June 8, 2009:
After watching the changing of the guard it was time to head back to catch our 1pm tour to Stonehenge. We had looked into taking public transportation to Stonehenge, but the cost of the train and bus tickets to get there came out to more than the cost of the tour! So we went with the cheapest tour we could find: 29 pounds/person. It included bus transportation to and from Stonehenge and entrance tickets. Stonehenge is located in Wiltshire County, about 90 miles outside of Central London. The bus ride took about 1.5 hours.
After our travels far and wide we have a bit of advice. If you are going to visit both Stonehenge and the Temples of Angkor, visit Stonehenge first. Otherwise, you may be a bit disappointed when you see Stonehenge. Granted, it is older than the temples at Angkor, but it just is not as awe invoking.
From having seen Stonehenge on TV and in photos, I expected the stones to be much taller, towering overhead. Instead, the whole monument was smaller than I expected, and you couldn’t get very close. Since there is an outer ring of dirt that is also historically important, the area is roped off, so you have to stay quite a ways back. Only one tour allows you to go into the circles of stone in the evening, but that tour is very expensive (60 pounds/person).
We took about an hour walking around and listening to the audio guide that was provided along with the admission ticket. Mostly, it explained that no one really knows why Stonehenge was built or what it was used for. It was a large feat for the people who built it to have moved such large stones over a great distance with the technology that existed at the time.
It was pretty cold there, and I wished I had dressed more warmly.
I guess Stonehenge is worth a visit if you really want to see the 7 wonders of the world, but I think we’ve seen many more impressive world heritage sites on our trip.