You can’t drive within 100km of Stonehenge and not make a detour to visit it, can you? Of course not! It’s like going to Rome and not visiting the Colosseum. That’s how we convinced Wendy on a sunny Saturday morning, along with hundreds of other tourists, to stop for a look at these famous stones. It turned out they really are all they’re cracked up to be – some big stones in a field, that you can’t even touch, beside a main highway. So after admiring them from a roped off distance, the obligatory tourist photos and look in the souvenir shop, we got back on the road.
Our detour to Stonehenge was actually a great way for us to see some of the English countryside, not just the M4 motorway. It sounds silly to say this but the English countryside is just so stereotypically, well, English! Just like the movies and photos you see, it’s so green and scattered with quaint old villages, stone fences and little quintessential English gardens. Fortunately for us there was none of the stereotypical British rain to be seen.
The destination of our excursion was Bradford-on-Avon, a charming and typically English village with the River Avon running through it. The centre of the village is full of stone buildings dating back hundreds of years and some inhabitants who looked like they dated back almost a hundred years too. We spent the afternoon meandering through the lanes lined with cottages, tea houses and art and craft stores. Being spring it was the perfect time to be in the countryside as trees were bursting with buds, flowers and new green leaves.
Bradford-on-Avon is a tourist destination in its own right, but we chose to go there to have dinner with my cousins who live locally. And what fun dinner was, I had no idea what half the things on the pub menu were! Ignorantly, I cracked up laughing when my cousin Jane ordered “Faggots,” which were really just a kind of meatball. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my meal, “Toad in the Hole,” was sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter, with vegetables on the side. It’s an interesting guessing game ordering food here!
Hi, I was born in Bradford-on-Avon and live just outside it now, so it was interesting to see the place with an outside eye.
You are right, Stonehenge is iconic but a let down. There was a time when folk were allowed in to the stones but tourists were apparently chipping bits off them. ( I have no idea if this is true). Many locals don’t know that the stones were put up this way back in the 1930’s, after they were lying flat or buried in the ground. One top stone has even been put on upside down with the key ‘knobbly’ bit (I am not a builder) standing proud rather than fitting into the hole on the top of the base standing stone.
If you ever visit again, I always say Avebury is the better option. You can touch the stones, there is more to walk round, it is on the same ley line as Henge and you can dowse around the spaces marked by a pillar where stones once stood and find the centre.
Bradford-on-Avon has changed beyond all recognition from when I was a girl. This once quiet town was really a village and if you ask where most folk come from now they will say London. It seems a good retirement place what with the train to London being in easy reach and Bath just down the road.
Wow I had no idea that Stonehenge had to be resurrected in the 1930’s, and you’re right, it is a bit disappointing being kept at such a distance from the stones. I’ve heard Avebury mentioned a few times now so will definitely go there next time I’m in England. Thanks for your suggestions and I’m glad you liked my post 🙂