3 nights starting from
Exclusive sunrise visit inside the stones
Three days walking with Sophie Campbell from Avebury to Old Sarum via Stonehenge
Private viewing and dinner at the Wiltshire Museum
Veiled in mystery for millennia, Stonehenge has long been a captivating site for its many visitors. This wonderful new walking tour – in the company of Telegraph Travel correspondent and Blue Badge guide Sophie Campbell – takes you from Avebury to Old Sarum via a sunrise visit to Stonehenge, with exclusive early-morning access inside the stones. A private visit to the Wiltshire Museum with dinner and a private tour of the Wessex Collection at the Salisbury Museum will help to unravel the myth.
|27 - September - 2018||Limited Availability||Travel Info Please Call||booking-journey/#/start/SWT/27 September 2018/|
Day 1: Arrive independently at the Bear Hotel, Devizes from 15.00. This evening there will be a private visit, welcome reception and dinner with wine at the Wiltshire Museum nearby with talk from curator David Dawson.
Day 2: 12 miles – Avebury to Wilsford.
Morning transfer by bus to Avebury for the start of this momentous three-day walk. Avebury’s henge and stone circles are one of the greatest marvels of prehistoric Britain. Built and much altered during the Neolithic period, roughly between 2850 BC and 2200 BC, the henge survives as a huge circular bank and ditch, encircling an area that includes part of Avebury village. Within the henge is the largest stone circle in Britain - originally of about 100 stones - which in turn encloses two smaller stone circles. It is part of an extraordinary set of Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial sites that seemingly formed a vast sacred landscape. A visit to the Alexander Keiller Museum will help explain the mystery and historical context of this amazing area. Mid-morning we head off on foot for Silbury Hill and West Kennet Long Barrow, passing over Adam’s Grave on Knapp Hill, with stunning views of the Downs and the elegant 1812 White Horse. Silbury Hill is the largest man-made mound in Europe and compares in height and volume to the Egyptian pyramids, which are roughly contemporary. Probably completed in around 2400 BC, it apparently contains no burial, and although clearly important, its purpose and significance remain unknown. A lunch stop at the canalside Barge Inn will fortify us for the onward journey via the Saxon church of St Marys at Alton Barnes and on to Wilsford, where our bus will be waiting to take us back to the Bear Hotel in Devizes for dinner and overnight.
Day 3: 13 miles - Wilsford to Durrington.
Morning transfer by bus back to Wilsford to pick up the trail, where we will head up onto Salisbury Plain and past Casterley Camp (with its remains of an Iron Age hill fort), then down to the pretty Avon Valley and lunch at the renowned Swan Inn, Enford. Afternoon continue on foot to Durrington, site of a Neolithic settlement, where we will meet our coach for transfer to Salisbury for dinner and overnight at the Milford Hall Hotel.
Day 4: 15 miles - Durrington to Stonehenge and Old Sarum.
Very early breakfast before transferring by bus to Durrington to walk from Durrington Walls to Stonehenge via the Cuckoo Stone, the Cursus and the Kings’ and Queen’s Barrows. As we walk up The Avenue we see the view that neolithic man would have seen as the sun rises and bathes the stones in light. We then enter the stone circle for an exclusive pre-opening visit, then walk or take the minibus back to the Visitor Centre to spend time in the excellent museum and the cafe - or even a return to the stones, according to preference. The last leg of the walk passes a row of barrows before dropping back down to the Avon Valley and Wilsford cum Lake - with a brief visit to its charming Grade II-listed St Michael's Church and early lunch at The Bridge Inn, Upper Woodford. After lunch, we cross the river and take a short stretch of road via Netton to join the path almost due south to the ramparts of Old Sarum. We spend time exploring this intriguing site, with its commanding views over the Wiltshire plains, which was once a thriving town and the site of Salisbury's original cathedral and a royal castle, high on the motte. Our coach will take us into Salisbubry for the final visit to the Wessex Gallery at the Salisbury Museum, which tells the story of Salisbury and its surrounds from prehistoric times to the Norman Conquest and includes fine material found in and near Stonehenge. Return to the hotel for approximately 17.00.
PLEASE NOTE: This is a strenuous walking tour with considerable (often hilly) distances covered each day, so you need to be reasonably fit and confident that this is manageable for you. The hills are not huge but the route is cross country, so "opt-out" options between places visited are very limited.
NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion
Please note: Post tour extra nights are available at a supplement
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 24 passengers.
Day 2: 12 miles
Day 3: 13 miles
Day 4: 15 miles
Bear Hotel, Devizes
Historic coaching inn in the heart of the market town of Devizes. Oozing character, the inn has a restaurant and 25 comfortable bedrooms with original features but all modern amenities.
The Bear Hotel Website
Milford Hall Hotel, Salisbury
Comfortable, traditional hotel set in a Georgian house with modern extension. The hotel has a restaurant, bar and well-appointed rooms with all modern amenities. It also has a spa (separate cost) if you decide to stay an extra night.
Milford Hall Hotel Website
Please note that all our UK tours start and finish at the relevant hotel.
You can normally check in from 3pm onwards but hotels will always be happy to store your luggage if you arrive earlier in the day.
For full details of how to get to the hotel, directions and the nearest train station, please click on the hotel website or call our office for details. These will also be sent automatically with your confirmation.
The welcome reception and first evening dinner / talk will commence at about 7pm - full details will be sent with your joining instructions about 10 days prior to the arrival date.
Sophie has been a travel writer for 25 years. She is based in London and has written for many national publications including the Daily Telegraph, The Times, Daily Mail, Guardian, Condé Nast Traveller and Saga Magazine. She writes a monthly column on heritage days for the travel pages of the Daily Telegraph and is one of their London online contributors. She has also presented a series of BBC2's The Travel Show, founded a weekend breaks website and lectures regularly on travel writing. Sophie is a Blue Badge Tourist Guide for London and her 2013 book on the traditional events of the summer, 'The Season: A Summer Whirl Through the English Social Season' came out in paperback in April 2014. She lives in Battersea, southwest London, and her favourite destinations are Argentina, Japan, Iran and - of course - Britain.
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