Hurrah for Rabbies! I learned to enjoy their small group tours in Scotland and this one was made to order for me…. standing stones, quaint village and Roman ruins. I made it to the meeting point on time (in fact,way early) to meet my guide James and Hugo, the only other person on the tour. One of the nice thing about Rabbies is that the tour goes on even if you are the only one on it. He provided lots of intersting facts about London as we wended our way out of the city…. the Duke of Westminster owns over 300 acres within London, you may buy a house on his property but you still will pay him a lease for the land. One of my favorite entertaining bits was as we passed a pub called the 3 Kings with a painting of said kings above the door. He challenged us to name the 3…. I guessed that one was Henry VIII, but really we passed the pub too fast to really study the picture. Anyway, it turned out the one painted. the middle of the sign was Elvis! I got a better look on the return trip and was able to see the likeness. Another nice thing about Rabbie’s tours is that the 16 passenger buses are small enough to take the smaller roads, so it wasn’t too long before we did just that.
we started to see houses with thatched roofs and James explained about how they were made. surprisingly ( to me at least ) a properly maintained thatch roof might last 60 years!
Our first photo op was the White Horse of Cherhill.
The image is made by scraping down to a layer of chalk under the grass. In the foreground of the picture that is a field of rapeseed in bloom, also called canola. After another photo stop for a good view we arrived in Avery.
Avery is a small village surrounded by a large circle of standing stones. These stones were from local sandstone so are much more eroded than those at Stonehenge and some are now quite small. Some are also missing altogether, most probably used in the building of the village itself. Unlike Stonehenge you can walk through the fields and touch the stones. Many of the missing stones have been replaced with markers.
After walking through the fields, we got back on the bus and headed for Lacock. Lacock is a quaint village that has been used in Jane Austen films and the inside of the Abbey was used to film some of the corridor scenes in Harry Potter. We did not have a lot of time here so I wandered the village instead of the Abbey.
I did get an outside photo of the abbey.
Then it was time to move on to Bath and the Roman baths at the sacred spring.
This is probably the view most folks associate with the baths … if, in fact, they associate anything at all. The Roman buildings and baths were buried for many centuries until they were rediscoverd in the 18th century and then heralded as a healing spa. In addition to the baths, of which there are many within the structure, there was also a temple to Sulis Minerva. The below is from the roof of the temple with a video overlay showing what is believed to be missing.
The baths were supplied by a natural hot spring and there were some rooms meant for swimming and others for soaking. There was also a cold plunge bath as well.
I really enjoy Roman ruins so I spent a lot of time here. when I finally did exit, I set out to find the Jane Austen centre. I checked a map but still managed to take the long way around. I finally arrived at this corner and discovered I was within a few blocks.
I enjoyed my walk and the surroundings but found that getting sidetracked has not left me with enough time for the guided tour at the center and they did not permit self guided. I started walking back and came across this likely site:
A bar specializing in local Bath Ales. I did have time for that. Some more interesting views and then it was time to return to London.
Many thanks to our Rabbies driver and my touring companion, Hugo. I had a great time and the 3 of us enjoyed interesting conversation during the drive in addition to all the interesting facts and stories provided by James.
Rabbies tours … http://www.rabbies.com