As usual there was no plan in particular, the idea was to explore as much of England and Wales as possible in 9 days. We began by buying a National Trust young person’s membership card (£30 for the year for british citizens) and a Touring Pass (£30 for seven consecutive days for overseas tourists). With our new purchases we could enter and park at any National Trust property or English Heritage site without paying any charges.
Leaving London at around 10am we drove along the A40 for two hours before reaching our first stop – The Stone Henge. Usually costing £17 per person we got in for free with our National Trust membership cards. The weather was bitterly cold. Leaving the safety of our warm car, we legged it into the cafe where we enjoyed our packed lunch and flask of tea. This was the best option as the sandwiches being sold cost a small fortune.
In the exhibition hall we discovered the history behind the Stone Henge. Supposedly built 5,000 years ago in the Neolithic period, it is thought to have been a burial ground built by Druid priests. The circle of standing stones was constructed in a special manner in accordance with the winter solstice. The monument, contains a vast amount of mystery. Exactly, why and how the stones were constructed remains up for debate.
One theory regarding the construction of The Stone Henge, is that chunks of stone were taken to the site. The stone used is thought to have been transported 150 miles from Wales. This in itself is baffling. Once the stones were placed in the isolated Salisbury Plain, people worked on getting them to the shape they are today. This is evidenced by the marks left on the ground, indicating the stones at first took up a larger space.
There was a shuttle bus we took from outside the exhibition room to the stones themselves. We quickly jogged around the stones trying to keep warm. There really appeared to be nothing else in the local vicinity. There were roads nearby but the landscape appeared to be flat. I wondered if this was always the case. One theory states no settlements to be apparent around The Stone Henge. It was instead a holy site. Used just for ceremonies and burials. If this was the case them it would have been just as barren as it felt today.
We spoke to a passionate gentleman who volunteered there. He taught us about the live’s of those in the neolithic period. He reminded us that people saw nature with the focus of the produce that could be obtained from it. They lived in the moment, hunting, gathering and surviving. With this in mind, I was reminded to do the same and live in the moment.
I left the Stone Henge thinking about how far technology has advanced since the Neolithic period. Would people’s lives have been harder or easier devoid of the internet?
From The Stone Henge you can drive to the Roman town Bath in around fifty minutes. Founded in 60 AD the city was built around the natural hot springs. In the 18 century many of its famous buildings we see today were erected.
We arrived with an hour left of sunlight. This was enough time to admire the spectacular architecture. We began by walking to the circus (a circular street of Georgian houses).
Then we walked to The Royal Crescent also a Georgian structure, a home for the elite.
As darkness fell it was time to reach our hotel, The Chainbridge Inn. Taking just an hour to reach we stopped off for a naughty Chinese takeaway before arriving. We also stopped by the Co-op to stock up on food supplies (breakfasts and lunches).