Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours

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DISCOVER THE GREAT WEST WAY: PRIVATE GUIDED TOURS / TRANSFERS 2019

The Great West Way is a new sightseeing route, stretching between London and Bristol. It follows a 125 mile route based on the one of the first Great Roads commissioned by the Kings of England.

Get off the beaten track to discover the towns and villages that make up this diverse meandering path through southern England.

It’s for slow travellers just as interested in the journey, and the colourful characters encountered along the way. And the big adventures that lead to unexpected diversions. The long-awaited pilgrimage to Stonehenge, perhaps, that leads to the secret stones of Avebury and 4,000 years of history you never knew existed. It’s about saying yes to new experiences and delighting in smaller, simple, special things – as well as the superlatives

The Great West Way Touring Route

5 reasons to visit the new Great West Way from London to Bristol
The Great English Countryside
The stately homes (and impressive castles)
The vibrant and varied culture
Cosy pubs
The picture-perfect villages

We offer private customised guided tours / transfers departing from London, Salisbury, Bath and Bristol following the Great West Way. These are ideal for individuals, families and small groups visiting the area. Our custom guided tours can be full day, overnight or even 3 – 5 day tours. We have many years experience and would be delighted to assist with your travel plans. Drop us an email with group size, anticipated travel dates and we wll send some options and prices.

Great West Road Links:
Visit Britain
DISCOVER THE GREAT WEST WAY
Visit Wiltshire
Wanderlust

The Stonehenge Travel and Tour Company
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
The Local Experts

Visit Salisbury Cathedral and Medieval City this Christmas.

Centred on a majestic cathedral that’s topped by the tallest spire in Europe, Salisbury makes an appealing Wiltshire base. It’s been an important provincial city for more than a 1000 years, and its streets form an architectural timeline ranging from medieval walls and half-timbered Tudor town houses to Georgian mansions and Victorian villas.

xmAS-S-2019Whilst visiting Salisbury this Christmas, be sure to explore this truly beautiful city and all that it has to offer.

Set in the centre of the beautiful City of Salisbury, The Salisbury Christmas Market is a wonderful collection of artisan products, festive gifts and tantalizing food and drink from across the South West.

This year we are also delighted to announce our all-weather real ice rink will be situated alongside our Christmas Market, bringing great festive fun for all ages.

Come and join us for a truly Christmas in Salisbury festive experience

Visit the Salisbury Christmas website for full details

From Darkness to Light Illuminations at Salisbury Cathedral

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This Advent and Christmas Salisbury Cathedral and Close will be transformed inside and outside, with illuminated art installations on the West Walk, in the North Porch, on the Cloister Garth and in the Cathedral itself.

Visitors approaching the Cathedral via the West walk will encounter Light Wave by Squidsoup, the team behind Enlightenment, the stunning installation that hung in the North Porch during our Magna Carta celebrations in 2015. This immersive walk-through experience comprises 500 light and audio spheres, suspended in a 20-metre wave formation, which softly glow and play plainsong creating a dreamlike experience.

Approaching the Cathedral from the High Street Gate, a neon installation entitled I Will Turn Darkness Into Light, inspired by scripture and installed above the North Porch Gates, will welcome visitors with its simple promise of hope.

On the Cloister Garth, Lumen by David Ogle RBS, will sit among the grand Cedars that were planted to commemorate Queen Victoria’s ascension to the throne. This installation of 5 tree-like structures will form a luminous canopy of interlocking neon branches up to 3 metres high which will bathe the stone arches with a vibrant glow.

Suspended inside the Cathedral you will find The Light, a 4-metre illuminated globe created by Richard McLester and his Poole-based studio team, which projects a galaxy of stars that whirl and spin around it until finally focusing on the ‘Star of Bethlehem’, the symbol of Christ’s birth.   Join us for an evening of immersive music at the Songs of the Light Concert.  Please see here for more information.

Visit the Salisbury Cathedral website for full details

TOUR OPTIONS:

Day tours from London visiting Salisbury 

Stonehenge Winter Solstice and Salisbury Christmas Market Tour from London

Private guided sightseeing tours of Salisbury and Stonehenge

Visit Wiltshire Website

The Stonehenge Travel and Tour Company
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
The Local Experts

 

2019 Stonehenge Special Access Tours: Go beyond the fences and into the inner circle with a local expert guide. Salisbury, Bath, Southampton and London departures.

Experience the magic and mystery of Stonehenge with a private access tour at sunrise or sunset on our exclusive private guided tours from Salisbury, Bath, Southampton or London. Guests will be able to access the historic stone circle, and explore the surrounding area rich in history, myths and legends

“Exclusive entry into the stone circle allows you to wonder in and around the heritage site and experience an up close and personal look at this iconic monument.”

Stonehenge sunrise access tour

Stonehenge at sunrise on a private guided tour from Salisbury. A unique photo opportunity and magical experience

Click here to view our exclusive small group 2019 Stonehenge sunset tours

The Stonehenge Travel Company, based in Salisbury are widely considered as the local megalithic experts. Established in the 1990’s and approved by Visit Wilsthire

Salisbury, Bath and London tour departures throughout 2019: Perfect for individuals, couples, families and small groups.  Experience an up close look at Stonehenge with a private viewing and exclusive entry into the inner circle in 2019. Our Stonehenge private tours enable you to depart from Salisbury and be dropped off after your tour in Bath, London, Southampton or any other UK destination giving the ultimate flexibility, reducing your travel costs and maximising your UK sightseeing.

“After traveling thousands of miles to England to experience Stonehenge, make the journey truly worth while with a professional driver-guide and local expert.”

Email us today for advance availability and travel options: tours@stonehengetravel.co.uk

The Stonehenge Travel and Tour Company
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
The Local Experts

Prehistoric Burials and Artifacts Unearthed in Wiltshire

LARKHILL GARRISON, ENGLAND—Prehistoric burials were uncovered duringEngland-Larkhill-Garrison construction work at a military base located about a mile and a half from Stonehenge, according to a report in Salisbury Journal. One of the burials contained the remains of an infant who had been placed in a grave dug in an existing ditch. “Prehistoric pottery was found in the ditch fill which sealed the grave, which suggests the burial was also prehistoric,” said archaeologist Ruth Panes of Wessex Archaeology. A second body was identified as a male aged between 15 and 17 at the time of death. A third had been buried in a crouched position, probably sometime between 2400 and 1600 B.C. Postholes from a roundhouse measuring about 14 feet in diameter were also revealed, as well as prehistoric pits and ditches, and worked flint. The excavators said they think the area under investigation was once a woodland, since they have uncovered a large number of hollows formed by fallen or removed trees. More recent features include five zig-zag-shaped air-raid trenches, and the foundations of three military buildings that probably date to World War II. For more, go to “Quarrying Stonehenge.”

Read the full article (source) on the Archaeology Website

Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
The Stonehenge Travel and Tour Company
http://www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

Massive Wooden Fire Monument Is Older Than Stonehenge

Carbon dating shows that the site dates back to 3300 B.C.

Sonehenge, the iconic Neolithic site in Wiltshire, England, has intrigued researchers for generations. In recent decades, however, archaeologists have found that Stonehenge isn’t the only ancient megastructure in that area—in fact there are a lot, including Woodhenge, the Southern Circle and Durrington Walls’ recently discovered “super-henge”. Now, new research is putting the spotlight on another monument: an ancient structure consisting of two giant wooden circles, located 23 miles away in Avebury, which predates Stonehenge by 800 years, reports the BBC.

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Aerial view of the wooden circle site (Historic England)

Researchers used bits of charcoal collected from the site 30 years ago to carbon date the structure to 3,300 B.C. Tia Ghose at LiveScience reports that researchers are not certain exactly what the circles were used for, but they were palisades constructed of thousands of logs that were purposely burnt down, perhaps in some sort of fire ritual. The research appears in the magazine British Archaeology.

“The date of 3300 B.C. puts the palisades in a completely different context; it’s the end of the early neolithic, when there’s a blank in our knowledge of the big monuments of the time,” Alex Bayliss, an archaeologist with Historic England, tells Simon de Bruxelles at The Times. “We have an entirely new kind of monument that is like nothing else ever found in Britain.”

Ghose reports that the site was originally found sometime in the 1960s or 1970s when a pipeline was laid in the area. It wasn’t until the late 1980s, though, the area was partially excavated. Researchers found the charred remains of the two circles, one of which was 820 feet in diameter. In total, the enclosures were made of over 4,000 trees and stretched an incredible 2.5 miles. Bayliss says it’s possible that one of the circles was for men and one for women during the fire ritual.

Constructing the monuments was no easy undertaking. The builders would have dug massive trenches, fitting oak posts into holes in the bottom. Then they would have then refilled the trenches to make the palisade.

Ghose reports that during the first excavation, researchers dated a shard of pottery to the time Stonehenge was constructed. Other finds in the area also indicated that it was in use during that time. But advances in carbon dating led to the new findings.

Mike Pitts, editor of British Archaeology, tells de Bruxelles that the new date is sure to stir up debate. “Having this massive palisade structure, not just at Avebury but even in southern England, at 3300 B.C. is completely unexpected,” he says. “The dates are so surprising some archaeologists are going to question it.”

Ghose reports that animal bones, pottery and remains of housing show that people occupied the site and nearby areas for centuries after burning the great circles, which is consistent with historical patterns in England during those times.

Join us on a guided tour of Stonehenge and Avebury and learn more about this important discovery

Stonehenge and Avebury Guided Tours
The local Stonehenge Experts
http://www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

Ancient Britain in a day. Exploring Prehistoric Wiltshire

The American travel writer Bill Bryson once wrote:

“Impressive as Stonehenge is, there comes a moment somewhere about 11 minutes after your arrival when you realize you’ve seen pretty well as much as you care to, and you spend another 40 minutes walking around the perimeter rope looking at it out of a combination of politeness, embarrassment … .”

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Avebury Stone Circle. Image: Tharik Hussain

In many ways, Bill is spot on. The first time I visited England’s most iconic ancient site, I too had set aside a couple of hours to “take in,” “absorb,” “immerse” and “feel” the mystical stone circles that adorn the cover of almost every guidebook to Britain, and then, just like Bill, about 11 minutes in I looked at my watch, then back up at the huge stones and began to wonder what I should do next.
That’s the problem with ancient stones. Besides staring at them for a while, there really isn’t much else to do.
Fortunately, Stonehenge is in an area littered with ancient monuments that bring prehistoric Britain to life, and as spectacular as it is, Stonehenge is certainly not the only ancient site in the English county of Wiltshire. In fact, two historic sites are less than an hour away by car, making it the ideal region to spend a day exploring the very best of ancient Britain, and here’s how …

Avebury
Start in the little village of Avebury, as it is the easiest to access from London via the M4, and the one that will take the longest time to explore. This is because Avebury is home to the largest stone circle in Europe. It doesn’t have the impressive arches Stonehenge can boast, but Avebury’s size makes it clear it was probably more important than its headline-grabbing neighbor. It is certainly far more atmospheric and remains an important site for modern British pagans who frequent it for gatherings at various times of the year, including the summer and winter solstices.
Many of the original stones are missing, though quite a few were put back up by the circle’s late Victorian savior, Alexander Keiller. Keiller was a Scottish businessman-cum-archaeologist, who studied at nearby Eton and fell in love with the area’s ancient history. He had many of the stones dug up from where they had been buried by earlier fundamentalist Christians, and re-installed. Before Keiler, the stones were neglected and dismissed as a “shameful” reminder of England’s pagan past.
In total there are three circles around a henge – a bank and a ditch – the largest of which is 348m in diameter. Despite the village of Avebury cutting across the huge site, there is definitely an “atmosphere” about Avebury’s stone circles, which is no doubt enhanced by the fact that the crowds here are much smaller than those at Stonehenge.

Silbury Hill
From Avebury, head south on the B4003, turning right where it meets the A4. Do not drive too fast otherwise you’ll miss it, for Silbury Hill is on your right only minutes after the turn. It is true that in the pictures it looks just like any other hill, but when you are standing next to Europe’s largest man-made ancient structure, the perfection of the hill makes it clear this was not crafted by nature.
In truth, visiting Silbury Hill is no more thrilling than staring at a large grassy mound, for that is what it is. The excitement of reading the sign that tells you this is the largest prehistoric man-made structure in Europe is about as good as it will get – at least until English Heritage develop some kind of tourist access to the ancient monument. Until then, you’ll have to admire it from the roadside as you speculate what possessed ancient Britons to build the thing. No one knows the real reason of course, but I personally like the local legend that it is the final resting place of King Sil, represented as a life-size statue of gold and riding a horse.

Stonehenge
From Silbury Hill carry on toward the A361 and turn left to head south. From there you can follow signs all the way down to Britain’s most famous ancient site, Stonehenge, now accessed via the new visitor’s center. English Heritage appear to have taken Bill’s comments on board as the new center seems to have been designed specifically to occupy visitors for more than 11 minutes.
They do this first with the center’s exhibition where you can discover the Stonehenge story — essentially a rundown of all the latest theories about the possible purpose of the famous henge. Outside the center, there is a Neolithic village that has been built to show us how the prehistoric Brits who built the henge may have lived, and next to this is a replica of one of the huge sarsens they somehow brought all the way here and positioned in that spectacular style. This comes complete with a rope to pull and a screen that tells you just how many more of you are needed to move the real thing – 95 in my case.
The approach to the stones is either an “atmospheric” 30-minute walk or a short ride on the shuttle bus, with most people combining the two. After your 11 minutes admiring England’s most famous set of rocks, the visitor center’s cafe will make the ideal place to enjoy that other classic English institution, a cup of tea.
Article source: <IMG src=”http://b.scorecardresearch.com/p?c1=8&c2=19888642&c3=2″>Ancient Britain in a day : Tharik Hussain

Join the local experts on a guided tour of ancient Wiltshire exploring Avebury and Stonehenge.

Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
http://www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

 

Winter solstice: When is the shortest day and why are mornings still dark afterwards?

The winter solstice occurs at the moment when the North Pole is tilted furthest away from the sun, giving us the shortest day of the year. (Metro U.K)

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Druids celebrating the winter solstice at Stonehenge (Picture: Getty)

It happens at the same moment for everyone around the world. This year, in the UK it’s happening at 10:44 GMT on Wednesday 21st December.

It falls on a different date each time – between 21 and 23 December, thanks to the fact that the 365-day year is actually 365 days, five hours and 45 seconds long.

The solstice occurs around six hours later each year, meaning the date gradually adjusts over time. Each leap year, the date jumps back to December 21 and we begin again.

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The average duration of a year is approximately 365 days five hours 48 minutes and 45 seconds,’ Dr Somak Raychaudhury, Reader in Astrophysics at Birmingham University told the BBC.

‘Even this varies by a few seconds every year, since the Earth’s motion is not just caused by the Sun’s pull of gravity.

‘It is perturbed by the pull of the planets and moons in the Solar System. The relative positions of these change from year to year.’

How much daylight will we get on the shortest day?

On 21 December, the sun will rise in the UK at 8:04am and set at 3:45pm. This gives us just 7 hours and 49 minutes of daylight.

Where does the winter solstice come from?

Tracking the sun’s yearly progress dates back to the earliest people on Earth, who knew that its path across the sky, amount of daylight and location of the sunrise and sunset changed according to a regular pattern throughout the year.

Monuments such as Stonehenge in England and Machu Picchu in Peru were built to track the sun’s progress over the course of the year.

The winter solstice was seen as especially important in the past, as people were economically dependent on the seasons, with starvation a common occurrence in the early months of winter.

Is the winter solstice linked to Christmas trees?

Winter solstice customs led to the Christmas tree becoming a major symbol. The Druids used evergreen trees, holly and mistletoe to symbolise everlasting life during their winter solstice rituals.

Centuries before the time of Jesus, cultures brought plants and leaves into their homes when the winter solstice arrived to celebrate the return of life at the start of winter’s decline.

Why are mornings still dark after the solstice?

The mornings remain dark until January due to a formula called the Equation of Time.

The equation explains how solar time, which is measured on sundials, differs from clock time.

Because the Earth’s axis is tilted, and its orbit is the shape of an oval, the two times don’t always match – they can be as much as 16 minutes out of sync.

Solar noon – when the sun is at its highest in the sky – isn’t always the same time as noon according to clock time.

As the Earth moves faster in the part of its orbit where it’s nearest to the sun – which comes after the winter solstice – this increased speed pushes the solar noon back, causing winter sunrise time to stand still for a few days.

In other words, the sunrise is ‘hanging’ during the late December – early January period, making mornings remain darker for a bit longer.

When’s the next solstice?

The summer solstice is on Wednesday 21 June 2017.

The Stonehenge Travel Company based in Salisbury are offering a guided tour with a local expert on the 21st December 2016. Witness the sun setting on the shortest day of the year and hear why Stonehenge is astronomically aligned.  Their exclusive small group Stonehenge Winter Solstice sunset tour departs from Salisbury.

The Stonehenge Experts
http://www.StonehengeTravel.co.uk

 

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