I thought to myself, when in the UK, I have to visit Stonehenge! So I did. Even if it’s a tourist attraction, it’s still a must-do. Travelling from Guildford however, was pretty troublesome because I had to change trains twice, once at Woking and once at Basingford.
And because I didn’t click the details of the trains, I was really surprised when I first found out that I had to switch trains! Thankfully though, I didn’t get lost, phew!
I took the Stonehenge tour bus, because it seemed like the easiest way to get there. My ticket was 27 pounds, and this included admission into Stonehenge (which is already 14 pounds for admission – student price). The bus ticket alone was 14 pounds, thus I thought that it was more worthwhile to get the bus + Stonehenge ticket, and this included the admission to Old Sarum as well! The Old Sarum mainly consists of ruins from the Roman and Iron Ages and admission is 3.50 pounds if I’m not wrong.
I think that on the website it’s not stated clearly enough that the 27 pounds includes admission into Stonehenge (it says admission into the visitor center) and my first reaction was like what? Only the visitor center? Does that mean that I have to buy my tickets there again? But thankfully, my fears were unfounded.
If you’re not on the tour, you’ll have to buy timed tickets (online preferably) and this means that you can only enter at certain timings. However, if you were to take the bus, you can enter anytime, so your schedule is more flexible! A downside is that the bus only comes every hour in springtime; so if you miss one bus, you’ll have to wait another hour for it, so plan carefully!
I spent about 2.5 hours in Stonehenge, where you can choose to take the free shuttle bus to the stone circle or walk there (20 minutes walk?) I took the bus there and chose to walk back. There was a free audio guide, which was pretty detailed and informative as well as a museum explaining the mythical Stonehenge. I especially liked the “Wish you were here” exhibition where they showcased how Stonehenge has been constantly referenced in our pop culture.
I met Swathi from India on the bus and we did Stonehenge together! She was taking advantage of the bank holiday to check out Stonehenge and she was telling me about India, its’ language and its’ foods. Not to forget the dancing in Bollywood movies ha ha ha. I think that’s the perks of solo travel, you get to meet new people and stuff!
Because I missed the 2.43 pm bus at Stonehenge, I had to wait for the 3.43 pm bus and this completely messed up my schedule so I had to hurry along. I couldn’t even get to see Old Sarum properly because I wanted to see Salisbury Cathedral and the Magna Carta before it closed! There was a siege at Old Sarum, which seemed interesting but I didn’t get to hang around much 😦
And then I did the #yolotravel thing that people always talked about and hitchhiked! The church was going to close at 5, and the bus was only going to come at 5, so there was no way I was gonna make it so I took a leap of faith and randomly asked this elderly man who seemed to be heading to the carpark and I scored on the first try!! Yay!!!
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
He dropped me off at the edge of the city, and from there it wasn’t too far a walk to the Cathedral and I managed to stop by the Parish church of St Peters and St Edmund, famous for its’ medieval doom painting before going to the cathedral!
There’s currently a Magna Carta exhibition where it’s celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. There are only 4 original copies in the world, and the one at Salisbury Cathedral is the most well preserved one where all the words and the parchment are still intact!
Before researching, I thought that Magna Carta was some Christian thing, because it sounded very you know Jay Z and Kanye West, like it was what they would name their songs or albums. But the Magna Carta is actually a constitutional document, which states that everyone is subject to the law, including the king, and no one is above the law. Thus, it is the foundation of democracy in England and is an international symbol of liberty today. I think travelling definitely broadens my general knowledge.
At first I thought I needed a timed entry ticket to enter, but the assistant told me that that was only for busy periods, and usually you can just walk in. And the church/exhibition closes at 5.30pm not 5pm! So I kind of rushed for nothing, but still, hitchhiking is a cool story to bring home.
I didn’t get to walk around The Close because by the time I got out, it started raining already, but I think 1 full day would be enough for a leisurely stroll around Salisbury//Stonehenge.