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Travel / Tours / England / Central
Photos from a tour of Central England
  St Albans
  Stonehenge & Avebury
  Further information


The photographs below were taken during a 3-day tour of central England, starting in London. Note that this tour is not operating at present. If you follow the links at the end of each section, you can find details of tours to those places and information which will help you to plan your trip.

Tour organiser: Dominic

The "people carrier" used

Booking into a hostel

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St Albans is named after a man called Alban who lived in the time of the Romans (during the 3rd century, when this was the Roman city called Verulamium). Alban helped a Christian priest who was trying to escape at a time when Christians were being killed. When the priest's hiding place was discovered, Alban exchanged clothes with the priest so that he could escape. Alban, who had become a Christian, refused to give up his new faith, and he was killed by having his head cut off.

Clock tower

St Albans Cathedral

Verulamium Park

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Cambridge is famous as a university town. The university has 31 colleges: the oldest (Peterhouse) was founded in 1284. Corpus Christi College (pictured) was founded in 1352. You can get a good view of Cambridge by climbing the tower of Great St Mary's Church. The River Cam passes through the town. A popular activity with students and tourists is "punting" - a long pole is used to move a flat wooden boat known as a punt. You can see many of the colleges from the part of the river known as "the Backs", including King's College - famous for its chapel and choir.

Corpus Christi College

Great St Mary's Church


From Silver Street you can see the Mathematical Bridge, which was designed by the scientist Sir Isaac Newton (a former member of Trinity College, Cambridge). You can continue to walk along the river through some meadows to the pretty village of Grantchester (pronounced "Granchester"). This was where the poet Rupert Brooke lived.

Newton's Mathematical Bridge

Walking to Grantchester

Rupert Brooke

For more information about Cambridge, see: Travel/Tours/England/Cambridge
For more information about Grantchester, see: Travel/Tours/England/Grantchester

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The first castle to be built at Warwick (pronounced "worrick") was ordered by William the Conqueror in 1068. The present castle was constructed between 1356 and 1401. The Great Hall includes a display of arms and armour. Wax figures are displayed to illustrate the history (the castle was bought in 1978 by the owners of Madame Tussaud's). The entrance charge for the castle is high (about £13.50 in 2003). You can also get a good view of the castle by climbing the tower of St Mary's Church (in Church Street).

Guy's Tower (built in 1393)

Suits of armour (in the Great Hall)

Entrance tower

Interior view of the castle


Peacock garden

For more information about Warwick, see: Travel/Tours/England/Warwick

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Stratford-upon-Avon is famous as the town where the famous English writer William Shakespeare was born.
Shakespeare's birthplace (pictured) and The Shakespeare Exhibition are located in Henley Street.
Anne Hathaway's Cottage (pictured) was the home of Shakespeare's wife (they were married in 1582). It is located in the village of Shottery, which is about 1 mile (1.6kn) from the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. It is possible to walk to Shottery by taking a footpath which starts next to Grove Road. There are many beautiful thatched houses in the village, as well as a tearoom, and a marked walk along Shottery Brook (this takes about 30 minutes).
For more information about Shakespeare and the houses which are associated with him, see:

William Shakespeare

Shakespeare's birthplace

Anne Hathaway's Cottage

Shakespeare's plays are frequently performed at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which is the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). For details about performances, and to book tickets online, see:

Another attraction in Stratford is the canal and the river (the Avon): you can watch the narrow boats as they pass through the "locks" (water gates) if you follow the riverside walk. You can also visit a butterfly farm on the south bank of the river (see:

Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Canal boat

For more information about Stratford-upon-Avon, see: Travel/Tours/England/Stratford

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Bibury is a village in the area known as the Cotswolds, near the town of Cirencester. The English designer William Morris described it as the most beautiful village in the country. Many of the stone buildings were constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the village grew rich from the wool trade. There is a fish farm for "rainbow trout". The Swan Hotel has beautiful gardens which can be seen from the road. Arlington Row is perhaps the most often photographed row of cottages in the UK, and is often included in calendars. These buildings, which were the homes of weavers in the time of the wool trade, are now owned by the National Trust.

Stone houses in the village

Gardens of the Swan Hotel

Arlington Row

For more information about the Cotswolds, see: Travel/Tours/England/Cotswolds

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Bath is one of the best-loved cities in Britain, and is a popular tourist location.

The Romans built a spa town and temple here about 2000 years ago. The natural hot springs have been used both for pleasure and for healing. If you enter from Stall Street, you can see the King's Bath (pictured below): this was built in the 12th century over the main spring. Next to this is the Pump Room, which was built in the 18th century - this is a large elegant hall where people would go to drink the waters (the water here would have fallen as rain more than 10,000 years ago). If you visit the museum (which has an entrance charge; see:, you can see items from the Roman period which have been discovered during excavations. When you leave the museum you can see the Great Bath, which was used by the Romans as a warm swimming pool. This site was discovered by the Victorians in the 1860s - the statues and columns were added at this time.

Close to the baths is Abbey Churchyard, from where you have a fine view of Bath Abbey (see picture). See:

Jane Austen (pictured) spent much of her life in Bath, although she was born and brought up in Hampshire. Two of her novels (Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published in 1818) were set mainly in Bath, and these mention many streets and buildings which can still be seen today. You can find out more by visiting The Jane Austen Centre at 40 Gay Street. There are also walking tours of Jane Austen's Bath, starting in Abbey Churchyard. For further details, see:

Walk to Royal Avenue and you can see the magnificent Royal Crescent. This is a semi-circular collection of 30 houses, built in Palladian style architecture. The houses are built on a hill, so there are good views of the city from here. Number 1, Royal Crescent is a museum which shows a Georgian interior ( For a brief description of history in the Georgian period, see: Britain/History/Georgian.

The King's Bath

Bath Abbey

Jane Austen

Royal Crescent

For more information about Bath, see: Travel/Tours/England/Bath

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Stonehenge is located on the southern part of Salisbury Plain (about 8 miles - 13 kilometres - north of Salisbury). The site was used as a temple from about 2800 BC until about 1100 BC (during the Neolithic Age and the Bronze Age). The famous stone circle we can see today was built using sarsen stones from the Marlborough Downs (about 20 miles - 32 kilometres - to the north), and was built in about 2000 BC. It would have needed more than 1,000 men to transport the stones. Many of the stones from the original temple are no longer there: they may have been broken up in the time of the Romans or in the Middle Ages. Stonehenge is now surrounded by a fence to protect it. The site is managed by English Heritage:

Avebury was the location of the second-largest open-air temple in prehistoric Britain, and was probably built some time between 2500 BC and 2000 BC. A ditch was built around the temple: about 100 standing stones were placed just inside this, enclosing an area of about 10 hectares. Two smaller circles of stones were built inside - parts of these can still be seen today. There would have been several hundred stones in total in the original structure, but most of these were broken up in the Middle Ages or later: the stones which can be seen today were discovered and re-erected in the 1930s. The site is now owned by the National Trust:

The Cherhill white horse was created in 1780, by cutting away the grass on the hill and using chalk to create the shape of a horse. It is located on the edge of Cherhill Down, off the A4 road from Calne to Marlborough (east of the village called Cherhill). See: It is one of two such horses in Wiltshire (the other is known as either the Westbury or Bratton white horse; see:


Avebury stone circle

Cherhill White Horse

For more information about Stonehenge and Avebury, see: Travel/Tours/England/Stonehenge

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Cambridge: Travel/Tours/England/Cambridge
Grantchester: Travel/Tours/England/Grantchester
Warwick: Travel/Tours/England/Warwick
Stratford-upon-Avon: Travel/Tours/England/Stratford
The Cotswolds: Travel/Tours/England/Cotswolds
Bath: Travel/Tours/England/Bath
Stonehenge / Avebury: Travel/Tours/England/Stonehenge

Introduction to England: Britain/Countries/England
Transport: Travel/Transport
Accommodation: Travel/Accommodation

Home page: Home

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