Step aboard for a day of mystery and magic as we explore King Arthur’s England, a land of legend, history and myth!
Your day starts when you’re picked up at your hotel by a London black taxi driver – the world’s finest!* Acclaimed the world over for having to complete the fiendishly difficult ‘Knowledge of London’ series of tests before they are awarded their coveted green badge, your London black taxi driver is required to know literally thousands of streets, landmarks and places of interest. Every single London black taxi driver has been rigorously vetted, so you know you’re in safe hands too.
Your cabbie will drop you off at your starting point where your tour bus awaits you, offering you the kind of comfort you deserve: all coaches** feature reclining leather seats, air conditioning, and panoramic windows so you can sit back and enjoy the stunning views of the English countryside.
The first stop of the day is the magnificent, enthralling Stonehenge. This iconic structure has puzzled archaeologists and historians for centuries, and its true purpose remains a mystery to this day. How did the stones get transported thousands of years ago from so far away? What is the secret of its remarkable layout? We’ll be exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site with your qualified tour guide, who will escort you into the cinema for a 360- degree experience of what it would be like to be in the centre of Stonehenge from its beginnings 5,000 years ago.
You’ll also be able to view the many artefacts recovered from the tombs dotted around the surrounding landscape of lush, rolling green hills, as well as a nearly complete skeleton of someone who lived in the area before Stonehenge was even begun.
Outside the monument there will be a chance to explore some of the huts recreated from findings at the nearby “Durrington Walls” 2 miles away. You’ll get the chance to step into the huts and see how the people who built Stonehenge lived. From here we hop on to the courtesy bus that takes us up to the site of Stonehenge itself.
The remarkable thing about Stonehenge is its unique design and the craftsmanship involved in building this extraordinary site, and your guide is on hand to talk about some of the theories, and point out the site’s distinctive features.
From here we push deeper into what is often referred to as Arthur’s Britain. The countryside gradually becomes hillier and more remote as modern civilisation melts away behind us. We pass iron age fortresses, doll-like thatched cottages, ancient landmarks, villages with old gaols and a pub that was run by a notorious highwayman.
Finally we arrive at Glastonbury and the much-photographed Tor (hill) that silently dominates the landscape for miles around. We’ll pull into the small nearby town for our fish and chip lunch at an award-winning restaurant that has been a family business for over a century.
From here we’ll cross the road into Glastonbury Abbey to search for the final resting place of King Arthur himself. According to contemporary reports, the monks who lived at the Abbey discovered the tomb of Arthur following a fire. But to many people, Arthur is not dead at all – he sleeps nearby ready to awake when England is in peril. Stories of Arthur abound here in Glastonbury – the Isle of Apples – as do legends of fairy folk, saints and magic, all weaving through the landscape and remembering the deeds of long ago.
Our tour continues with a visit to the revered Chalice Well, where you can take for free the healing waters from the Lion’s head spring. Here too is an example of the Glastonbury thorn brought from the Holy Land by Joseph of Arimathea. The Chalice well itself has never been known to dry out – not even in the most severe droughts – and it was here that Joseph hid the Holy Grail. Since that time, people have travelled from far and wide to benefit from its healing properties.
Now for some serious hiking – but only if you want to! This is your chance to walk to the top of the town of Glastonbury and marvel at the magnificent views across to the city of Wells, Porlock, Dunster and even across the Bristol Channel to the principality of Wales – the land of the dragon. The tower of St. Michael stands as testimony to the medieval monks’ determination and engineering skills. But the tower holds a gruesome secret, and there’s an intriguing story of an encounter with the fairy kingdom too!
Time to leave now for our final stop of the day and the village of Avebury. On our way there we’ll see a striking white horse carved into the hillside to commemorate the triumph of an English King over the Vikings back in the 800s. We’ll also be driving past an old country mansion which became the subject of a notorious (and true!) murder mystery, a place that is in fact at the origin of the enthusiasm for detective novels going back to the 1800s that kick-started the popularity of the detective novel, captivating the imagination of readers and amateur sleuths on both sides of the Atlantic.
Measuring 400 metres across its diameter, the stone circle of Avebury is the largest in the world and – like Stonehenge – is a world heritage site. We’ll have time to explore the site together with your guide who tell you about the barber stone and the haunted pub, and will show you some great photo spots. We’ll also be doing some dowsing at the site to discover the power of the stones. There’ll be time to pop in to the famous ‘henge’ shop and find out about crystals and crop circles, and you might even want to take home some dowsing rods of your own… From here we’ll get back on our coach that will take us past the mysterious pre-historic mound of Silbury Hill – the largest in Europe.
We drive back via the lovely market towns of Marlborough and Hungerford. We’ll see Marlborough College, the school attended by the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie amongst others. Here, too, is another prehistoric mound which, according to legend, conceals the Round Table along with Merlin the Magician.
We’ll be joining the freeway back to London and drive past Windsor Castle, the venue for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May 2018, and you’ll be dropped off at Gloucester Road. Should any passengers require onward transfers then please speak to the guide beforehand.
*Please contact beforehand as to what constitutes a central London location. For areas outside central London there may be a surcharge depending on the size of the group. Free pickups in central London are for groups of 2 or more: individuals travelling with us may be eligible for a free pickup. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
**When there are 5 or fewer passengers on the tour we reserve the right to use a smaller vehicle, either an MPV (multi-person vehicle or 6 seater Mercedes vito). If this is the case the we will deliver passengers back to any of their chosen locations within central London.