Stone Henge is one of the iconic places I see in history books since I was in elementary. It has been a dream to visit this marvelous place. Thus, when I had the opportunity last week to visit United Kingdom, I made sure that I, see, picture, and feel the location.
When I was searching for Stone Henge tours, I observe they normally tie it up with another tourist destination. From Stone Henge, the other tourist spots are only few hours away. So, in this trip, I grabbed the opportunity of discovering Bath too. At first, I really do not have any idea about Bath. I just got hooked at the brochure saying that Bath has Europe’s best preserved Roman temple and bathing complex.
So, here it is. 25 Things To Do in Stone Henge and Bath!
1.) Book thru Anderson tours
I had a very nice experience with my tour provider, Anderson tours. Less hassle on queuing up for entrance tickets to the Stone Henge and Roman Bath Houses as they already have it for you. There is also a higher chance that your professional tour guide or driver speaks another language apart from English. For example, our tour guide Giovanna, who finished History and Arts Studies also speaks Italian. Less hassle on non-english speakers. If you speak Russian or Polish, you can also feel free to chat with the professional driver Greg. It is a luxury travel on their vehicles with their professional guides. A great value for your money.
It is also an advantage if your hotel is nearby to their tour pick ups: London Bridge (7.30am), Kings Cross (7.55am), Baker Street (8.10am), Victoria (8.25am), South Kensington (8.50am) Earls Court (9.00am), Hammersmith (9.15am).
2.) Know more about the Stone Henge
Stone Henge still has many different meanings to people today. Some still believe that it was formed by aliens. But I believe to science that the Stone Circle is actually a masterpiece of engineering. Building it would have taken huge efforts from hundreds of well-organised neolithic people using only simple tools and technologies. What a thrill to find out that 42 of Stone Henge’s smaller stones, known as blue stones, actually came from Preseli hills in Pembrokeshire, west Wales which is technically 180miles away from this site.
The Stone Henge was likely built to track the movement of the sun, moon, and stars thousand years ago. A scientific analysis of the position and orientation of the stones, compared with well-known astronomical alignments, has revealed a strong alignment with the movements of the sun and moon in particular.
There are actually a lot of similar stone structures like Stone Henge around the UK. As these stone structures are actually used as astronomical tools, you can also find similar stone structures in Avebury. Around the world, you can also check Dolmens of North Caucasus in Russia, Dromberg Stone Circle in Ireland, Rujm el-Hiri in Israel, Carnac Stones in France, Taulas of Menorca, Spain, Rollright Stones in England, and Callanish Stones in Scotland. (BUT, Stone Henge is still very dear to me though)
3.) Stand in the location of the Midwinter Sunset
The Stone Henge famously aligns to the Summer Solstice (longest daylight time) and Winter solstice (shortest daylight time). Astronomer Gerald Hawkin’s famous paper of Stone Henge in 1965 identified 165 separate points at Stone Henge that could be linked to astrological phenomena – including the two solstices and equinoxes, as well as lunar and solar eclipses.
4.) Check out the nearby thousand-year-old burial sites!
Thousand years ago, many people thought that Stone Henge is somewhat an apparition from the Gods. Thus, some rich ancient people even requested to be buried near The Stone Henge. Look at those burial mounds!
Now, it had been a difficulty to archaeologists to find out what time exactly those remains have lived because some nasty dumb-ass excavated the remains to get the wealth normally included when someone is buried at that time. If you have a background on Carbon dating technology, you may get a difficulty of finding out the exact time frame if some dumb-ass excavated such mound. The depth of the ground where these ancient people have been buried may no longer be accurate.
5.) Wear your national costume
I should dub myself as the First Filipino to wear Barong in the Stone Henge! It is such an effort and I bet I am the first Filipino to wear it in Stone Henge!
6.) Buy some souvenirs
They have a souvenir shop selling novelty items like these pots, t-shirts, jackets, ref magnets with the pictures of Stone Henge!
7.) Try how they set up the Stone Henge!
The Management team handling the Stone Henge set up an engineering model where you can try by yourself how these lovely Neolithic people brought those towns uphill.
8.) Visit the Neolithic Houses
Step inside the reconstructed houses and chat to the museum volunteers how the people of Stone Henge may have lived. I thought, thatched roofs are only native in the Pacific. Nice to know that such materials are actually used as well in the ancient times here in Europe.
9.) See the Stone Henge exhibition
Featuring more than 250 archaeological objects and a 360 audio-visual experience, it offers exciting clues into the history of Stone Henge.
10.) Meet the Stone Henge Man
This man buried near the Stone Henge more than 5,000 years ago, would have known Stone Henge well. He was excavated by Dr. John Thurman in 1864. Chemical Analysis of this man reveals that he died at the age of 25-40 years old between 3630-3360 BC. His height is 1.72m, weight 70kg, and he is right-handed.
11.) Chat with your friends in Stone Henge Cafe
Enjoy a hot chocolate in winter or an ice cream in summer. They’ve got tasty treats for all dietary requirements and lunch boxes for the kids.
12.) Check-out the Roman Baths
Although there are a lot of Roman Baths in Italy, Europe’s best preserved Roman temple and bathing complex is actually here in Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom.
The swimming bath is just one part of the Roman site, which included extensive baths and a major temple of Sulis Minerva (patron goddess), built around the Hot Spring.
Above is the terrace completed in 1897 when the Roman Baths opened to the public. There are 9 statues mounted in the terrace. The statues are Roman governors of the province of Brittania, as Britain was known, and Roman emperors with particular connections to Britain- Julius Caesar, Claudius (Emperor), Vespasian (Emperor), Ostorius Scapula (Governor), Suetonius Paulinus (Governor), Julius Agricola (Governor), Head of Roma (symbolising the spirit of Rome), Hadrian (Emperor), and Constantine the Great (Emperor).
Currently, this Roman Bath can no longer be used for bathing. But, there are modern sites you can visit in Bath. You may visit the Thermae Bath Spa which now houses the only natural thermal hot springs in Britain. Take a dip in its rooftop pool to enjoy a sensational 360-degree view of the city.
13.) Bring a companion with you to make sure you have good photos
It was a struggle being a solo tourist asking someone to take your picture. And the worst part, after efforts of asking, they’ll give back your phone with below photo.
14.) Familiarize yourself on how ancient people bath thru the Roman Bath Museum
Mixed bathing was often practiced in the earlier Roman times. Later on though, they were allowed to bathe simultaneously but separately. Women to the east. Men to the West.
The relaxing smells of massage oils, sweat and steam greeted bathers as they entered the large heated rooms. The poor and the bourgeois all used the baths together. Attendants can be available to help with the food and drink and slaves accompanied the rich, fetching and carrying and protecting their belongings.
People scraped their oiled skin clean with a curved metal strigil, had their armpits plucked by an alipulus and ate snacks such as oysters, sausages and bread.
In all this activity, there was order. People moved from changing room (apodyterium) to a warm room (tepidarium) to the hottest room (caldarium). There were also shallow bathing pools (sudatoria), two small deep immersion pools (balnea), and a large cool swimming bath (natatio).
15.) Drink the Spa Water!
Many believe that drinking the Spa Water gives you luck and wonderful health benefits. I must warn though that the taste is not that nice.
The fashion for drinking the spa water arose from new medical ideas in the late 1600s. This fountain was opened in the early 1700s to provide a place to drink the waters. Nowadays, you can still drink it for free. For most visitors a pint or two was sufficient, but as much as a gallon a day could be prescribed.
There are 43 minerals in the water, including calcium, sulphate, sodium, and chloride. The iron content gives the characteristic staining around the baths and contributes to the water’s distinctive flavour. The mineral content is 2.18 grammes per litre.
In medieval times a cure for conditions such as paralysis, colic, palsy, and gout was sought from bathing in and drinking spa water. Many 18th-century records from Bath Mineral Water Hospital show that patients came to Bath solely for this purpose.
Bath spa’s geological source is from the rains up to 10,000 years ago on the nearby Mendip hills. Driven down through carboniferous limestone cave systems, the water reaches depths of two to three kilometers. The water penetrates overlying strata of impermeable Lias clay and rises at three points in Bath: King’s Spring, Cross Bath Spring and Hetling Spring. The greatest source is the King’s Spring in the Roman Baths. Here the flow is 13 liters per second, or 1.1 million liters (250,000 gallons) per day. The water temperature is 46 C (115 F). Bath is the only source of natural hot spring water in the UK.
16.) Join the Jane Austen Walking Tour
One of the famous British writers, Jane Austen, has lived for a while in Bath. There is actually a group dedicated on preserving memories of Jane Austen here. They offer free walking tours pointing to you some places memorable for Jane Austen.
17.) Roam around historic parks and buildings
Bath has a stunning honey-coloured Georgian architecture. I walked around the area and I did not get bored. I loved seeing those lovely architectures which in fact, are already world heritage sites. On your walk, you may also visit the Prior Park Landscape Garden, the Kennet and Avon Canal.
18.) Pray at the Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey was founded as a Benedictine monastery in the 8th century AD. There are 11 Things You Can See from the Bath Abbey. First, bird’s eye view of the city on a tower tour by climbing 212 steps of the Bath Abbey’s tower. Second, once-in-a-lifetime conservation work in action on a Behind the Scenes Tour of The Footprint Project. The Footprint Project repairs the Abbey’s unique floor and provide new opportunities for people to learn, volunteer, and engage with the Abbey. The graphics screening the building work were created by students from Bath Spa University. Third, Memorials. There are 635 memorials on the Abbey’s walls. Most commemorate people from the 1700s and 1800s. Through the memorials, we learn about their lives, loves, and belief in the Christian hope of resurrection (life after death). Fourth, Walled Tomb. Sir William Waller’s memorial to his first wife Jane (d.1633). William Waller fought for parliament in the English Civil War (1642-51). After the Battle of Lansdown (near Bath) in 1643, Waller’s troops sheltered in the Abbey. Fifth, Ledgerstones. The Abbey floor is made up of 891 flat grave stones called ledgerstones. Sixth, King Edgar Window. The window shows the crowning of Edgar as the first King of all England at the Saxon monastery in 973. He is known as King Edgar the Peaceful. Seventh, The Great East Window. It was completed in 1873 and repaired after World War II, it tells the story of Jesus in 56 scenes. Eighth, Birde’s Chantry Chapel. It was built by Prior William Birde (d. 1525) as a place for prayers to be chanted for his soul. It continues to be a place of quiet, reflection, and prayer. Ninth, Fan Vaulted Ceiling. It was created in the 1500s by the king’s master masons. Tenth, West Window. It was completed in 1894, the window tells the stories of the first five books of the Bible. Eleventh, the West Front. It represents the dream of Bishop Oliver King that led him to replace the ruined Norman Cathedral with the present Abbey in 1499.
19.) Visit the statue of King Baldud
King Bladud was the legendary king of the Britons. There was a tale about him, where he had a skin disease, and because of that forsaken by people. After bathing in Bath, his skin disease disappeared. His statue is over that park. It was raining so I did not get a time to see. Perhaps, this would be a nice reason of visiting Bath again!
20.) Visit Other Museums if you still have time
Lose yourself in Bath’s remarkable collection of museums and galleries.-Beck ford’s Tower, The Holborn Museum, Fashion Museum, No.1 Royal Crescent, Victoria Art Gallery, Museum of East Asian Art, Museum of Bath Architecture, American Museum & Gardens, Herschel Museum of Astronomy, Museum of Bath at Work, Old Theatre Royal and Masonic Museum.
21.) Enter Bath’s Restaurants and Pubs
Because it is a tourist spot, Bath is overflowing with places to eat and drink- The Huntsman, The Crystal Palace, Circo Bar & Lounge, Sub13, The Boater, The Italian Food Hall, Noya’s Kitchen, The LockInn Cafe, No.15 Great Pulteney, Jane Austen Regency Tea Rooms, Garrick’s Head, King William, The Firehouse Rotisserie, Hudson Steakhouse, Miller & Carter, The Scallop Shell, Hare & Hounds, The Chequers, The Huntsman, Bath Brew House, Bistrot Pierre, Chez Dominique, Yum Yum Thai, Thai Balcony, The Eastern Eye, Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen, Cascara, Sally Lunn Historic Eating House, The Dower House & Afternoon Tea Garden.
22.) Enjoy Other Business Establishments
Enjoy some of the finest independent shops in Britain-Century Casino, Walcot Street and Artisan Quarter, Noha’s Art, VV Rouleaux, Topping & Company, Jolly’s, Milsom Place, The Corridor, Nicholas Wylde, Silver Shop of Bath, Bath Gin Company, Bath Aqua Glass, The Makery, Julia Davey Ceramics, Newton Farm Shop, Castle Combe Circuit, Bath Balloons, Bailey Balloons, Bath Open-Top Sightseeing, Antique Textiles and Lighting, Bath Soft Cheese, Bertinet Bakery, Beaux Arts, Brora, Chanii B, Charlotte Brunswick, Duo Boots, EP Mallory Jewellers, Eurochange, Farrow & Ball, Frontlinestyle, Gallery Nine, Gillards of Bath Ltd, Gold & Platinum Studio Ltd, Grace & Ted, Graham & Green, Great Western Wine Company, Harvest Natural Foods, Icarus Jewellery, Jody Cory Goldsmiths, Kitchen’s Bookshop, Mail Boxes Etc, Miles Mann, Neal’s Yard Remedies, Noha’s Art, Paxton & Whitfield, Radiance Wellbeing, Robert Welch Designs, Rosters of Bath, Sofa.com, T2 Tea, The Fine Cheese Co, The San Francisco Fudge Factory, The Thoughtful Bread Co, Verve Living, Waller & Wood, Whittard of Chelsea, Yves Delorme.
23.) Book Overnight Accommodations
It would be nice to spend a night in Bath. You can advise Anderson tours that you will not go back to London with them. Book at Country Living Lansdown Grove Hotel, 1 Hot Bath Street, The Royal Crescent Hotel, Halcyon Apartments, Eight in Bath, Abbey Hotel, Tracy Park, Combe Grove, Francis Hotel Bath- Mgallery by Sofitel, Grove Lodge, Best Western Plus Centurion Hotel, Harington’s Hotel, Bailbrook House Hotel, Best Western Limply Stoke Hotel, Best Western Leigh Park Hotel and Vineyard, Hiplets, Bath Holiday Rentals, Church Farm Country Cottages, New Leaf Farm, Dream Stays Bath, Bailbrook Lodge, Swallow Barn, Stay in Somerset, Marlborough House, Walton’s Guesthouse, Greyfield Farm Cottages, Tasburgh House, No.15 Great Pulteney.
24.) Go back to Bath for other year-round festivals!
Go back to Bath for its other year-round festivals– Bath Christmas Market, Bath Bachfest, Bath Comedy Festival, The Bath Festival, Bath Fringe, Pub in the Park, Bath Carnival, Bath Summer Fair, Jane Austen Festival, Bath Children’s Literature Festival, FilmBath Festival, Bath Mozartfest.
25.) Hop to other tourist spots near Bath
Hop to other tourists spots near Bath— Dyrham Park, Tyntesfield, Longleat Safari Park, Cheddar Gorge & Caves, Haynes International Motor Museum, Corsham, The Royal Mint Experience, Avon Valley Railway.
I really enjoyed this Stone Henge and Bath experience with Anderson Tours. If you are interested for the same wonderful experience, you can visit their site here: https://andersontours.co.uk/?content=tour&tour=5389
For more pictures about Stone Henge and Bath, you can follow me on my instagram page (@travellingpeoplesdotcom)