By Grace Burton, Social Policy and Politics Grad
THE CROFT / The Gothic tradition upholds pastoral settings; the recognition of how connected we are to nature, and how affecting it is to us as people. Grace experienced this in the English countryside, and recounts her experiences.
When it comes to exploring the wonders of England, Rabbie's Tour Company has long been a popular choice amongst travellers. As our guide Barney explained, the company built its roots touring Scotland and the lochs, before expanding to a fleet of charming mini buses all over the country. One of their most recent offerings is a day tour from Bristol, expertly combining historic Stonehenge and the natural beauty of the Cotswolds.
We left Bristol and were quickly met with the stunning landscapes of Somerset, whilst Barney explained the proceedings of the day and recounted some fascinating history about Bristol itself. Our guides' engaging anecdotes, local music playlist and avid eye for local wildlife made the drive to Stonehenge fly by.
The iconic Neolithic monument of Stonehenge really surprised me. It’s hard to convey the magic of giant rocks in words but trust me, you have to experience it for yourself. The mysterious origins of the standing stones, their endless history and speculations had our imaginations running, despite the rain. We had more than enough time to enjoy the museum and a pasty before hopping back on our minibus.
Just a short drive away from Stonehenge, we learnt that it is not the only stone circle in the South West. In fact the quaint town of Avebury is built within the largest stone circle in England, with a great pub right in the middle. We were delighted to stumble across what appeared to be a re-enactment community, drinking from horns and wearing Druidic robes. It made the place feel even more magical.
The tour then proceeds to the picturesque Cotswold villages of Lacock and Castle Combe, which seem like something straight out of a postcard. Pristine cottages, lush greenery, and charming streets create a relaxing and idyllic atmosphere, perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of city life. We loved wandering through the cobbles and searching for the Harry Potter filming locations that Barney had recommended in Lacock. Before relaxing with afternoon tea and scones. Rabbie’s reminded me how easy it is to escape into the beautiful countryside that surrounds Bristol. Having lived here as a student for three years I know how easy it is to feel stuck in the routine of city centre life. With the affordable price tag of £45 for the whole day, Rabbie’s makes this breath of fresh air trip highly accessible to both tourists and students alike. I will definitely be booking onto the ‘Flavours of Somerset and Glastonbury’ tour with some mates because who doesn’t love drinking local cider?
Featured Image: Grace Burton
What is your favourite rural place to visit?