Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites, Pt II

After leaving Stonehenge, we drove through the English countryside towards Bath, arriving there just before lunch. Named  World Heritage Site in 1987, Bath is a picturesque city located on the Avon River in Southwest England, and part of the south Cotswolds. Its well-known Great Bath (Bath Spa) and historic Georgian structures attract more than 250,000 visitors annually. 

What Not to Miss in Bath:

  • The Royal Crescent – Designed by John Wood the Younger, between 1767 and 1774, the 30 Georgian style terraced houses are laid out in a crescent shape.
  • The Circus – John Wood the Elder began construction on the Circus, a group of Georgian style townhouses arranged in a circle, in 1754 but died before he could complete it. His son, John Wood the Younger, finished it in 1768
  • Bath Abbey – The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul was founded in the 7th century.
  • Pulteney Bridge – Completed in 1774, the bridge is one of four in the world that have shops that span its full length on both sides.
  • Jane Austen House – the author of classics such as Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, lived in Bath from 1801 – 1806. The center on Gay Street, about a 10 minute walk from the center of town tells the story of Austen’s time in Bath. There’s also a small gift shop with Jane Austen-themed goods. A must for Austen fans!

Westbury White Horse

The Westbury White Horse was not on our itinerary but it’s hard not to miss it standing as it does against the green Westbury Hill. The horse is 180 feet tall, 170 feet wide and was carved around 1778 into the chalk soil of the area.

Westbury White Horse
Westbury White Horse

Silbury Hill

At about 5,000 years old, Silbury Hill is about 130 feet high. It is the largest prehistoric mound in Europe. Made primarily of clay, which is all over the area, it is still unclear why it was created.

West Kennet Long Barrow

Located near Silbury Hill – you can see the hill from the barrow – and about 2 miles from Avebury, West Kennet Long Barrow is a prehistoric burial ground about 330 feet (100 meters) long. When its five chambers were excavated, the remains of about 40 adults and children who were buried around 3,600 BC were found along with grave goods, pottery and stone implements.


I didn’t know what to expect as we headed towards Avebury from West Kennet Long Barrow. Then I noticed a few small upright stones. If this is it, I thought, I’m not impressed. But our driver kept going. Where was he going? I wondered.

As he continued, I started seeing more and more stones, planted in a row – like fence posts – and they seemed to go on and on.

Whereas the circle at Stonehenge is concentrated in a comparatively small area, Avebury’s circle and ditch are spread over nearly 30 acres.

That is impressive!

Constructed around 2600 BC, with three circles – the outer one measuring 1,088 feet, and a henge 460 feet across – Avebury is the largest stone circle in Europe. Unlike Stonehenge that is in a wide open area where you can see the circle clearly, Avebury’s circle and henge are part of the community with houses close by and a busy main road which dissects the site. 

Avebury circle and village
Part of the circle and village of Avebury

Although Avebury is free and open to the public, it wasn’t overrun by visitors as Stonehenge is. It also isn’t strictly controlled. While we were there, I saw people climbing on top of the stones, sitting on and posing for photos on them. 

If you’d like to see a real henge monument up close and without the crowds, Avebury is the place to go. 

Avebury and Stonehenge were co-listed, along with Durrington Walls, Woodhenge, West Kennet Long Barrow, Silbury Hill as Avebury, Stonehenge and Associated Sites, and were inscribed in 1986 to UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Avebury, the Red Lion pub
Avebury, the Red Lion pub

Once you leave the site, walk over to the Red Lion  – look left, look right, then left again before you cross the road – and have a glass of wine, a pint or some fish and chips. It’s not hard to miss.

Avebury, Prince Charles portrait
Avebury, Prince Charles portrait at the Red Lion

PS: You won’t find a pub anywhere near Stonehenge!

Linking to Budget Travelers SandboxRachel’s Ruminations, and Tanama Tales.

18 comments on “Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites, Pt II

  1. Your photo of the Abbey is beautiful Marcia. I’ve been to Bath about 40 years ago and the prehistoric burial ground and have fond memories of both. I don’t remember the horse – it is huge! How beautiful is the Red Lion Pub – did you stay for a pint?

  2. While Avebury is decidedly worth visiting because you can get so up close and personal, I still like Stonehenge better. Despite the tourist hordes, it has an imposing presence to it that Avebury doesn’t have. Love your pictures!

  3. Thanks, Jan. Bath has changed a whole lots since then, you won’t recognize it when you return.
    It was a beautiful day and Avebury was our last stop so we sat under an umbrella and I had a glass of wine.

  4. For some reason, I’ve been intrigued by the Crescent for years. Seems like it would be the sort of place to live once you’ve “arrived”. I love your photographs – and I’m furiously taking notes on what not to miss. Thanks for the #wkendtravelinspiration!

  5. I like your tip to look left, right, left. After reading this, I now know that there’s not just Stonehenge to see out there. I knew Bath had the baths but not that incredible Abbey or the Austen house. I think my family would enjoy Avebury so much, although my kids might be the type to try to climb the stones.

  6. Thanks, Michele! It’s something we learned in school and I found myself repeating it while I was in London. Funny how things come back to you. I hope you get to visit the area soon – it’s such a beautiful part of England. I think your kids would like both Stonehenge and Avebury.

  7. Looks like fun. We got to stop at a few of those places on our way through, but by that time in the UK we were on a bit of a time crunch because of flight bookings so we couldn’t linger.

  8. As a kid I asked for and got a book for Christmas about Avebury. My imagination was really ignited by these mysterious stones. I’ve yet to get there in person, maybe someday! The architecture in Bath also sounds amazing. I’d love to see Pulteney Bridge.

  9. Yes, lots, and you’re right, Ruth, Bath is fascinating. It could take an entire day to experience it however, it’s pretty easy to get there from London. Hope you get there soon.
    Re the White Horse, no one seems to know who made them. They really draw your attention.

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