Stonehenge – Bath – Longleat

Girl Lacer did Romans at school last term and she likes history and she liked the Romans (although not as much as the Egyptians). And whereas we can’t afford the airfare to Egypt we could afford to take her to Bath to see the Roman Baths for the weekend.

Now I’ve been wanting to go back to Bath for years, last time I went I was probably around Boy Lacer’s age and my strongest memory is my dad teasing me for days beforehand that we were going to a place called Bath where I was going to be given a really good bath.

I’ve also been wanting to go to Stonehenge (which I am fairly sure I’d never been to before) and I knew I was unlikely to ever go to just Stonehenge because as monumental monument it is, it’s the sort of thing I think you see on the way to somewhere, as it’s a lot of travelling just to go to Stonehenge on it’s own, for something which once you’ve seen it, there’s not much else to do there.

I’ve also been wanting to take the kids to a safari park, to be honest Whipsnade was in mind because it’s nearer to us but when I saw the proximity of Longleat to Bath, well, definitely had to make the most of the opportunity.

So we set off on the Saturday, with the complete treat of a free upgrade on our hire car of a Mercedes (we’d opted and paid for a Skoda class car but they’d run out). We’d only had to hire a car because our car had spent a large part of the week in the garage and still wasn’t properly fixed (and trust me, our normal car ain’t nowhere near as posh).

Now despite the weather for most of the week being gorgeous and sunny and completely un spring like, we had more average spring like weather on the Saturday, i.e. it was overcast and pretty cold but it added to the atmosphere of Stonehenge I think.

Stonehenge

1. 365:90 Stonehenge, 2. Stonehenge, 3. Stonehenge, 4. Stonehenge

(as usual you can click on the links above to get to my Flickr stream to see bigger versions of the pics and more)

Then we went onto Bath, which is a strikingly pretty city with some pretty gorgeous shops (particularly foodie shops by the looks of it).

The Roman Baths were fascinating, with a museum we got absorbed in for ages thanks to the adult and kids audioguides and the actual bath complex was a lot bigger than I thought it would be.

Roman Baths

1. Roman Baths in Bath, 2. Roman Baths in Bath, 3. Roman Baths in Bath, 4. Roman Baths in Bath

(Photos only show the outside baths (which wouldn’t have been outside originally), there were more baths and ruins inside to)

Overnight we stayed in an ‘unique’ B&B, one of those big old house sort of places like on the property programmes, where the owners do it up for them to live in but can’t afford the cost of the property without turning part of the property into a guesthouse.

On the Sunday we went to Longleat. Now I am pretty sure I’d been to Longleat as a kid but it’s changed a lot since then, with a lot of attractions added to the main safari park, so much so that it was impossible to see everything in the almost full day we had there, we almost missed going round the actual safari park, only scraping in with about 15 minutes to spare. There were lots of small animals on display out of the actual safari park bit and it was nice that most of them weren’t really caged in. There were also some great mazes, including a really impossible one we had to give up on in the end.

Longleat

1. One of the mazes in Longleat, 2. 365:91 Longleat Parrot, 3. A white rose painted red for the Queen of Hearts

As it was Easter they had lots of themed Alice in Wonderland stuff (hence the last picture in the mosaic above, a rose that had been painted by one of the Queen of Heart’s soldiers).

I didn’t take any photos of the actual safari ride (sometimes I think it’s important not to spend 100% of the time looking down a lens), but it was great fun. The drive in the monkey enclosure was particularly nerve wracking considering we were in such a posh car (did you know the Mercedes’ badge bends down when pushed and then springs up again? I do now courtesy of a literal cheeky monkey). The tigers in particular looked more ‘right’ in their large wooded enclosure in the safari park than in a zoo (not that I have anything really in particular against well run zoos (a long time ago I used to volunteer at London Zoo), I think they’re important in conservation and education but there also a little bit of a necessary evil and in an ideal world all animals should roam as free as possible). I also liked seeing such a large herd of giraffe in the distance.

All in all, it was a really nice weekend and it reminded me exactly how much there is to do down in that part of England, specially with the gorgeous coast of both south-west England and south Wales (which I know far more well than the south west English coast) nearby (which we had absolutely no time to see). There’s also Cheddar Gorge and Wooky Hole nearby, which if I had remembered that I would so have thrown the idea of going to Longleat out and insisted we went to one of those instead as I have a real thing about caves. Think if we’re holidaying for a little longer than a weekend in England anytime soon, I know which part of the country we’ll be going to (and it’s so easy to get to from our part of London as well).

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