If you’re planning on checking Stonehenge off your bucket list, interpretation and signage at the visitor center are outstanding, but touring it on your own simply won’t provide the same experience that you’d get by taking a special access tour. In fact, you’ll have to view it from behind a fence, and without expert commentary, which means you’re likely to leave disappointed. By booking one of these hotels along with a guided experience, you’ll be able to get the most out of this bucket-list destination.
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Conveniently located a short walk from Salisbury’s magnificent Salisbury Cathedral with its tallest spire in Britain, the world’s oldest working clock and the finest of four original 1215 Magna Carta manuscripts, the Legacy Rose & Crown Hotel makes a perfect base for touring Stonehenge as well. It sits in a lovely location with scenic views across the River Avon.
Rooms in the 13th-century part of the hotel come with lots of historic charm, complementing the original oak beams and paneling while containing upscale amenities like Nespresso machines, plush bathrobes and slippers. Some of the Garden Wing Executive Rooms on the ground floor have doors that open directly to the garden and river. Its Rivers Edge Restaurant serves a delicious upscale menu with 180-degree views of the river, waterfront terrace and surrounding countryside.
The revamped Pembroke Arms was once the Wilton House, which was the seat of the earls of Pembroke in the late 18th-century. It offers plenty of historic details with Georgian and Victorian era rooms, each named after parts of Wilton House. All have lots of charm, including Wilton-related prints and engravings. The King’s Bedchamber is especially opulent with its polished dark wood, while the elegant original staircase leads to the Assembly Room popular for weddings and private parties.
The bar serves delicious small plates and its restaurant offers an excellent menu with items like poached salmon, mushroom risotto and a chickpea and spinach curry, as well as fabulous desserts like apple pie and cinnamon ice cream.
Located on the south side of Salisbury just a few minutes’ walk from Salisbury Cathedral, the Grasmere House Hotel dates back to 1896. A luxurious Victorian styled hotel, it’s especially accommodating, catering to guests every whim. Rooms have ultra-comfy beds with multiple pillows that make it feel like home, and on the patio, guests can relax while enjoying a picturesque landscape view of the city. The onsite conservatory restaurant, bar and lounge overlook the hotel’s award-winning gardens, meadows and the cathedral beyond.
Milford Hall Hotel & Spa sits in a Georgian mansion, about a 10-minute walk from the town center and the cathedral. It’s a popular choice with guests seeking a relaxing spa vacation as well as the opportunity to easily explore Salisbury, Stonehenge and other area attractions. It’s Lime Tree spa is a standout, with an outdoor hot tub, thermal suite and treatments that include exclusive massages, facials, wraps, body scrubs and more. The hotel boasts an excellent seafood and steak restaurant, along with character-filled rooms, some with ornate fireplaces and antique furnishings.
The Gainsborough has the only hotel spa in Bath with access to the city’s famed natural thermal waters along with a prime location in the heart of town. Many of its 99 rooms have 18-foot-high ceilings and tall windows, providing lots of natural light, decorated in soft “Georgian” blues and browns. Expect outstanding creative food in the on-site restaurant along with exceptional service.
Set in an especially tranquil upscale residential area in western Bath, guests of the Bath Priory hotel, built in 1835, will be just a five-minute walk from the city’s main park, Royal Victoria Park, and a scenic 20-minute walk from the town center. The grounds of the late-Georgian stone mansion boast sweeping lawns, huge cedar trees and a heated outdoor swimming pool, with three acres of gardens in the back. Rooms and suites are modern with nods to the hotel’s historic past, including beautiful four-poster beds.
The Queensberry Hotel is spread over four interconnected Georgian townhouses, set on a quiet residential street, just north of the town center. Its original owner was the 8th Marquess of Queensberry, but despite the 18th-century surroundings, it has a contemporary look with guest rooms all individually decorated. Striking details like a shag-pile bedspread blend beautifully with modern furnishings accented with Georgian details. It’s Olive Tree restaurant is the only Michelin-starred eatery in the city.
Standing at the top of a long drive overlooking giant cedar trees and gorgeous lawns, the Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel sits within an 1836 Greek Revival mansion. Originally built for a general its Vellore Restaurant is in the former ballroom. Most guest rooms are in the modern wing, but there are impressive, and extra-spacious individual rooms and suites in a Georgian wing and separate building.
You can’t beat the location of the Royal Crescent which overlooks an end of Victoria Park and beautiful lawns, while the city center can be reached within an easy 5- to 10-minute walk. There are gorgeous period details, including winding staircases, lounges with oil paintings and chandeliers, as well as luxurious suites with elegant stuccoed ceilings. Food is top-notch and the spa is especially enticing with its indoor relaxation pool, a vitality pool with massage jets, steam room and sauna.