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Salisbury/Stonehenge on our own vs tour

Philly, PA
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Salisbury/Stonehenge on our own vs tour

I'm comparing doing this day trip on our own, vs on an organized tour. Looks like we can take a train from London to Salisbury & back for about £69 pp and then the Stonehenge tour loop for £22 pp.

Pros and Cons of each? Is the train ride a better experience than the 2 hr drive from London on motorcoach? Better to have more time to wander ourselves in Salisbury (and take our time listening to the audio tour) at Stonehenge itself than be on the schedule of a bus? Bus may be a bit cheaper?

Kent, UK
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1. Re: Salisbury/Stonehenge on our own vs tour

London Walks do a combined Stonehenge/Salisbury tour which costs £43 plus £14 (you can get a discount if you do several of their walks). You meet at a station then all go off together on a train (fare included). They always give you a bit of time to look around by yourself. Here's what they said when I asked about the itinerary of this walk:

"The way the Stonehenge and Salisbury Explorer Day works is as follows: we

take the train from central London to Salisbury. When we get to Salisbury

we explore it on foot. The Salisbury walking tour takes anywhere from an

hour to an hour and a half. Then there's a break for lunch. After lunch we

meet up again for the Stonehenge leg of the day. We charter a local coach to

get you out to Stonehenge. Which means that we get to call the shots as to

the route we take. Translation: we take the picturesque back country roads

to get out to Stonehenge. Unlike the big coach companies, London Walks

eschews the motorways! We spend about 45 minutes to an hour at Stonehenge.

Then it's back to Salisbury. When we get back to Salisbury you'll have about

an hour or so of free time...a chance to perhaps browse in a bookshop or go

to a museum or have a cup of tea or do some shopping or whatever. Then we

all meet up again and hop on the train and we're on our way back to London,

arriving here at about 6:30pm. Basically it makes for a fun, informative,

inexpensive outing. And - into the bargain - it also makes for a very

efficient use of your time."

I've done many of their London walks, and a couple of the ones further afield and I enjoyed them.

Edited: 31 January 2012, 18:56
Portland, Oregon
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2. Re: Salisbury/Stonehenge on our own vs tour

Beth,

I'm not sure where you got the train fare of £69 per person. According to the National Rail website you can get a same day (off peak) return for £34.80. For a random date in February that fare is available on trains leaving Waterloo at 8.50am and later, and returning on any train.

www.nationalrail.co.uk

England, United...
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3. Re: Salisbury/Stonehenge on our own vs tour

The £69.00pp fare is the price of 2 singles, where on this route return tickets are cheaper. An 'off-peak day return' (for travel on the 8.50 train or later from Waterloo) is £34.80pp. For travel before that, an 'anytime day return' is £37.80pp. You would then be free to do whatever you want, for how ever long you want (there is plenty to see and do in Salisbury). Though the London Walks tour also looks good.

http://www.southwesttrains.co.uk/

Edit: snap!

Edited: 31 January 2012, 19:17
London
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4. Re: Salisbury/Stonehenge on our own vs tour

It probably comes down to how confident you feel about doing it yourself via Salisbury (pretty straightforward) vs joining a group. Bear in mind the London walks tour only runs on certain days which may be the deciding factor.

walks.com/Assets/…202011-12_2.pdf

U.S. expats
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5. Re: Salisbury/Stonehenge on our own vs tour

Then there are also the half day coach tours, which is 29 pounds--and this includes entry.

londontoolkit.com/tours/premium_stonehenge.h…

Keep in mind that you'll likely spend close to four hours on the coach, and one at the stones. It's a lot of time. Only you can decide if it is worth it.

Illinois
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6. Re: Salisbury/Stonehenge on our own vs tour

I prefer to go on my own as then I can spend however long I want wherever I want. For the prices quoted, I would probably do an anytime day return so I could leave earlier as it gets dark early in Feb. You might consider taking a taxi to Stonehenge. Another poster reported it was £40-50 round trip (they had the guards at Stonehenge call when they were leaving, but I might get the number of the taxi you take out there) which would be cheaper than the bus if there were more than 2 of you, which I think I recall there are. I haven't done this, but it sounded pretty straightforward. I would think the other poster got the taxi at the train station as he was pressed for time.

U.S. expats
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7. Re: Salisbury/Stonehenge on our own vs tour

I enjoyed Stonehenge, but can't imagine staying longer than an hour. That's ample time to listen to the audio guide, take some photos, and enjoy the experience.

Illinois
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8. Re: Salisbury/Stonehenge on our own vs tour

I think we were there about an hour, but someone else just posted recently they spent 2.5 hours there. FWIW.

U.S. expats
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9. Re: Salisbury/Stonehenge on our own vs tour

2.5 hours is the exception, rather than the rule.

Philly, PA
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10. Re: Salisbury/Stonehenge on our own vs tour

Does the London Walks tour stop at Old Sarum too anyone know? I like the idea of taking the train rather than the bus. Going as a group sounds fun, but nice to know you aren't committed as if you purchased a full day tour ahead of time.