Lots of tourist come to London every year. According to the Office for National Statistics (2019) around 19 million people visited London alone in 2018. It is a great city with lots to offer, lots to see and even more to do.
But there are plenty of other cities and places in Britain that are worth a visit, which are sometimes forgotten. And best of all, many of them can be easily accessed and incorporated into a day trip from London.
I am going to start with two sights for now Windsor Castle and Stonehenge, but more will follow!
The charming little village Windsor is of course best known for Windsor Castle. The Queen spends most of her weekends at Windsor Castle and calls it her official residence for one month over Easter.
Millions of people visit Windsor Castle each year, but in my opinion there is much more to Windsor. It represent a typical charming, small English town. There are lots of restaurants and cafes throughout the town and by the river where you can sit and relax. Or perhaps you fancy strolling through the village and checking out some of the shops.
Windsor Castle is of course the main attraction. It is one of the oldest and largest castles in the world that is still in use and occupied today. It was founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century and saw 39 monarchs come and go.
Visitors can walk around the grounds and visit some parts of the castle such as the grand State Apartments. Of course St George’s Chapel has been in the spotlight a few years ago as this is the place where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot.
Although Windsor is a cute little town and very pretty in the summer, I must warn you that it gets really busy that time of year. So, if you can help it, I would recommend visiting Windsor during the off peak season to avoid the crowds. Furthermore, it is best to buy tickets in advance for Windsor Castle to guarantee entry.
- Opening times Windsor Castle: 1st November to 28th February 10 am – 4:15 pm // 1st March to 31st October 10 am – 5:15 pm // Please check the website though for any unexpected closures and bank holidays
- Admission Windsor Castle: Adults £23.50, Over 60 and Students £21.20, Under 17 and Disabled £13.50, Under 5 go Free, Family (2 adults and 3 under 17) £60,50, Group Tickets are available as well (15 people or more)
- How to get there by Train from London: Windsor has two stations: Windsor & Eton Riverside and Windsor & Eton Central. Trains (with some changes) run from London Waterloo and London Paddington. However, if you prefer a direct train with no changes to make things easier, go to London Waterloo and take the train to Windsor & Eton Riverside. The train journey takes about one hour and trains run every 30 min during the week and once an hour at weekends.
- For more information please visit: https://www.rct.uk/visit/windsor-castle
No visit to the UK is complete without a visit to Stonehenge. Many of us are fascinated by the stones and their formations. But still, we are no closer to knowing what they actually are and what they were used for. Perhaps we will never know and that’s what makes this site so fascinating and interesting.
Stonehenge was build in several stages, but the earliest stones are believed to originate back to 5000 years ago. The site is surrounded by many burial mounds that date back to the Bronze Age. It is one of the best known British landmarks and gained World Heritage status in 1986.
Here are some ideas of what Stonehenge could have been used for in the past:
- A place to study the movements of the Sun and Moon
- A place of healing
- An important funeral ceremony site and place of burial
- A place of worship
- A place to celebrate the Midsummer’s and Midwinter’s Day (the longest and shortest day of the year)
Nowadays visitors can enjoy the site and let their ideas roam free when they try to find out what the Stonehenge was used for. However, Stonehenge today is a place of worship for “Old” and “Earth based” religions such as the Druids and English Heritage, who manage the side, allow special access during the summer and winter solstice, and the spring and autumn equinox.
- Opening times: Please check the website, but generally the site is open from 9.30 am to 5 pm.
- Admission: Adults £21.10, Child ( 5-17 years) £12.70, Concessions £19.00, Family (2 adults, up to 3 children) £54.90 and Overseas Visitor Pass // Prices are without Gift Aid // Free admission for English Heritage and National Trust England members
- How to get there by Train from London: When visiting Stonehenge, there are no trains that stop in walking distance to the site. You need to take the direct train from London Waterloo to Salisbury that runs approximately every 30 min. In Salisbury you can take a bus that stops just in front of the rail station and Stonehenge. I would recommend The Stonehenge Tour as I myself booked through them before and they were reliable. Please check their website for the time table as times may vary from summer to winter. Tickets for the bus are £16.00 for adults and £10.00 for children (5-15 years)
- For more information please visit: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/