May 2012

Stonehenge inner circle tour

Stonehenge inner circle tour

Heading to London this summer?  Yeah, so is everyone else. This week, Jaunted’s London embed, Lilit Marcus, will share some definite destinations for getting out of town and out of the crowds.
If you can make it through a visit to Stonehenge without making a Spinal Tap joke, you’re a better person than I am. The stone formation, built by Druids during the Bronze Age, is still one of the world’s great wonders as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site. That said, it’s also kind of in the middle of nowhere. Though there are plans to build a more convenient rail route out to Stonehenge, currently the only way to get there is by car. There are several tour companies who will take you there and back from London and it’s also quite common to combine this with a trip to Bath, which is the route I took.

Because most of us have seen pop culture references to Stonehenge, the expectation is that the mysterious rocks are huge and majestic. It’s not huge, but it’s definitely still majestic. The series of stones was believed to be a burial ground (human bones have been found there) but there are plenty of other theories, namely that the location of the stones helped to determine the calendar because of the way the light fell during different times of the year.

You can’t get up close to the stones anymore(thanks, all those people who thought it was cool to try and carve your initials into the side), but there’s plenty of beautiful countryside around the site and plenty of opportunities for unobstructed photos. There’s a very good audio tour included with the price of admission, and history buffs will like the opportunity to listen to extra sections or get additional information on their favorite topics. (Also, literature majors will appreciate the shoutout to Tess of the D’Urbervilles, which has a scene set at Stonehenge.)

Once you’ve fully circled the formation and gotten the necessary Facebook photos in front of the Heel Stone, there’s not much else to do but check out the gift shop and cafes.The shop includes specific Stonehenge gear like books, magnets, and even lollipops (they’re blackurrant flavored), as well as Englishy treats like knit blankets and boxes of tea. Getting a history rundown and a stuffed Wilshire sheep in one quick jaunt seems like a pretty good deal, and you can be back in London before dinnertime.

Article source:

It is still possilbe to get inside the Stones if you book one of our exclusive Stonehenge private access tours:

The Stonehenge Tour Company

Fire Garden at Stonehenge 11th / 12th July 2012   
A magical, sensory experience awaits you as Stonehenge is transformed into a glowing fairytale. Fire Garden Stonehenge Tour 2012
Exclusive Guided Tour from London operated by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’

As the sun goes down over one of Britain’s most iconic World Heritage sites, French outdoor alchemists Compagnie Carabosse fan the flames of our imaginations with an elemental Fire Garden.

A magical, sensory experience awaits you as Stonehenge is transformed into a glowing fairytale environment where fire sculptures dance in the landscape, mysterious fiery engines illuminate the stones and flaming fire pots and cascades of candles line the pathways.

“A unique opportunity to walk amongst the Stones* at sunset and enjoy this gloriously atmospheric feast for the senses.”
“A once in a lifetime opportunity”

Maria Bota, Festival Director said:

“We aim to inspire, entertain and make moments which transform people and spaces. Our thanks to the remarkable Compagnie Carabosse for their beautiful fire garden creations, to English Heritage, with whom we have worked for many years at Stonehenge, for their continued collaboration and to London 2012 for enabling us to bring this idea to flickering life.”

Carabosse have staged their striking installations across Europe. Each event is unique to its specific location, and here they ignite their creative spark to create a remarkable moment in the historic Wiltshire landscape.

PRACTICALITIES AND TIMINGS The guided walk to Stonehenge from the Fire Garden Car Park to the Fire Garden at Stonehenge is around 1 kilometre, about a 15 minute walk, through National Trust farmland. You will have a beautiful view before you of Stonehenge and the Fire Garden in the landscape. Sensible footwear is definitely advisable as the land is agricultural and the route includes some sloping ground.

*IMPORTANT Please do not climb, stand on or lean against the stones. This is in the interest of personal safety and protection of this special site. As well as putting the stones themselves at risk, climbing on them can damage the delicate lichens. This includes the stones that are fallen.

HighlightsFire Garden at Stonehenge
Stonehenge Stone Circle close up
Includes Entrance Fee
Luxury Midi Coach Travel Minimum 2 hours at Stonehenge
Stonehenge Expert Guide Services
Fire Garden Experience

Bookings and information:

The Stonehenge Tour Company –

By the time you read this, the Olympic Torch Relay will be well underway on its 70-day run. Depending on when this gets posted, it may even have got as far as Weston-super-Mare, the unchallenged jewel of the north Somerset coast whose beautiful beaches, near-perfect all year round weather and magnificent pier (newly reopened just a year ago) will form the perfect backdrop for the . . .

Sorry. Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed from the blurb to the right of this piece that Weston is, in fact, the seaside resort, which I have the honour of representing as its Member of Parliament. So I may be just a touch partisan in my assessment.

For all that, though, the Torch Relay is undoubtedly a rather brilliant way of bringing the excitement of the Olympics to the widest possible UK community. Its light will – figuratively, and to an extent, literally – shine on places and people that very often get overlooked, especially in a year when – necessarily – the nation’s capital is the main focus.

Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

So I’m very happy to pay tribute to all the local and national media who will magnify this light as it progresses.  Hopefully it will not just get us all in the mood for the Games themselves, but also remind us what a brilliant, diverse and beautiful country we all share.

Part of the operation behind making this all happen involves social media, of course. Pictures and stories will fan out from the torch as it snakes around the country. And one of those doing the blogging, tweeting and whatever the verb is for posting stuff on Facebook as the torch progresses, is VisitBritain.

“17 per cent of German tourists want to go to the Highland Games”

There’ll be news on Love UK, VisitBritain’s Facebook page (with around 800,000 fans) along with an app to help them pass virtual flags around the world, and live tweets from @VisitBritain, while their corporate feed, @VisitBritainBiz will unveil daily ‘killer facts’ about what foreign tourists look for in a visit to the UK.

For example, 17 per cent of German tourists want to go to the Highland Games, 41 per cent of Russians would like to see the sun rise at Stonehenge and a rather modest 19 per cent of Americans fancy going shopping at Harrods.

Each of these gems derives from up-to-date visitor surveys which will delight and inform and, if deployed with skill, create a never-ending stream of conversation openers and pub quiz fodder.  Enjoy.

  • By
  • Minister for Tourism in UK Government at The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Needless the say ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ offer private guided tours with Russian speaking expert guides

The Stonehenge Tour Company –

Short on time and want to visit Stonehenge on a budget ?

Use our Stonehenge Direct service from London. This tour departs daily every morning and every afternoon.  Board our luxury coach for a direct Express service to Stonehenge. On arrival our driver will take you onto the site, where you can enjoy the stones at your leisure with a fascinating audio-guide tour, in the language of your choice.

Languages on the Audio Guide: English, Italian, Swedish, Russian, German, Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese, French, Dutch.

Stonehenge Express Tour

Stonehenge Express Tour

Entrance to Stonehenge included Audio guide tour at the site
Professional driver and luxury air-conditioned coach
Scenic drive through the Salisbury plain

The most famous prehistoric monument in the world, and now a world heritage site, Stonehenge stands alone in the vast empty tract of Salisbury plain. Its origins date back nearly 5,000 years and it has been home to pagan religion and spiritual worship, not to be mention public debate ever since. What was this vast collection of stones intended for? Was it observatory of the moon, a temple to the sun, or an elaborate cemetery? Who were the people who carried and carved these 40 ton rocks? Come and unlock the secrets for yourself and marvel at this remarkable and mysterious feat of ancient engineering and design. Entrance to the site with audio guide is included.
Price: from £30

View and book the ‘Stonehenge Express’ tour here:

The Stonehenge Tour

Olympic project was almost scuppered by discovery of similar inflatable monument created two years previously

Two thousand people a day have come to frolic on Jeremy Deller’s latest artwork – a bouncy castle that is a precise replica of Stonehenge. Men, women, children: all leap, stride and somersault on Glasgow’s new favourite playground before it travels south to become one of the attractions of the London 2012 festival.

A neat idea, you might think. Sacrilege, as Deller has called his work, is not only a lot of fun (it is impossible not to smile when you shed your shoes, dignity, and understanding of gravity), but also thought-provoking.

The artist has transformed a great symbol of British history into a party. In real life, you cannot get near Stonehenge. Open to myriad interpretations and fantasies over its long history, it has now been given yet another existence through Deller’s impish version of a grand public sculpture

It turns out that Deller is not the first artist to have made an inflatable megalithic monument. In 2010, two years before Deller’s work was launched at the Glasgow International art festival, Jim Ricks, a California-born artist, Galway-based, unveiled his Poulnabrone Bouncy Dolmen – a precise, double-size replica of a megalithic table tomb built around 6,000 years ago in the Burren, Co Clare. The work toured various locations in Ireland last summer.

So is this a case of plagiarism? Or sheer coincidence? Are bouncy castles having what in fashion is known as a “moment”? Why, after several millennia of human creativity, have two inflatable megalithic monuments come along at once?

Deller became aware of Ricks’ sculpture, he said, while researching a manufacturer for Sacrilege. According to Ricks: “Jeremy contacted me in October and I didn’t think much of it … I didn’t register who it was.”

“I consider it an identical concept,” Ricks told the Guardian. “In terms of the description of the work, they are incredibly similar,” admitted Deller.

But Deller said that the idea for a bouncy Stonehenge had long pre-dated Ricks’s Dolmen. He had originally thought of submitting an idea for bouncy-castle versions of historic sites to an Arts Council England-run public-art competition in 2009, but was too busy at the time. Finally, he decided to realise the idea for Glasgow International, with the London mayor’s office as co-funders.

“The Olympics people got really nervous in case Jim decided to sue us,” said Deller.

Happily for them, he was not minded to. In fact Ricks forgot all about it, until: “I spoke to the manufacturer by chance about six weeks ago and it dawned on me, so I decided to go over to Glasgow. Part of me was like, ‘I’m ruined!’ It was the same idea done bigger and more visibly. But another part of me is delighted because Sacrilege is awesome, Jeremy was a cool down-to-earth guy, and it’s nice to know we’re on the same wavelength … in a ‘great minds think alike, fools seldom differ’ way.”

“You can be generous about it,” said Deller, “and realise that two people can have a very similar idea. It is, after all, a very simple idea.”

According to Ricks: “Jeremy is a lovely man, and I have no reason to doubt his story.”

Where the works differ, perhaps, is in the nuance. “Sacrilege is a way for people – not just kids – to enjoy a historical monument that is supposed to be revered,” said Deller. “It’s comedic, it’s absurd. It could be something you’d see in a satire on the Olympics or on art. I like to think of it as beyond parody.”

Ricks said that his sculpture had come out of observing the power of the Poulnabrone Dolmen as a regional and national symbol. He added: “At the height of the Celtic Tiger period, on every special occasion there seemed to be a bouncy castle around. Bouncy castles became a sort of vernacular monumental sculpture. So I decided to bring those two things together, and create a sort of hybrid version of Irish identity.”

The story of the megalithic bouncy castles is not yet at an end. Deller hopes that Sacrilege will travel to Northern Ireland as part of its Cultural Olympiad tour. If it does, he will invite Jim Ricks to bring his Poulnabrone Bouncy Dolmen over the border to visit. Let the bounce-off commence.

Full article in the Guardian:

The Stonehenge Tour

Take our Stonehenge, Glastonbury & Avebury tour and experience the history and mystery of some of the most famous pilgrimage sites in the South of England.

Avebury Stone Circle

Avebury Stone Circle

 From Neolithic Stone Circles to the ancient Glastonbury Abbey (King Arthur and Queen Guinevere’s supposed final resting place).
You will visit the ancient Stone Circles of Stonehenge & Avebury which have both been drawing visitors for over 5000 years! We also take you through the history of King Arthur and visit famous ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, with time to explore the nearby village.
Our stop in Avebury gives you plenty of time to enjoy this ancient site’s atmosphere & perhaps have a pint at the famous Red Lion Pub located in the centre of Avebury Stone Circle. The Red Lion is on the Top Ten list of the most haunted pubs in England!
Read more about this tour and the sites visited below:

  • · No More than 15 passengers,
  • · Return luxury mini coach travel
  • · Visit & entrance to Stonehenge
  • · Visit to Avebury Stone Circle
  • · Explore King Arthur’s Avalon & visit the ancient ruins of Glastonbury Abbey
  • · Free time in Glastonbury Village
  • · Plus Tour Manager

7.25am-7.45am Pick ups London Zone 1 – at time of booking please specify your requested pick up location.

(We will contact you the day prior to your tour to confirm your pick up time and location – please ensure we have a valid contact phone number/email address that you will have access to in London the day before)
6.30pm – Approximate arrival back in Central London.
**Please note details are subject to changes**

On our Stonehenge, Glastonbury & Avebury tour we visit some very historic and magical sights including:
· Stonehenge, a World Heritage Site and one of the most famous historic & tourist attractions in the UK.
· Avebury stone circle-one of the world’s largest & most mysterious

Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor - Isle of Avalon

pre-historic stone circles
· Glastonbury & the mythical ‘Avalon’ to discover the mystery, chivalry and romance of King Arthur where you have a chance to explore the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey & Glastonbury village with its medieval buildings and unusual shops catering to wiccans, pagans, witches & hippies!

About Stonehenge
Stonehenge, one of the wonders of the world is an ancient stone circle that has drawn visitors from all over the world for over 5000 years! What’s left to see today are the substantial remnants of the last in a sequence of such monuments erected between circa 3000BC and 1600BC.
There has always been an intense debate over what purposeStonehenge once served, it is certainly a focal point in a landscape filled with prehistoric ceremonial structures. The site is now an official World Heritage Site.
About Avalon, Glastonbury, the Abbey & King Arthur
A legend tells of how Joseph of Arimathea brought the Holy Grail toGlastonbury and built a simple church on the site of this great abbey, possibly the first Christian church in England”.
Glastonbury, in addition to many other places, has been linked to King Arthur. This link at Glastonbury though, is in death rather than life. Arthur was the legendary English King ‘Arthur of the Britons’. He was raised by the wizard Merlin and when only a boy (after many men had tried and failed) Arthur gained the throne by withdrawing a magic sword Excalibur from stone. The nearby CadburyCastle supposedly became his ‘Camelot’.
After his many exploits and stories concerning his Knights, the Round Table and the Holy Grail, he was wounded at the battle of Camlan. This was around the year 542 and he was then taken across the water to the Isle of Avalon for his wounds to be healed.
Legend proclaims that after Arthur’s death a strong spirit haunted the ruins of the Abbey. Appearing as a black armoured knight with red glowing eyes and a desire to eradicate all records of the ancient Arthurian legends, which is why (it is said) that those seeking to discover the truth find so few facts.
Glastonbury is also home to one of the worlds largest performing arts festivals & is famous as a ‘mecca’ for modern day hippies, pagans & witches!

About Avebury
Avebury is the site of a huge henge and several stone circles in the English county of Wiltshire which surround the village of Avebury. It is one of the finest and largest Neolithic monuments in Europe dating to around 5,000 years ago.
It is older than the megalithic stages of Stonehenge, which is located about 20 miles to the south. The henge is aScheduledAncientMonument and a World Heritage Site.
About The Red Lion Pub
The pub is 400 years old and located at the centre of the Avebury stone circle where every six weeks a pagan festival is held. It is in the Top Ten list of most haunted pubs in the country and has been seen on TV as such. The main ghost is that of an old landlady “Florrie” who was supposedly killed here by her husband.
– please ensure we have a valid contact phone number/email address that you will have access to in London the day before.

Visit our website to view this and many more Exclusive Stonehenge Tours
The Stonehenge Tour