AIA Tours: land

From Stonehenge to Carnac: Megaliths, Monuments & Tombs of Wessex & Brittany

Tour Dates: May 25-June 5, 2021 (12 days)

Tour Leader(s): Paul G. Bahn ,

Learn with AIA expert Paul Bahn about the extraordinary prehistoric sites of Wessex, England, and Brittany, France. Amidst beautiful landscapes see world renowned, as well as lesser known, Neolithic and Bronze Age megaliths and monuments such as enigmatic rings of giant standing stones and remarkable chambered tombs. Explore medieval churches, charming villages, museum collections, and more.

“It was so well organized and the travelers so interested in the subject. One of the best tours I have ever taken part in. – Penelope, California

  • Highlights:
    Stonehenge, the world’s most famous megalithic site, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site together with Avebury, a unique Neolithic henge that includes Europe’s largest prehistoric stone circle.
  • Enigmatic chambered tombs such as West Kennet Long Barrow.
    Carnac, with more than 3,000 prehistoric standing stones, the world’s largest collection of megalithic monuments.
  • The uninhabited island of Gavrinis, with a magnificent passage tomb that is lined with elaborately engraved, vertical stones.
  • Several outstanding museum collections including prehistoric necklaces, pendants, polished stone axes, and more.
  • The UNESCO World Heritage site of Mont-Saint-Michel, an imposing abbey built on a tidal island.
  • Charming villages, medieval churches, and beautiful landscapes of coastlines and rolling hills.
  • The tour begins in London and ends in Paris! Arrive early and/or stay longer to explore these cities independently.

Pricing (per person)

$9,295 (10-14 participants) double occupancy
$995 single supplement (limited availability)

Single room supplement will be charged when requested or required. With fewer than 10 participants, a small group surcharge may be added.


AIA Tours: From Stonehenge to Carnac, travel with the AIA

A jadeite axe found near Breamore, Hampshire, at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum. Image by © Pasicles

Salisbury Cathedral © DDelso

La Roche aux Fées (Fairies’ Rock), Essé. © Vigneron

Champ Dolent menhir. © J. Waldbaum

Vannes, France. Image by © Myrabella

Mont-Saint-Michel. © BeBo86

The tumulus of Gavrinis. © J. Waldbaum

Itinerary


(B)= Breakfast, (L)= Lunch, (D)= Dinner

Tuesday, May 25, 2021: Depart HOME
Wednesday, May 26: Arrive London, ENGLAND | Transfer to Salisbury, Wessex | Salisbury walking tour | Welcome dinner
Thursday, May 27: Devizes | Old Sarum | Salisbury
Friday, May 28: Salisbury Cathedral | Durrington Walls | Woodhenge | Walk to Stonehenge | Salisbury
Saturday, May 29: Avebury | West Kennet Long Barrow |Silbury Hill | Ferry from Portsmouth to France
Sunday, May 30: Arrive Saint-Malo, Brittany, FRANCE | Champ Dolent menhir | Tressé | St. Malo walking tour, PM at leisure
Monday, May 31: Mont-Saint Michel | Vannes
Tuesday, June 1: Locmariaquer | Vannes: Archaeological Museum of Morbihan
Wednesday, June 2: Gavrinis | Carnac: Museum of Prehistory, Kermario, Kerlescan, Mané-Kerioned | Vannes
Thursday, June 3: Essé | Chartres
Friday, June 4: Chartres Cathedral | St.-Germain-en-Laye: National Archaeological Museum, Farewell dinner
Saturday, June 5: Fly Home

View Detailed Itinerary

(B)= Breakfast, (L)= Lunch, (D)= Dinner

Tuesday, May 25, 2021: Depart HOME

Wednesday, May 26: Arrive London, ENGLAND | Transfer to Salisbury, Wessex | Salisbury walking tour | Welcome dinner
Arrive at London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR), where you will be met and transferred to our hotel in the historic city of Salisbury. The hotel’s main building is a 13th-century riverside coaching inn, and it is a short walk across the meadows to Salisbury Cathedral. This afternoon, take a guided walking tour of Salisbury, including a tour of the Salisbury Museum with its Director. In the evening, enjoy a welcome drink and dinner at our hotel. Overnight at the 4-star Legacy Rose and Crown Hotel for three nights. (D)

Thursday, May 27: Devizes | Old Sarum | Salisbury
Take a morning drive to Devizes, where we will take a guided tour of the Wiltshire Heritage Museum with its Director. Its archaeological collections span the Neolithic through medieval periods, and include finds from Stonehenge and Avebury (which we visit on May 28th and May 29th, respectively). After an independent lunch in Devizes we return to Salisbury. En route, stop to visit Old Sarum, site of the ruins of an Iron Age hill fort, William the Conqueror’s 11th-century castle, and Salisbury’s original cathedral. The balance of the day is at leisure. (B)

Friday, May 28: Salisbury Cathedral | Durrington Walls | Woodhenge | Walk to Stonehenge | Salisbury
This morning we take a guided visit of the “new” (13th-century) Salisbury Cathedral. After an independent lunch, we drive to Durrington Walls, site of a henge (circular structure) and the largest Neolithic settlement in northern Europe, where a local expert will join us for the rest of the day. After visiting the adjacent Neolithic site of Woodhenge, we embark on a walk through the Stonehenge landscape, including a view of the burial mounds of King Barrow Ridge. Our journey culminates at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre, where the exhibition includes almost 300 artifacts and human remains from the site. From there we will be driven to Stonehenge itself, a ring of standing stones dating from 3000–2500 B.C., a UNESCO World Heritage site (together with Avebury and associated sites), and one of the most iconic of all archaeological monuments. We have been granted special access to the inner circle. Our guide will lead us through the stones themselves after the Centre has closed. Return to Salisbury for a late, light dinner at our hotel. (B,D)

Saturday, May 29: Avebury | West Kennet Long Barrow | Silbury Hill | Ferry from Portsmouth to France
Check out of our hotel this morning and drive to the village of Avebury, where we meet up again with our local expert to visit Avebury’s unique Neolithic henge, comprising three circles around the village, including the largest prehistoric stone circle in Europe. Continue on to the West Kennet Long Barrow, one of Britain’s largest and most accessible Neolithic chambered tombs, before taking the short walk to Silbury Hill, Europe’s tallest, manmade, prehistoric mound. After an independent lunch in the area, drive to Portsmouth to embark our overnight ferry to Brittany, France. Dinner tonight will be aboard the ferry in the highly-rated, French-inspired dining room. Overnight aboard the ferry. (B,D)

Sunday, May 30: Arrive Saint-Malo, Brittany, FRANCE | Champ Dolent menhir | Tressé | St. Malo walking tour, PM at leisure
Disembark the ferry this morning and drive to the nearly 30-foot-tall Champ Dolent menhir (single, prehistoric standing stone), the largest in Brittany; and to the megalithic burial chamber at Tressé. Take a walking tour of the walled port city of St-Malo, followed by an independent lunch and afternoon at leisure to enjoy the town. Gather this evening for dinner at our hotel. Overnight at the 5-star Le Grand Hôtel des Thermes. (B,D)

Monday, May 31: Mont-Saint-Michel | Vannes
Check out of our hotel this morning and drive to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mont-Saint-Michel. After a guided visit of this imposing, Gothic-style Benedictine abbey and an independent lunch, continue on to the village of Vannes and check-in to our hotel. This evening we have dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at the 4-star Best Western Plus Vannes Centre Ville for three nights. (B,D)

Tuesday, June 1: Locmariaquer | Vannes: Archaeological Museum of Morbihan
Today, a local expert will accompany us on our site visits. Drive to Locmariaquer and see the heavily engraved dolmen of Mané-Lud. After an independent lunch in Locmariaquer, we return to Vannes for a short orientation tour of this splendid, medieval town followed by a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Morbihan, housed in the 15th-century Gaillard Castle. The evening and dinner are at leisure. (B)

Wednesday, June 2: Gavrinis | Carnac: Museum of Prehistory, Kermario, Kerlescan, Mané-Kerioned | Vannes
Meet our local expert again for today’s site visits. Drive to Larmor-Baden from where we take a boat to visit the impressive tumulus of Gavrinis, a cairn of large stones in a stepped pattern that resembles a squat pyramid. Return by boat and drive to Carnac, where lunch is on your own. Carnac is home to some of the world’s most famous megalithic sites, dating to the Neolithic period (ca. 4500–2000 B.C.). Visit Carnac’s Museum of Prehistory and then its famous alignments of Kermario, a huge field with dolmens (megalithic tombs) and more than 1,000 menhirs in ten lines; and Kerlescan, the smallest but best preserved of these sites; plus the dolmen of Mané-Kerioned, with its spectacular carvings. Return to Vannes and gather this evening for dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Thursday, June 3: Essé | Chartres
Check out of our hotel this morning and drive to Essé, where we visit the impressive dolmen at La Roche aux Fées (Fairies’ Rock). Continue on to Chartres, stopping en route for lunch at a local restaurant. Upon arrival in Chartres we check-in to our hotel and have the balance of the day at leisure. Overnight at the 4-star Best Western Premier Grand Monarque Hôtel. (B,L)

Friday, June 4: Chartres Cathedral | St.-Germain-en-Laye: National Archaeology Museum |Farewell dinner
Make a morning visit to 12th-century Chartres Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site and masterpiece of French Gothic art. Drive to St.-Germain-en-Laye, and enjoy lunch on your own. This afternoon we explore St.-Germain-en-Laye’s National Archaeology Museum, whose vast collection ranges from the Paleolithic to the Merovingian Gaul (11th century A.D.) eras, and then check-in to our hotel. Gather this evening for a farewell dinner in our hotel’s restaurant. Overnight at the 4-star Pavillon Henri IV. (B,D)

Saturday, June 5: Fly home
Transfer this morning to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) for flights homeward. (B)


For reservations or questions, please email us at aia@studytours.org (and include your full name) or call us toll-free at (800) 748-6262 (toll: 603-756-2884).

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