For a writer, Stonehenge is like the holy grail. There’s just something about the unknown of this structure that draws people and awakens the possible stories in their minds.
When I found out we were headed to England for a work trip, I knew I had to figure out a way to see the stones. At the end of our time in Manchester (see my other posts featuring my time in England), we drove the five-plus hours to London. In the snow…
I have to give my husband and our friend, Dennis, props here. There is absolutely no way I could have made this trip by myself because of the weather and the idea of driving on the opposite side of the road just blows my mind.
But the guys toughed it out. When we woke the morning of our Stonehenge adventure, this is what we saw…
Like I said, major props to the guys for getting us to London. Then for agreeing to humor me and my madness.
With this being our very last day in England and our last opportunity, we headed out for the two-hour drive to Wiltshire.
The closer we got to our destination, it seemed to clear up. At least the snow was no longer coming down. There was a bit of rain, but I had heard this was the norm for England. So I didn’t think it would stop us.
When we walked up to the ticket area, we could barely breathe from the frigid cold wind. Our teeth were chattering by the time we reached the shelter of the building and there were literally no other visitors waiting in line. Then the ticket guys said the words I never expected to hear.
Stonehenge was closed.
Apparently the high winds were much heavier than anyone had expected. When Matt questioned why the winds would close the monument when they have been standing for thousands of years, the guy said a young child had been sent tumbling over the hillside due to the winds. They were worried about the safety of other guests.
I wanted to cry. I was just outside of these mysterious stones that have left people speculating for hundreds of years as to their true purpose. And I wasn’t going to see them.
The ticket guy said we could wait a few hours and try again. The winds could let up.
Or… we could try a different road that would allow us to get a bit closer to the stones, just not right up near them.
We opted to try to get closer.
After a trip through the souvenir shop (I bought a LOT of souvenirs), we headed out to find the road.
Bingo! We got about halfway down the road and had to stop and walk. The puddles were incredibly deep and there were a few cars that were struggling to get out of the mud. Apparently we weren’t the only ones with this same idea.
We started walking.
When we got to the walk-up entrance, we were met by another guard. Of course, he reminded us the monument was closed and sent us back the way we had come from.
Okay, so here is what I got to see during this trip.
We were not even close. Most of the pictures I took were with the zoom feature on my camera.
But, I was here. I was within viewing distance of the stones.
I had made this momentous trip. One I have read about in hundreds of books. One I have dreamed about and made up my own stories about (one day maybe I will write some of them down).
After warming up in the car for a bit, Dennis mentioned he had asked the guard about a place to eat that might be close and he had directed us to this little pub not far from the stones. So we headed off to find it.
I will admit here that this part of the trip was seriously my favorite part of my English vacation.
THIS is what I had pictured England would look like.
I made the guys stop a few times so I could take some pictures of a local cemetery.
For those that don’t know this about me, cemeteries have fascinated me for years. I try to stop each time I see one. This one was incredible! The church was closed, but we were able to walk around and read some of the dates.
When we arrived at the pub, we almost didn’t get to eat there. They were hosting several Christmas parties that day and we didn’t have a reservation.
The Wheatsheaf Pub
But the hostess was super nice and said if we could finish eating within two hours, she could fit us in before the next party started. :) We were pretty sure we could do that. :)
This place was incredible!
By this time we had been to several different pubs in Manchester, Liverpool, and London. But this one place had the most incredible feel and the nicest people.
The food was amazing!
I had tried the Sunday roast a couple of times in other places, but it was 100 times better at this little Inn.
By the time we left, we were all stuffed. And my disappointment of not seeing the stones up close was mollified.
On our way back to the hotel, we stopped and saw the outside of Windsor Castle. We weren’t able to take the tour because it was so late, but we were able to stop into a few of the shops.
When I looked at pictures of the castle, I had seen this HUGE sprawling place. But what we were able to see was nothing like that. We had stopped at the small town that bumped up against the back (or maybe it was the front and what everyone sees on the internet is the back). So it was crazy close. One shop we stopped in was literally right across the street.
As we headed back home, the guys stopped one more time for me at another church and cemetery.
By this time it was very dark and late. But to see even the outside of this church was incredible.
I LOVE how they have trimmed the trees out front.
As we wrapped up our time in England, I can’t even begin to tell you how much we did not see. There simply is no way to see and do even a fraction of what is out there for this incredible country in the small amount of time we were allotted.
Even as I am able to mark off a couple of things that have been at the top of my bucket list (London, Stonehenge), I don’t feel like I can totally take them off the list. I didn’t get to dig in and see what I wanted to see. So I will be adding them back to the list, even if they are now a bit lower. But I will definitely be making my way back to England.
And back to Stonehenge… My interest was only peaked at this small glimpse I was given.
In fact, I have to wonder what the wind was trying to keep me from? Hmmm… There is definitely a story in there somewhere.