult tickets cost £15 per ticket, and child tickets cost £9.50 per ticket.
Most of the main architectural attractions in Bath are all within a short walk of each other, and can be seen if need be, in about an hour. First. head up to the Royal Crescent, one of Bath’s most iconic attractions. Built between 1767 and 1775, this impressive landmark forms a sweeping crescent of 30 terrace houses, and is without doubt one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture anywhere in the UK. On the way to the Royal Crescent, be sure to take in the magnificent Circus. The circus consists of three curved segments of Georgian townhouses, arranged in a circular shape. Also make time to see the Pulteney Bridge, which stretches elegantly across the River Avon, and discover Bath Abbey, a towering, beautiful site of Christian worship for over 1,200 years.
Our tour allowed us about three hours in Bath. This gave us enough time to experience the Roman Baths, and view all the iconic landmarks located throughout the city. A tip that helped us save time, and money, was instead of stopping into a restaurant for a formal sit-down lunch, we grabbed delicious takeaway sandwiches and enjoyed them picnic-style under towering trees in the centre of the Circus. We’re nothing if not efficient when it comes to our must-do’s! Time is precious!
Our last (and most exciting) stop of the day was Stonehenge. I had waited years to witness this mysterious, ancient stone formation with my own eyes, and it certainly did not disappoint! To see it at dusk was even more incredible, and as I walked around the stones, I couldn’t help but wonder about how the stones got to be in this location arranged like they were. What was their purpose? Who put them there? I guess these types of questions are all part of what archaeologists and experts are trying to determine as they examine the site bit by bit. I found it all incredibly fascinating, and highly recommend a visit to anyone interested in the ancient world.
There is also a new information centre about a mile from the site to support all the visitor’s who flock to Stonehenge. The visitor’s centre offers in-depth information about Stonehenge, the people who created it and their suspected motivations for doing so. The visitors centre also boasts a cafe and clean restrooms.
Admission to Stonehenge is £14.50 per adult and £8.70 per child.
Although the day was busy, and there wasn’t a lot of free personal time, we were able to experience three iconic attractions in one day! I’d say… mission accomplished!
*All photos & opinions are my own.