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A Day Trip to Stonehenge and Windsor

To be totally honest, I was not that excited about our trip to Stonehenge. I was already disappointed that we couldn’t visit Highclere Castle (aka Downton Abbey) as it wasn’t open for the season yet. My consolation prize was a trip to Windsor Castle, but I’ll get to that later in this post. 

I had heard so many negative things about Stonehenge. It’s far, it’s out of the way, it’s not worth it, blah blah blah. But my family really wanted to go and, hey, if you’re in England for more than a few days, you might as well take a few day trips from London right?

Day trips from London - Stonehenge and Windsor Castle

I’m going to say it now- I was wrong. I really enjoyed it!

Day trips from London - Stonehenge and Windsor Castle

Stonehenge is so much more than some pile of rocks. Yes, it is a pile of rocks, but there is so much history and mystery wrapped up in this little field in the middle of the English countryside, and you feel it when you’re there. 

Day trips from London - Stonehenge and Windsor Castle

 

Day trips from London - Stonehenge and Windsor Castle

This is my favorite photo, because I looked up and realized, “Oh, the stones line up!” Yeah, Ashley, that’s kind of the point…

If you’re thinking about a trip to Stonehenge, here are some things to know:

  • I recommend renting a car if you can, instead of taking the train/a tour bus out there. We were able to make our own schedule, stay only as long as we liked, and see other things on the way there and on the way back. It’s about an hour and a half-2 hours from London, so it’s a perfectly doable day trip. 
  • When you arrive at the visitor center/museum, you then get on a bus that takes you to the actual site. The buses run pretty often (every few minutes) so you just hop back on when you’re done.
  • There’s no information at the actual site, you just look at the stones. When you arrive back at the visitor center, you can visit the little museum inside and learn more about the site and it’s history. 

After our Stonehenge adventure, we headed to our next stop- Windsor Castle. I did pretty much zero research on this (which is very unlike me), so I had no idea…

Day trips from London - Stonehenge and Windsor Castle

That Windsor Castle is literally in the middle of the town of Windsor!

Day trips from London - Stonehenge and Windsor Castle

Sorry for the blur, I kept stopping to take so many photos and my family started to leave me behind. 

Day trips from London - Stonehenge and Windsor Castle

 

Day trips from London - Stonehenge and Windsor Castle

Windsor. Is. Awesome. I loved it. While you can’t take pictures inside, I took about a million of the outside and the grounds. The palace is huge, ancient, and impeccably decorated. You can visit the church on the grounds as well as about half of the palace. The other half seemed to be mostly private residences for the royal family where they could wander without tourists popping in and out.

And speaking of the queen….

Day trips from London - Stonehenge and Windsor Castle

We watched her get dropped off! A black Range Rover had pulled into the driveway, and my mom and I stood there staring at it from the window for a good 5 minutes while the guards chatted with the driver. Then, it turned a corner, and about 5 seconds later my parents saw a pair of Corgis being walked! I missed the dogs, unfortunately, but a guard who heard us freaking out told us that, indeed, that car was the queen getting dropped off. Of all the times to be at the castle, and the queen arrives!!

Day trips from London - Stonehenge and Windsor Castle

Aside from the guard telling us, we knew she had arrived because of the flag. If the queen is in residence, the Royal Standard flag will be flying. If she is not at home, the Union Jack will be flying. When we visited Buckingham Palace, she was home. When we first arrived at Windsor, the Royal Standard was flying. By the time we left, the flag had changed to let us know that she was home!

Day trips from London - Stonehenge and Windsor Castle

 

Day trips from London - Stonehenge and Windsor Castle

 

Day trips from London - Stonehenge and Windsor Castle

 

Day trips from London - Stonehenge and Windsor Castle

I 100% recommend a visit to Windsor. We spent some time wandering around the cute little town before heading back to London, and I fell in love. It was a perfect day spent in the country!

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