6 Hours in Salisbury, UK

One of the things D really wanted to do on this trip was get out of London and visit Stonehenge. We initially dedicated a few hours to this activity but ended up spending a bit more time in the town of Salisbury due to the Stonehenge bus being a bit late.
It took a bit of research to figure out how to do this trip on our own without the assistance of a tour.
To get to Salisbury, we took a train. The journey was about an hour and a half on a pretty comfortable train and tickets were £42 round trip when we booked the day prior, but I read that the rates will vary depending on how early they're purchased.
From the Salisbury train station, we took a bus to get to Stonehenge. This bus runs hourly in the slower season and seems to be timed with the train schedule. We were able to go directly from the train right onto the bus and on our way rather promptly. The ticket for the bus was £16 round trip.

My main issue with the bus was that it was a bit disorganized and annoying. When we arrived, we were told to sit still and the driver locked us all in the bus and left to do some kind fo paperwork. When he got back, we were told to remain sitting while he gave a 10-minute talk. There is an option to book the bus along with admission into Stonehenge, which saves you a couple of bucks. We did not do this and even still, we were made to sit on the bus while the driver gave a speech to the rest of the bus. It was a waste of time.
The website encourages you to purchase tickets ahead of time (for a specific time period) because they only allow a specific number of people in at a time. If you get there at a popular time and they've already sold out of a time slot, you'll have to wait. I don't think it's a big deal in the off-season but I would definitely recommend booking ahead of time regardless. Admission was £16 each.
Within walking distance of the bus drop off point and the ticket booth are some replicas of huts that supposedly the people who lived in the era of Stonehenge may have lived in.
To actually get to the famous Stonehenge rocks, there's a free shuttle (included with the price of admission). You're welcome to walk, especially if you want to save money on admission, and it's really only about a mile walk. I was also reading online that there are a couple of other ways to view the site for free. I didn't mind paying for the convenience and also to provide funding for any current and future restoration efforts.
I think Stonehenge is one of those Marmite things, meaning, people either love it or hate it. I mean, it's just a bunch of rocks stacked and arranged in a semi-interesting way so it could be pretty boring at face value. However, I really enjoyed reading the anthropological hypotheses for the reasoning and timeline and construction of this site. I mean, no one actually knows the true reason; it's assumed that this was some kind of religious temple but that's not a certainty.
We were blessed with a really beautiful day and I had a lot of fun photographing the site, including the sheep in the surrounding fields.
There's a little museum of sorts set up by the ticket booth, which has some interesting artifacts and displays.
So remember I said how annoying the bus set up was? Well, we were hoping to get back to the train station quickly (it seemed like the bus schedule was set up to align with the return trains to London as well), but because the bus driver was doing his whole thing of leaving the passengers locked inside while he went into a building to do paperwork and then giving a ten-minute speech, by the time we got on the bus and got into Salisbury town center, we had already missed the train. So, we made an impromptu decision to spend a little time in town instead of hanging out and wasting an hour at the train station.
The original plan was to be back in London just before 14:00 so we could go to afternoon tea. However, since we were stuck in Salisbury and our bellies were starting to grumble, we decided to grab lunch.
This cozy, picturesque little inn had a menu of typical British fare and we really leaned into it. We both read the description of the "12-hour roasted tenderflake of beef with mash and kale" and couldn't resist. When I shared a photo of this on instagram, one of my friends commented that this is what Salisbury steak is supposed to look like.
The meat was incredibly tender and flaked apart, totally living up to its name. The mash was basically 50% butter, meaning it was delicious, and the rich gravy really brought it all together.
We decided to share a sticky toffee pudding for dessert, and even though I'd made some for Thanksgiving and indulged immediately before the trip, this still hit the spot.
On our walk back towards the train station, we made sure we chose a route that would allow us to be able to pass by the cathedral.
I think the town of Salisbury is quaint enough to spend more time in. I think if I'd known that the bus schedule was going to be so wonky, I might've planned the day a bit differently. Going inside the Salisbury Cathedral might've been fun, especially since it houses one of the best-looking copies of the Magna Carta.

Even though things didn't go quite the way we'd planned, we both agreed it ended up being a really lovely day and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Our lunch was so delicious, even if we hadn't done anything else, that was already such a lovely consolation.
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