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How to Take a Day Trip from London to Stonehenge

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The United Kingdom is an incredible country loaded with beautiful sites. While visiting London, you might consider taking a detour and exploring surrounding cities and landmarks, such as the fascinating, world-famous Stonehenge in the English countryside in the southeast county of Wiltshire.

Suppose you’re a travel or history enthusiast considering traveling to Great Britain. In that case, Stonehenge is a well-known destination because it is one of the world’s most significant ancient historical landmarks.

Unsurprisingly, the iconic Stonehenge is among the most visited and fascinating tourist destinations in the United Kingdom.

One of the most amazing stone-age sites on the planet, it is a significant landmark that still stands in mystery as to why and how it was built and who went about building it.

Stonehenge is located about 90 miles southwest of London. The best way for tourists staying in Britain’s capital city to get there is by taking a day trip from London to Stonehenge. Several tour companies offer trips to Stonehenge, and most of them include transportation and admission to the site.

But for this article, we rented a car to tour Stonehenge, Salisbury, and Windsor Castle. Suppose London has given you a tantalizing taste of history, and you’re curious about more. In that case, you must not overlook this unique historical landmark on Salisbury Plain in southern England.

If you’re into the idea of ancient adventure, checking out the extraordinary, and love scenic travel, a Stonehenge tour from London is the best for you. Here’s everything you need to know for a day trip to Stonehenge from London

Getting to Stonehenge from London

Sign for Stonehenge on Highway Outside of London
Source: Adobe Stock

In order to start a journey to reach Stonehenge, there are several options available depending on your preferences. It is easy to get to Stonehenge from London, and there are several modes of public transport.

You can also rent a car and drive yourself or book specific guided tours, including transportation to and from Stonehenge. Here is a table comparing the different methods of transportation to get there:

Mode of TransportDetailsAdvantagesDisadvantages
Car RentalTravel Time: ~2 hours
Cost: £30-£100 per day (rental + fuel)
Flexibility: High
Convenience: Moderate
– Freedom to explore at your own pace
– Can visit other nearby attractions
– No fixed schedule
– Navigating unfamiliar roads
– Parking fees
– Potential traffic delays
TrainTravel Time: ~1.5 hours (London to Salisbury) + bus transfer
Cost: £30-£50 one-way
Flexibility: Low
Convenience: High
– Comfortable and relatively fast
– No driving required
– Fixed schedule
– Limited availability
– Need to transfer to bus or taxi
– Less flexibility
BusTravel Time: ~2-3 hours
Cost: £20-£40 round-trip
Flexibility: Low
Convenience: High
– Inexpensive
– No driving required
– Direct to Stonehenge
– Longer travel time
– Less comfortable
– Limited schedule
Guided TourTravel Time: ~6-8 hours (including stops)
Cost: £50-£100 per person
Flexibility: Low
Convenience: High
– No navigation or planning required
– Guided commentary
– Potential stops at other attractions
– Fixed schedule
– Large groups
– Limited time at Stonehenge

If you want to travel at your own pace, driving is best, but using public transportation is preferable to driving or participating in guided tours if you’re looking for ease and extra spending money.

Regarding public transportation, British trains are generally pretty good, and taking the train from London to Salisbury is one of the cheaper and more convenient options. Trains run about every hour, and the journey will only take an hour and a half.

If you’re traveling by rail from central London to Stonehenge, the best stop is Amesbury Train Station, about 5 miles from Stonehenge. Alternatively, take the direct train from London Waterloo to Salisbury Train Station, where regular bus shuttle services run from the station to the henge.

You may visit the mysterious site without hiring a car by taking a bus tour. Stonehenge bus tours depart from several locations throughout London and will transport you to the henge in two to three hours, depending on traffic and stops.

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Driving to Stonehenge

Driving

There are numerous advantages of planning to drive instead of taking guided excursions and using public transportation. But you might be curious how long the journey from London to Stonehenge takes.

Stonehenge is roughly 90 miles from London and, when driving, can be reached faster than buses or tour groups and around the same time on trains. To drive to the Stonehenge site, you’ll likely need to rent a car in London and navigate the historic landmark. 

The main advantage of hiring a vehicle is that it allows for much flexibility. If driving, you will have fewer problems keeping track of your group, won’t have individual train tickets to fret over, and have a level of privacy you don’t get with public transport.

Note that it is better to book a car and ticket to Stonehenge in advance to avoid travel inconveniences caused by traffic and ensure an easy entrance to the site.

The easiest route to Stonehenge is via artery highways, known as motorways or M roads, and smaller trunk roads, typically in the form of A roads. The easiest route from London to Stonehenge is taking the M25, exiting at junction 23, then following the A4.

Then, drive west on the A4 until you reach Salisbury. Take the A36 to Amesbury and follow the brown signs to Stonehenge. Expect to spend just over two hours on the road if you are driving. Traffic can have a significant impact on your travel time.

Also, make sure that you are comfortable driving in the UK. As well as driving on the other side of the road on the other side of the car, some road laws are a little different, and most cars will have a manual transmission, too.

Admission Tickets at Stonehenge

Entrance Walkway Towards Stonehenge
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

In order to access the site, you must first reserve a ticket for your visit to Stonehenge to admire it. Although you do not need to reserve your visit in advance, doing so will always result in the best pricing, guaranteed access, and fewer hassles on your travels if you do. If you prefer to pay your entrance fees on the day of your visit, the fee will be higher.

If you’ve booked ahead, you must also arrive within the 30-minute period you have reserved, after which you can stay as long as you want.

So, how much does a ticket to Stonehenge cost? 

Visitors approaching Stonehenge with traditional thatched-roof houses under a sunset sky.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Adults, small children, and teens pay various ticket rates, as do families that buy a package simultaneously. The prices range from £11.70 to £60, depending on the package. However, if you join a day trip excursion from London to Stonehenge, the cost may increase to £180. This price jump could depend on additional destinations included in the tour.

The day trip also depends on the number of hours or days of the tour you like to join. While participating in guided tours, you can learn about Stonehenge and other places you visited throughout the day from the stories and information shared by your tour guide.

It’s worth noting that there are Stonehenge tours from London that you can take that will include Stonehenge and the stunning historic city of Bath, which allows you to see the remains of ancient Roman baths via guided tour bus. Many tours also include the historic town of Windsor and the home to Windsor Castle, another property of the Royal Family.

Ultimately, guided tours from London are more expensive and will last longer, but it is the best way to learn about the henge and removes some of the headaches regarding getting to and from Stonehenge.

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Best Time to Visit Stonehenge

Close-up view of Stonehenge's ancient megaliths against serene sky
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

When contemplating a visit to these magnificent megaliths on Salisbury Plain, it is important to be aware of the best time to visit to avoid the crowds so you can take in their breathtaking beauty in a more peaceful atmosphere, as well as take the temperamental British weather into account.

The number of people who come to Stonehenge varies greatly depending on the day of the week and time of year they visit. If you’re visiting Stonehenge on your own and driving, arriving early in the morning is recommended, or as late in the afternoon as possible before closing time.

This allows you to tour around Stonehenge with fewer crowds and take advantage of more parking space. Some visitors arrive at Stonehenge at sunset to take in the breathtaking view of the sun setting in the southwest.  

For most of the year, the ideal time to visit and take in the wonder of Stonehenge is around 9:00 to 9:30 am. You’ll have enough sunlight to appreciate the henge and fewer visitors. In the summer, it’s worth trying a visit after 4 pm, and in the winter, visiting the monument in the early afternoon is preferable, with 2 pm being the sweet spot.

The summer months, from July to mid-September, are the busiest for visitors to the monument. Consequently, if you want to avoid long lines, crowds, or excessive sweating in the blazing sun, the ideal time to visit and marvel at the ancient stones is usually spring or autumn.

There’s a good(-ish) chance the weather will still be sunny and warm and not as bone-chillingly damp and cold as it is in the winter months.

Facilities near Stonehenge 

Close-up of Stonehenge
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Before visiting Stonehenge, it is a good idea to research what else you might find in the area and whether or not there are any facilities at the monument. In addition to the henge itself, there is also a Stonehenge Visitor Centre that is only a short distance away from Stonehenge. It’s easily accessible by road, and exhibitions, music events, and other activities are held here regularly. 

The Stonehenge Visitor Centre provides restrooms, baby changing rooms, free internet access, and a gallery containing around 300 ancient artifacts to examine and learn more about ancient life in the British Isles.

If you want to stay in the area while visiting Stonehenge, there are lots of options available. Whether you’re searching for townhouses, cottages, BnBs, or hotels in Wiltshire, you’ll be able to discover something that fits your preferences and budget. Camping near Stonehenge is also possible as there are several camping and caravan sites nearby.

Try to solve the mysteries of Stonehenge

Stonehenge Stones

Located on the Salisbury Plain in the county of Wiltshire in the southwest English countryside, Stonehenge is one of the world’s most famous ancient archaeological sites, originally comprised of approximately 80 megaliths.

Like the Statue of Liberty, the Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower, and the Great Pyramid, Stonehenge is an iconic tourist monument instantly recognizable upon arrival. Unlike them, however, no one knows what it was built for.

Although there are many theories, the site’s real purpose is a mystery and likely will be forever— no one truly knows why or how the circle was constructed in the first place or even how the stones got there.

Take a guided walking tour or the complimentary walking tour one of the day tours offers while you are there to hear about many of the stories about this worldwide phenomenon.

According to archeologists, the stones were most likely taken about 140 miles away from Wales. That may not seem like much now, but remember that each of these big rocks weighs 40 tons and was dragged on sleds without wheels over 5000 years ago. Oof.

A guided Stonehenge tour from London will not only take you to the stones but also allow you to hear theories and discuss the mysteries surrounding the henge.

The history and function of mystical Stonehenge

Spot of the Mid-Winter Solstice in Stonehenge
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Researchers believe England’s most renowned prehistoric ruin was created in various stages, with the earliest being built more than 5,000 years ago. Stonehenge was constructed in an area Mesolithic and Neolithic peoples had already inhabited before its construction. Common theories conclude that there were six steps to the construction process.

The first stage was constructed between 3000 and 2935 BC, the second tier between 2640 and 2480 BC, the third stage took place between 2470 and 2280 BC, and the fourth to the final stages took place between 2280 and 1520 BC.

Stonehenge has the same religious significance as Mecca for the Druid or “Wicca” community in Britain. The most popular accepted theory is that Stonehenge may have been used as a site for astronomical observations, such as monitoring the movements of the Sun, Moon, stars, and other solar neighbors, and utilized for calculating the farming calendar.

Alternatively, it is believed to be a possible location dedicated to the realm of Druid ancestors. It was a sacred area isolated from the living world or a healing sanctuary.

It is also believed to have been utilized as a ceremonial site to commemorate and possibly spiritually communicate with dead ancestors or engage in animal sacrifice. Significant archaeological findings have shown that Stonehenge was used as a burial ground for a portion of its existence.

Check out the historic city of Salisbury

Aerial View of Salisbury, England
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

A day trip to Stonehenge is not complete without checking Salisbury. Only a stone’s throw from Stonehenge, Salisbury is your best stop to get acquainted with the region’s glorious past and engaging culture. 

On the journey to visit Stonehenge, it is worth stopping by Salisbury. It’s a cathedral city of timeless beauty and compelling history, welcoming guests and travelers since 1227 AD. Salisbury Cathedral, located in the heart of the city, is a must-see attraction while in town. It is the most prominent landmark in town, attracting visitors for centuries.

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to one of the original copies of the Magna Carta, arguably the most significant political document in history. Aside from taking in the splendor of the cathedral, there are plenty of other activities to do in the town of Salisbury.

You will have the opportunity to learn about the town’s intriguing history, participate in entertaining activities, sample the amazing food, and enjoy this charming medieval city’s creative and surprising traditions. Visit the Salisbury Museum and Arundells, the former residence of Prime Minister Ted Heath, to learn more about the region.

Other sights in Salisbury include Mompesson House, a lovely home built in 1565 that is now used as a museum, and the Rifles Berkshire and Wiltshire Museum, dedicated to the historic infantry regiments from Berkshire and Wiltshire counties, as well as one of several museums dedicated to their descendant light infantry regiment, The Rifles.

A Stonehenge Day Trip from London or joining one of the many London Stonehenge tours is unquestionably one of the most memorable experiences you can have while visiting the United Kingdom.

A day trip to Stonehenge is a worthwhile experience, and the ride there through England’s gorgeous countryside is particularly remarkable. It is a beautiful escapade from the hustle and bustle of London, and your journey could include super stops at scenic locations, historic sites, and museums.

If you are planning a visit to the United Kingdom, consider taking a day trip to the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge from London in your schedule for your next itinerary. 

If you’d like to learn more, be sure to follow us on Instagram via our handle @viatravelers or check out the ViaTravelers YouTube channel for more guides like these.

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FAQ

Is Stonehenge worth the trip from London?

Stonehenge is worth the trip from London, as there are trains and buses which you can take to get there. It’s around 90 miles away, so allow about 3 hours for the journey by bus or train.

Stonehenge is a stone ring of standing stones that was built in what we now know as England over 5,000 years ago and was then rediscovered in 1620 by archaeologists looking for stone blocks with inscriptions.

Stonehenge day trips from London involve taking trains or buses to get there because it’s around 80 miles away and will take up to 3 hours because of the travel time.

Can you see Bath and Stonehenge in one day?

Yes, you may see them both in one day. Getting to your first stop will take around 2 hours and £197 ($262) for a Stonehenge and Bath tour. Continue on the coach bus from Stonehenge for another 2 hours to reach London, costing about £240 ($317). Some all-inclusive packages cost around £437 (or $581) for the whole day. You should return to London at 9 pm.

How do I get from London to Stonehenge and Bath?

You can easily take a day trip from London to Stonehenge and the Roman city of Bath.

Take the train/bus/coach: Trains run from London Waterloo directly to Salisbury Train Station every thirty minutes from 6:30 am, and the fastest train takes 1 hour 22 minutes. It takes 2 hours and 20 minutes by National Express coach service to get from London Victoria coach station in Central London to Bath town center.

Drive: If you want to go by car, a round trip will take approximately 5 hours and 45 minutes drive time with light traffic.

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