About TOUR: Stonehenge, The New Forest & Portsmouth
Visit the ancient monoliths of Stonehenge
Drive through the New Forest
Visit the historic dockyard of Portsmouth
Visit the HMS Victory
Visit HMS Mary Rose or HMS Warrior
Your full day tour starts with a visit to Stonehenge. Situated on Salisbury Plain, Stonehenge is a unique, prehistoric World Heritage Site that is surrounded by ancient burial mounds. Who were the people who built it? Why did they build it? Where did the stones come from? How were they transported and erected at the site? The 5000-year old mystery of Stonehenge confounds the experts even today, and will certainly provide you with plenty of stimulating thoughts as you wander round this ancient site.
The New Forest was created in 1079 by William I (known as William the Conqueror) as a hunting area, principally of deer. It is a unique area of historical, ecological and agricultural significance, and retains many of the rural practices conceded by the Crown in medieval times to local people. Principal of these is the pasturing of ponies, cattle, pigs and donkeys in the open Forest by local inhabitants known as Commoners. The New Forest has also been an important source of timber for the Crown. It is an outstanding recreational area for walking and riding.
It is hard to imagine the New Forest without its famous ponies. Each animal is owned by a commoner and must be marked with an individual brand before being left to wander the open forest at will. Anyone may become a commoner, the term simply refers to a person who owns or rents a property or plot of land to which privileges known as rights of common are attached. More often than not they have the right of pasture which allows them to graze stock on the open forest. About 300 commoners currently exercise this particular right.The pony or horse was an important rural economy before the car, and the tradition of keeping them provided a valuable income. Today, rather than work horses, the demand is for riding ponies, and only a handful of commoners are able to make their complete living keeping stock.
On reaching Portsmouth, we visit the historic dockyard, one of the top ten heritage attractions in the UK, and celebrating in 2005 the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar. The dockyard is home to three world famous historic vessels. Experience the 500 year history of the British Royal Navy. We visit either the Mary Rose, lost in 1545, excavated and brought to the surface in 1982. She was HenryVIII's favourite ship and the only recovered 16th century warship on display in the world. OR, you can visit HMS Warrior. During her heyday she was the most formidable warship the world has every seen. Today she looks just as she did at the time of her first commission (1861-1864). She was constructed of wrought iron and powered by steam as well as sail.
We also take a tour on board Lord Nelson's HMS Victory, the worlds oldest commissioned warship, where on the quarterdeck Nelson fell, mortally wounded, and the area of the orlop deck where he died some 3 hours later knowing victory and a certain place in history was his.