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Historical tours of Stonehenge and Avebury Stone Circle with expert guides. Collection by private car or mini bus from your Bath hotel.  Ideal for families and groups.

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VIP Access Tour Inside Stonehenge

See the West of England‘s best loved sights – the wonder of Stonehenge and Avebury, the glorious Cotswolds, castles & gardens on our day tours from Bath in a private car or minibus. We offer half and full day tours and can also arrange special access tours at Stonehenge.  In the evening at sunset after Stonehenge is closed to the public, or at sunrise before it is open, we can arrange for you to visit this awe-inspiring prehistoric monument and walk among the giant sarsen stones.

Popular tour itineraries:
Explore the World Heritage Site of Avebury Stone Circle.
Enter West Kennet Long Barrow Neolithic Tomb
View Silbury Hill, the largest prehistoric monumment in Europe.
Explore Durrington Walls, Woodhenge and the prehistoric landscape of Stonehenge.
13th Century Lacock Village and Harry Potter Film Location
Castle Combe Cotswolds Village, unaccessible to the big coaches
Enjoy a traditional country pub lunch in an historical setting
See mysterious crop circles and the Warminster Triangle
Climb Glastonbury Tor and here about the legend of King Arthur
Do a tower tour at Salisbury Cathedral and see Magna Carta.
Join one of our fixed itineraries or tailor your own.

Your Gateway to the West Country.
We can also collect you from London, Salisbury or Southampton Docks and this is a great wat to maximisee your sightseeing.  Some clients prefer to travel by train to Bath from London. Our local guides will be happy to meet you at Bath’s train station with a personalised name-board. This method of travel to Bath is suitable if you would like to spend the entire day in the city and not travel in the surrounding countryside. If you would like to incorporate countryside and other historic sights en-route then it is wise to choose our flexible chauffeur guided service.

Please visit our website and contact us for a quote.

HisTOURies U.K
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Located in Wiltshire, England, Stonehenge is one of the world’s most iconic man-made landmarks. Tourists flock to the raised stones to ponder their origins and meaning. Are these the marks of an alien burial site? Were ancient sacrificial rituals conducted here? How were these stones raised before the advent of modern technology? Stonehenge baffles tourists (and historians) to this day as it sits isolated in the middle of the English countryside.

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Recently, a group of archaeologists from the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project uncovered the extensive remains of a 90-stone structure less than two miles from Stonehenge. Using remote sensing technologies, the archaeologists were able to detect the presence of the massive stone monument, which is currently buried under a bank of grass. Though the archaeologists aren’t entirely sure when the monument was built, they are able to place its construction as contemporary to Stonehenge itself, some time between 2,000 and 3,000 BC.

This new discovery means Stonehenge is not isolated and may in fact be relatively small in comparison to its newfound neighbor. Scientists and archaeologists alike are scrambling to figure out the significance of the new monument and where it figures into the history of the area.

Luckily for them, the new monument is surprisingly well-preserved, and excavation of the stones could lead to specimens more easily researchable than Stonehenge. If full excavation occurs, the monument would form a half moon that dwarfs its sister site. Preemptive hypotheses suggest the new stones might’ve been used for ancient calendar purposes, as a sacred space for religious acts, or as the wall of an arena.

In a statement released to the press by the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, Paul Garwood, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Birmingham, reflected on the project’s game-changing discovery, “The extraordinary scale, detail and novelty of the evidence produced by the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project is changing fundamentally our understanding of Stonehenge and the world around it. Everything written previously about the Stonehenge landscape and the ancient monuments within it will need to be re-written.”

Regardless of what scientists uncover, this story will be an important one to watch unfold. And in the near future, the discovery might also be a can’t-miss addition to the English travel itinerary.

By: Fiona Moriarty, Hipmunk (HUFFINGTON POST)

The Best Tours in British History
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British archaeologists have created a map of a medieval settlement using state-of-the-art scanning techniques without having to dig in to the ground.

Relying on magnetometry, ground-penetrating radar and electric resistive tomography, the team from the University of Southampton uncovered the footprint of a town located at the Old Sarum archaeological site near Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Non-invasive survey methods such as ground penetrating radar have helped archeologist to create a detailed map of Old Sarum without any digging [Credit: Scriniary]

Non-invasive survey methods such as ground penetrating radar have helped archeologist to create a detailed map of Old Sarum without any digging [Credit: Scriniary]

“Archaeologists and historians have known for centuries that there was a medieval city at Old Sarum, but until now there has been no proper plan of the site,” said Kristian Strutt, director of archaeological prospection services at the University of Southampton.

“Our survey shows where individual buildings are located and from this we can piece together a detailed picture of the urban plan within the city walls.”

Old Sarum is believed to have been one of the oldest settlements in England. Located about ten miles from the iconic Stonehenge monument, the site was inhabited as early as the Iron Age and bears some evidence of the presence of Roman soldiers in the early centuries AD.

In the recent survey, the archaeologists focused on the area around the inner and outer baileys of what was once a fortification. They discovered foundations of multiple large buildings concentrated along the southern edge of the outer defensive wall, which probably used to serve military purposes.

Some of the structures are believed to date back to the 11th century, about the time when the Salisbury (New Sarum) cathedral was built.

The researchers also found a large open area behind the big buildings, residential areas in the south-east and south-west quadrants of the outer bailey and evidence of deposits indicating industrial features, such as kilns or furnaces as well as signs of quarrying after the 1300s.

“Our research so far has shown how the entire outer bailey of the monument was heavily built up in the Middle Ages, representing a substantial urban centre,” Strutt said. “Results have given us compelling evidence as to the nature of some of the structures,” he said, adding that additional non-intrusive work will have to be carried out to further expand the knowledge about the site.”

The medieval city is believed to had been inhabited for at least three centuries but was eventually abandoned as the importance of the neighbouring Salisbury grew.

“The use of modern, non-invasive surveying is a great start to further research at Old Sarum,” said Heather Sebire, property curator at English Heritage, which is managing the site.

“From this work we can surmise much about the site’s past and, whilst we can’t conclusively date the findings, it adds a new layer to Old Sarum’s story.”

The team hopes to perform the next phase of non-invasive surveying in Easter 2015.

The research was conducted as part of the Old Sarum and Stratford-Sub-Castle Archaeological Survey Project, directed by Kristian Strutt and fellow Southampton archaeologists Timothy Sly and Dominic Barker.

Similar technology was recently deployed by archaeologists and scientists from Birmingham University and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Vienna to survey the landscape around Stonehenge. The results from there revealed that Stonehenge did not sit alone within its Neolithic landscape.

Full article by by Tereza Pultarova: http://eandt.theiet.org/news/2014/dec/old-sarum-non-invasive-archeology.cfm

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The Bath Christmas Market offers 18 days of magical festive shopping, as the areas between the stunning Bath Abbey and the renowned Roman Baths are transformed into a Christmas shopping wonderland. Right in the heart of Bath’s main shopping district, more than 170 traditional wooden chalets line the streets; each one offering handmade and beautiful gifts from Christmas decorations and food to toys and festive tipples; everything you need for the perfect Christmas.

Bath Christmas MarketOnce in Bath this Christmas, you’ll find that there is a lot to explore and experience beyond the market too. The city centre is a shopper’s haven, plus there are many festive experiences for all the family to enjoy. It’s simply a question of what to do first: ice-skating in the crisp winter air, bathing in the warm spa water overlooking the twinkling city or enjoying a mulled wine in the Après Ski Bar. More family fun can be found at the beautiful Victorian Carousel in Stall Street, perfect for creating unforgettable festive memories.

Visit the Christmas market website here

Why not combine a visit to Bath with a private guided tour to nearby Stonehenge and Wiltshire. You could always take the train from London and enjoy the Christmas market, The Roman Baths and City and then join a guided private tour through ancient Wiltshire and then be dropped off for Salisbury Cathedral and Christmas market for your return to London via train from Salisbury.

Touring Wiltshire

The sweeping landscape of high chalk downs is a fitting backdrop to the great stone circles of Avebury and Stonehenge. From the intimacy of villages such as Castle Combe and Lacock, there are the stately homes of Longleat, Stourhead and Wilton, not to mention Salisbury Cathedral and more.

Wessex Guided Tours
Private Guided Tours of Bath and the West Country
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TOURISTS entering English Heritage’s new £27 million visitor centre at Stonehenge will quickly confront its most spectacular exhibit – a man who was born 500 years before the earliest stone monument appeared at the site.

Stonehenge Man would have fitted in very well on a film set (Image: English Heritage)

Stonehenge Man would have fitted in very well on a film set (Image: English Heritage)

He may have a touch of Hollywood about him, but this “Stonehenge Man” was once real. His face has been reconstructed from a 5500-year-old skeleton found in the area. Local protest groups continue to press for him to be reburied, but forensic analysis has allowed scientists to create the most lifelike model yet of an individual from British prehistory. Their work reveals how he lived and ate, and may even shed light on the origins of Stonehenge itself.

The well-preserved skeleton was discovered in an elaborate tomb in the 1860s, providing a rare example of the anatomy of Neolithic people. His face has been brought to life by Swedish sculptor Oscar Nilsson, using information from bone and tooth analyses. The length of the man’s bones, the skeleton’s weight and his age – estimated at between 25 and 40 years old – were used to determine the thickness of the skin on his face and muscle definition.

Nilsson used a vinyl copy of the skull, made by Andrew Wilson at the University of Bradford, UK, as a base for his clay reconstruction of muscles, guided by markers denoting the fleshiness of the face. He created moulded silicon skin and added pigment before punching in the hair.

Ridges on the skull reveal that this man was muscular – which is not surprising given the Neolithic lifestyle. He had highly masculine features, such as a well-defined chin and jawbone. “I had to give him a beard – there were no razors then,” says Nilsson.

Human skeletal biologist Simon Mays from the University of Southampton, UK, was unable to deduce the cause of death from the skeleton and he speculates that Stonehenge Man died of an infectious disease that killed too quickly to leave a trace on bones. Mays did, however, find two leg wounds: a deep muscle injury and a bony projection.

Tooth analysis by Alistair Pike, also at the University of Southampton, was particularly revealing. Pike extracted a section of enamel, then removed particles from different stages of the tooth’s growth. A mass spectrometer revealed the ratio of two forms, or isotopes, of strontium at the different stages, which can indicate where his drinking water came from when matched to an area’s geology.

Teeth take about four years to form, so it is possible to track the movements of an individual during that time. Stonehenge Man seems to have travelled as a child. He was born in an area of old geology, thought to be somewhere in Wales, and moved to an area matching Stonehenge when about 3 years old. If he came from Wales, says Pike, there could be a connection to the movement of bluestones, the oldest stones at Stonehenge. “The two communities may have been connected for centuries,” he says.

The man’s teeth show little wear for his age, suggesting a soft diet by prehistoric standards. The carbon isotopes in the teeth vary according to the types of plants eaten, and with the amount of nitrogen, which comes from meat in the diet. His carbon pattern shows he ate more meat than his contemporaries, possibly in stews. This and the elaborate burial suggest he was an important man in the community.

Unfortunately, the man’s teeth were unusually clean. “If we had been able to analyse his tartar, we could have identified species he was eating by sequencing proteins in trapped fragments, while bacteria could have revealed the health of his gut,” says Pike.

The team did not have enough time before the visitor centre opened to do DNA analysis of Stonehenge Man’s colouring, but this would have been difficult anyway because handling over the years has contaminated the skeleton’s DNA. They guessed at hazel eyes and dark brown hair, with a hint of ginger, to reflect probable Celtic origins.

If this model of the handsome Stonehenge Man is true to life, then he would not look out of place today. “He could be sitting next to you on the subway,” says Nilsson.
by Sandrine Ceurstemont

Details in The New Scientist:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24811-stonehenge-man-not-just-a-pretty-face.html#.Usfc6pCYbIV

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Stonehenge, the most famous of our English megalithic monuments, has excited the attention of the historian and the legend-lover since early times. According to some of the medieval historians it was erected by Aurelius Ambrosius to the memory of a number of British chiefs whom Hengist and his Saxons treacherously murdered in A.D. 462. Others add that Ambrosius himself was buried there. Giraldus Cambrensis, who wrote in the twelfth century, mingles these accounts with myth. He says, “There was in Ireland, in ancient times, a pile of stones worthy of admiration called the Giants’ Dance, because giants from the remotest part of Africa brought them to Ireland, and in the plains of Kildare, not far from the castle of Naas, miraculously set them up. These stones (according to the British history) Aurelius Ambrosius, King of the Britons, procured Merlin by supernatural means to bring from Ireland to Britain.”

This ancient enigma keeps everyone inquiring what truth lies in those huge stones and luckily you have come upon a site that will help you realize everything about Stonehenge.

You have wound upon an educational articles not as old as Stonehenge, but sure one of the oldest and very likely the first covering all faces of this mystical monolithic construction.

From the present ruined state of Stonehenge it is not possible to state with certainty what was the original arrangement, but it is probable that it was approximately as follows (see the following picture):


There was an outer circle of about thirty worked upright stones of square section (picture 2). On each pair of these rested a horizontal block, but only five now remain in position. These ‘lintels’ probably formed a continuous architrave (Pl. I). The diameter of this outer circle is about 97½ feet, inner measurement. The stones used are sarsens or blocks of sandstone, such as are to be found lying about in many parts of the district round Stonehenge.

Picture 2. Plan of Stonehenge in 1901. (After Archæologia.) The dotted stones are of porphyritic diabase.

Well within this circle stood the five huge trilithons (a-e), arranged in the form of a horseshoe with its open side to the north-east. Each trilithon, as the name implies, consists of three stones, two of which are uprights, the third being laid horizontally across the top. The height of the trilithons varies from 16 to 21½ feet, the lowest being the two that stand at the open end of the horseshoe, and the highest that which is at the apex. Here again all the stones are sarsens and all are carefully worked. On the top end of each upright of the trilithons is an accurately cut tenon which dovetails into two mortices cut one at each end of the lower surface of the horizontal block. Each upright of the outer circle had a double tenon, and the lintels, besides being morticed to take these tenons, were also dovetailed each into its two neighbours.

Within the horseshoe and close up to it stand the famous blue-stones, now twelve in number, but originally perhaps more. These stones are not so high as the trilithons, the tallest reaching only 7½ feet. They are nearly all of porphyritic diabase. It has often been asserted that these blue-stones must have been brought to Stonehenge from a distance, as they do not occur anywhere in the district. Some have suggested that they came from Wales or Cornwall, or even by sea from Ireland. Now, the recent excavations have shown that the blue-stones were brought to Stonehenge in a rough state, and that all the trimming was done on the spot where they were erected. It seems unlikely that if they had been brought from a distance the rough trimming should not have been done on the spot where they were found, in order to decrease their weight for transport. It is therefore possible that the stones were erratic blocks found near Stonehenge.

Within the horseshoe, and near its apex, lies the famous “Altar Stone” (A), a block measuring about 16 feet by 4. Between the horseshoe and the outer circle another circle of diabase stones is sometimes said to have existed, but very little of it now remains.

The whole building is surrounded by a rampart of earth several feet high, forming a circle about 300 feet in diameter. An avenue still 1200 feet in length, bordered by two walls of earth, leads up to the rampart from the north-east. On the axis of this avenue and nearly at its extremity stands the upright stone known as the Friar’s Heel.

In 1901, in the course of repairing the central trilithon, careful excavations were carried out over a small area at Stonehenge. More than a hundred stone implements were found, of which the majority were flint axes, probably used for dressing the softer of the sandstone blocks, and also for excavating the chalk into which the uprights were set. About thirty hammer-stones suitable for holding in the hand were found. These were doubtless used for dressing the surface of the blocks. Most remarkable of all were the ‘mauls,’ large boulders weighing from 36 to 64 pounds, used for smashing blocks and also for removing large chips from the surfaces. Several antlers of deer were found, one of which had been worn down by use as a pickaxe.

Note:

More Overmuch nine hundred stone rings subsist in the British Isles. Of these, Stonehenge is the most best known.

The megalithic monuments of Britain and Europe pre-history those of the oriental Mediterranean, Egyptian, Mycenaean and Greek civilization.

The Druids had nothing to do with the building of the stone rings. Druids are known to have taken their ritual activities generally in sacred forest woodlet.

Nicholas – Stonehenge and Salisbury Tour Guide
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