This tour made me fall in love with England. During my two-week stay in Europe and having been able to visit eight countries, I would say England captured my heart the most and I would do my very best to live there at least once in my life.
I booked my England in one day tour with Premium Tours before I even left Canada for Europe. The tour cost £88. Premium Tours offers hotel pickup but since I was staying at a friend’s flat, I had to find my way to the Victoria Coach Station myself. The meeting time at the station was 8:15 a.m.
My friend, Aaron, took me and dropped me off at the station before 8 a.m. I bought a bottle of water for £0.99 and the grossest ham and mayo sandwich I’ve ever had for £2.79. I boarded the coach and off we went to Stratford-upon-Avon, where the greatest playwright, William Shakespeare, was born.
According to our tour guide, Stratford-upon-Avon means street across the river. Avon is a Celtic word meaning river and Strat meaning street.
Entrance to the house/birthplace of Shakespeare was included in the tour. Before entering Shakespeare’s house, we even got a free glass of champagne or orange juice and a scone. While eating, there were performers to entertain us.
Fun fact: Shakespeare’s dad, John Shakespeare, was the mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon when William was four years old!
Another fun fact: If you are looking of buying a guidebook, it is cheaper to get it at the entrance than at the exit. After touring Shakespeare’s house, actors were at the courtyard performing some scenes from different plays written by Shakespeare. I stopped and watched them for a bit before heading to the shop to buy some souvenirs.
Although Stratford-upon-Avon is a small town and the fact that I am a big city girl, I could actually see myself living in Stratford-upon-Avon. Only because even if it is a small town, there are plenty of things to do, eat, and see. There are a lot of plays and buskers singing to keep me entertained, cafes and restaurants to choose from, and shopping to keep me busy. On that day, I left my money at my friend’s flat and I only had £20 in my pocket, so I tried really hard not to spend so much money. I did buy £2.90 souvenirs and £2.75 toffee for my parents. Even though, I had my credit card with me, I try not to use it as much as possible.Anyways, after a visit to Shakespeare’s town, we boarded the coach to go to Bath but with a mini-stop at Cotswolds. We were there for maybe less than half an hour for anyone who wants to go on a pee break. According to our tour guide, Cotswolds is a pretty expensive place to live in!
After a few hours of driving, we have arrived in Bath. I never expected Bath to be this beautiful! Well, to be honest, I did not really know what to expect. All I knew was I was going to see the Roman Baths but the town of Bath itself, oh my God! It took my breath away with its beauty! In fact, I hurried to see the Roman Baths and did not take my time inside so I can come back outside and marvel at the beauty of Bath itself.
I seriously wanted to cry because of its beauty. Every street I turn to, it’s just pure magic. I would definitely want to go back! I think there is more to do there than just to visit the Roman Bath. Okay, I’m adding that to my things to do: VISIT BATH AGAIN!
Back to the Roman Baths… When we got there, I found out that entrance to the Roman Baths is not included so I bought a ticket to go inside. It was £14.50. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed that entrance to the Roman Baths was not included. I was expecting it to be an all-inclusive tour but oh well.
As usual, the architecture inside the Roman Bath (just like everywhere in Bath really!) is incredible!Here you go, folks! The Roman Baths! There was an audio tour that comes with the entrance fee but I did not listen to it so I did not learn anything because I was just so preoccupied with the beauty of everything I saw that I decided to just focus my attention to it. I mean, I can always go online and read about it right? But I don’t have all the time in the world to actually look at what is right in front of me!
When I got out of the Roman Baths, I walked and explored the streets of Bath some more. There were a lot of neat shops and cafes sprinkled all over. I bought a £2.65 Bath beer to give to a friend back in Canada.
I was getting hungry so I looked for a place to eat but with only a little over £1.50 left in my pocket, I was debating whether or not I should grab some food. I really, really did not want to use my credit card. I saw a sandwich/panini place and their cheapest one is £1.65 and I was £0.05 short. I was so tempted to beg for coins but I didn’t. I, eventually, gave in and used my credit card and bought an empanada and a bottle of water from Pasty Presto. I did not want to be hangry because the tour is not over yet! I bought a travelling beef empanada and a bottle of water for a total of £4.10 and yes, I did use my credit card. The empanada was served warm and fresh. It was sweet and spicy at the same time and the beef was tender! The filling reminds me of some Filipino dish I can’t quite put my finger on.
We headed straight to the Stonehenge after leaving Bath. Entrance to the Stonehenge was also included on the tour package. So, YAY!
From the souvenir shop and ticketing centre, one can take the shuttle or walk to the Stonehenge. Everyone from the tour took the shuttle. It was about a three-minute shuttle ride to the Stonehenge. On the way back, you also have the option to take the shuttle or walk.
The general atmosphere of the place is just very calm and peaceful. I could not believe I was there and that I finally got to see the Stonehenge! It was surreal to say the least! It actually breaks my heart to leave that place. I could not find the right words to explain the experience of being there. It was a crazy feeling to feel that way especially since for most people it is just a bunch of rocks. So since this was the last stop of the tour, I had more time to actually read the information provided. I learned that there were two types of stones used in the Stonehenge: sarsen and bluestone. The bigger stones used to build the Stonehenge were the sarsen and the smaller ones were the bluestone. Sarsen is a type of sandstone and is found in Southern England. On the other hand, bluestones “are a variety of different volcanic rocks, including dolerites and rhyolites” and “come from the Preseli Hills in west Wales.”
And that was the end of the tour. We got back to London at around 9 p.m. I took the tube to meet my friend to get the keys to her place and some of my money I asked her to take and give to me. Then I headed back to Canary Wharf and then took the bus back to my friend’s flat. I did stop by for a hotdog dinner at a stall in Canary Wharf.
I got a pork hotdog with crispy onions, ketchup, and mayo. I got a combo with chips and Coke. It cost £5.90. It was one of the best and tastiest chips I’ve ever had. The hotdog was not so great but the crispy onions were the bomb!Expenses: England in one day Premium tour £88 (inclusive of entrance to Shakespeare’s birthplace and entrance to Stonehenge), bottle of water £0.99, ham and mayo sandwich £2.79, souvenirs £2.90, toffee £2.75, adult entrance to Roman Baths £14.50, Bath map £2, Bath beer £2.65, empanada and bottle of water £4.10, Stonehenge postcard and magnet £8.50, and pork hotdog with chips and coke £5.90 for a total of £135.08.
Would I recommend for you to go with Premium Tours?
Absolutely! They are not paying me to say this and no, I did not go to the tour for free. I am saying this because based on my experience, they are a really good tour company. I have been in touch with them before my tour and they were very prompt when answering my questions. All communications were either through e-mail or telephone. They respond within 24 hours (if e-mail) and they have answers to all my questions. At one point, I was actually considering cancelling my tour with them and just going with a friend to wing it (good thing I didn’t!) and they said they will issue a FULL REFUND as long as I cancel 24 hours prior to the tour and a 50% refund if I cancel with less than 24 hours prior to the tour. I really like that policy. Also, the tour guide is so funny, organized, friendly, and helpful. I wanted to give him a tip but I didn’t have enough cash with me and I felt really bad. I would go on a tour with them again.