Stonehenge, Salisbury and Bath

Drive out of London to the southwest and within two hours lie some breathtaking sights.  Start with a visit to the most astonishing stone-age construction in Europe.  Older even than the Egyptian  pyramids, Stonehenge was started 5,000 years ago by late Neolithic tribespeople, for whom this breezy meadow on  Salisbury Plain clearly had great importance.  How the stones were transported and erected into an inch-perfect circle is a testament to the determination and the organisational skills of stone-age man.  We know how they did it, but to this day we don’t really know why.

Elegance in stoneHalf an hour away is the smart provincial town of Salisbury, with its stunning Cathedral.  This outstanding example of Early English Gothic architecture took just 38 years to build.  The spire, added the following century, was the tallest in Europe  at the time and dominates the surrounding countryside today.  Its elegant marble interior contains many fascinating graves and monuments which provide insights into medieval English life.  In the Chapter House is the best preserved of the four original copies of the Magna Carta.

As the only complete city designated a World Heritage Site, Bath is an unparalleled example of Georgian elegance.  Founded by the Romans, whose beautifully restored baths are a highlight, Bath grew famous as the most fashionable resort in the country in the 18th century.  For nearly 100 years, Bath was the place to see and be seen.  Experience for yourselves where the gentry lived, danced, drank tea and entertained themselves, while being portrayed (not always favourably) in the novels of Jane Austen, a resident of Bath for several years.