Travelogue: England – Stonehenge & Highclere Castle

July 2022
Where We Stayed: Kimpton Fitzroy London

Okay, I will fully and openly admit, when Mike wanted to make Stonehenge a part of this trip, I was less than enthused. It’s just a bunch of rocks in the middle of nowhere. I’m not a particularly spiritual or religious or woo woo person. It’s a bunch of rocks.

Well yes, but I have been proved wrong: they are MAGICAL rocks. Mike, being wise, decided to book us a private sunrise tour of Stonehenge.  Our guide, Nick, picked us up at our Salibury hotel at 6:15am (ooof… while still jetlagged) and off we went.  Nick was amazing and everything you’d want in a tour guide — friendly, talkative, knowledgeable, and enthusiasic.  It was just the two of us and Nick for the whole day and I would highly recommend it.

Nick took us to the visitor’s center and from there, we hopped on a shuttle bus to get to the stones themselves. We joined Wendy (another tour guide and druid) and about 10-15 other people. Our entire experience at Stonehenge was at sunrise… with only 10-15 other people. Nick said that by 10am, there will be thousands of people swarming about.  We felt so lucky to see Stonehenge this way — and to experience it with so few people around.  Wendy, fun fact, knows all the birds that live around the stones, so they would all land on her arms and shoulders.  In short, Wendy was great.

I fell in love with those rocks in the middle of nowhere. Once you learn more about them — and all the theories as to how and why they exist and the connections to mathematics and astronomy — you can’t help but be captivated.

After our time at Stonehenge came to an end, Nick took us to see Woodhenge, another Neolithic henge and timber circle. It’s very humbling to imagine what once was, and the great efforts taken to create these mysterious structures and monuments.

The second part of our day was a visit to Highclere Castle — the filming location for Downton Abbey. As a fan of the show, I definitely fangirled over this experience. Photography was not allowed in the castle, but they did a great job of showing what scenes were filmed in what rooms, etc. The castle also has an Egyptian exhibition (because one of the former Earls was an amatuer Egyptologist) and sprawling gardens to enjoy.

After our day of stones and Downtown came to an end, Nick drove us to our hotel in London.  What a day!

Waiting for Nick at 6:15am outside of our hotel.
Nick’s photo skillz were A+++
If you stand in a certain spot and hold these metal rods, they are automatically drawn to each other — but only in this specific spot. It was weird and trippy and my skeptical brain was SKEPTICAL, but hey, could just be the magic of Stonehenge.
Woodhenge. Concrete cylinders where the wood beams once were.
You can see what it likely looked like thousands of years ago.
*cue the Downton theme song*
What is a weekend?
Lady Mary’s bench.