With the winter months in full swing, cosy up with your favourite festive drink as I take you back to the last day of British summer when I explored three quintessential English landmarks. Not one for guided tours but more of a spontaneous traveller I couldn’t resist when CityWonders reached out for me to experience one of their tours.
Windsor Castle, Bath and Stonehenge all in one day. Yikes! Initially the idea sounded overwhelming but couldn’t have come at a great time as my aim this summer was to explore more of my backyard. It’s not always about jetting off to a foreign destination.
The day kicked off with a 6:00am wakeup call in order to catch the 8am departure from Gloucester Road tube station- plenty of energy would be required to get through this day. For easy recognition the tour coordinator, wearing a blue branded jacket and sign- ticked my name off a list shortly after the mini bus pulled up and kick started our epic tour.
Our intimate group of 14 people led by Robert a knowledgeable chap from Ireland set off on the motorway. First stop Windsor! Robert with his whimsical sense of humour and storytelling skills shared some interesting facts about British history along the scenic route.
About City Wonders
“Tours from City Wonders tend to sell out so book in advance”- an advisory statement mentioned on Tripadvisor. Providing insightful and entertaining tours across European cities, this company was founded by Simone Gozzi who wanted to show Rome in a new light and was passionate about giving travelers an incredible, memorable experience in the Eternal City. This simple formula has been expanded to other European cities including Barcelona, Paris, Venice and London. With City Wonders, you can book with confidence, their excellent customer service ensures that you receive your booking confirmation immediately after purchase, can cancel within 24 hours and there are no transactional fees.
On arrival we took a short historical walk through the quaint town of Windsor with Robert before he left us to enter the castle gates and wander at our leisure. With queue jump access, we explored the splendor of this palace expertly steered through its rooms by an audio tour. It is worth noting that there is an airport like security search as you enter the castle gates so travelling light is highly recommended to speed up the process.
From palatial corridors into luxurious state apartments decorated with paintings wandering around the Queen’s favourite castle was a delight. Entering the gothic chapel where Harry and Meghan wed to witnessing the changing of the horseguards had to be the highlights of the tour.
Settled back in the coach we headed to our next destination, passing through the scenic British countryside and we arrived to a timeless beauty in the Avon Valley. Is it the Georgian architecture or contemporary culture with rich history and heritage that makes Bath a real head turner? My only regret was the short time we had to spend in this charming city due to traffic. Did I forget to mention that it was the last day of British summer meaning everyone was out making the most of it. No time to visit the thermal baths but we walked around Bath Abbey and browsed through the artisan shops.
Just under an hour drive from Bath we arrived an hour before it’s closing times. When it comes to winning the award for the most mysterious monuments I have seen in my lifetime, Stonehenge ranks in the top 5. Listening to a fascinating audio tour I was in shock and left to draw on my own conclusions about the true origins of how the structures were erected. For what it’s worth once you have seen the stones, that is about it hop back on the shuttle buses provided back to the Visitor Centre for more action including an exhibition area with replica artifacts, display Neolithic houses and a skeleton of a man who was buried at Stonehenge thousands of years ago.
Who would have thought that being a tourist in your own home country would be this interesting yet tiring? For anyone visiting the UK I would recommend joining one of the tours provided by CityWonders. The great balance between group trip and allowing you to wander around at your own leisure will suit any traveller. Secondly, as everything is pre-planned for you all you need to do is turn up and enjoy the experience. The only disappointment was the limited time spent in Bath which to be fair was what attracted me to taking this tour as it is a city on my list to explore. Perhaps squeezing in three locations in one go may have been too optimistic, keeping in mind you are travelling on road. However if you are pressed for time this tour would suit you perfectly.
The duration of this tour is 12 hours, operating on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays . Cost per adult starts from £77. For more details on this and other tours City Wonders provide visit their website.
I was a press guest to review this service. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed in this post remain mine.