Stonehenge, Old Sarum and Salisbury before heading to Guildford for dinner
Salisbury Travel Blog› entry 16 of 18 › view all entries
The day had just begun! And today was an important day because I would be seeing 2 attractions that have a long standing reputation in history, and are fairly close to London and yet had missed them on all these trips. And the other common feature between them both - they're both prehistoric Britain.
The first stop was Stonehenge. Seriously, what can I say that hasn't been said about this place? It's one of those "love it or hate it, you can't ignore it" kind of places. I was quite weary about this place. So much has been said, so many people have expressed opinions, I was kind of scared to finally see it in person. Will I like it or not? If I say I hate it, it means I don't care for history or I'm being one of those that think it's cool to hate Stonehenge? Or.
Driving to Stonehenge, you kind of see it on the main road itself so the entry wasn't all that dramatic so to speak. But the one thing that all books say is true - it's always crowded. The only time I've associated crowds with a field is after some sport, and people are going home. There was even an "overflow car park"!! It was very chilly and my dad forgot his sweater in the car, so I had to lend him mine and I was already feeling chilly before it even began. Anyway we paid our ticket (my GOD the place is crowded), and made our way through to the circle. You have to walk through a basement tunnel kind of thing before climbing the stairs....et voila...there IT IS!
So what did I think of the place? I f**king loved it! You only have to stand on this field - the wind - the stones.
But it wasn't just the stones that seemed to be catching everyone's attention. It was 2 other things - the cows on the field by the carpark, and birds near the tea shop. It sounds quite silly saying cows were an attraction, but there were SO MANY of them in this area. All fat, well fed, as we reached the carpark, I thought my dad and I were the only ones that found this strangely fascinating but as it turns out, lots of people were snapping away.
Old Sarum: This is about 2 miles on the outskirts of Salisbury, and Sarum was supposed to be a walled town in the Middle ages starting from the Iron Age. There were tons of things here including a cathedral, community hall, kitchen, etc but all that's left of today is just ruins where the magnificent town once lay. If you hadn't done your homework on what you're seeing, then it would've struck you as boring - just grass and stones.
Salisbury aka New Sarum, yep, everyone knows the city from the Cathedral built here. I'd visited the Cathedral 2 years ago, and I didn't have my best trip that day. What was supposed to be a day trip covering Salisbury and the above 2 attractions quickly ended up as afternoon tea and a burger and a tired and boring experience in the Cathedral. The reason that trip flopped was because of rail work, I ended up going by bus for half the journey and was just too tired to enjoy the town.
I had a problem finding a carpark, evntually did and we went walking to the Cathedral. There was some construction going on and part of the facade was coverd up in scaffolding - apparently this year is the 750th Anniversary of the Cathedral. I wish they'd finished the construction earlier - we were RIGHT in time for autumn, and I'm a sucker for autumn and old Iron Age buildings, but this got in the way.
We didn't visit the Cathedral - my parents said they didn't want to, and I'd seen it. But we did go to the tea room in it, I had cream tea (surprise surprise), and we left the Cathedral around 4pm headed to the city. Our original idea was to go to Winchester but we didn't.
We left around 5pm, headed to a place near Guildford to meet a friend of mine for dinner. I was happy that I was finally on a motorway and I could speed away. We reached our friend's house around 630pm right in time for some shepherd's pie followed by trifle for dessert. Very well done overall, and it was nice seeing her after 2 months, and meeting her family for the first time. Left their house by 8pm and headed to London. I normally don't complain about driving, but the drive back was really really tiring.
I liked Heathrow Connect, and I think it's worth the price. Its half of Heathrow Express, rather less than half and only 15 minutes longer. Paddington...aah! great to be here again. Our hotel was in the same area as the last one in 2005. We checked in around 10pm. We had a very bad experience however, which I will talk about in my review of the hotel. But we, at least I was dog tired. I don't even believe I got into my night clothes...just slept!