Oldbury Tours – Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours

Oldbury Tours offer bespoke Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours. We aim to provide unique experiences and create lasting memories of your visit to this exceptional area.

Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours - The Avebury landscape near Stonehenge with Oldbury Tours

Looking south from Oldbury Castle, Wiltshire after which Oldbury Tours is named

So much of the landscape of this part of the UK is still modelled to the designs of ancient peoples. Great monuments stand proud in beautiful surroundings testament to the ambition, skills, determination and beliefs of long vanished cultures. On our Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours we will introduce you to the countryside and its story as told by these remnants of times past.

Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours – Ancient relics of long vanished cultures

For good reason people want to visit Stonehenge and Avebury but there is a wealth of lesser known monuments within the UNESCO World Heritage Site. These include West Kennet Long Barrow and Silbury Hill most famously, but also The Devil’s Den, Windmill Hill, Knap Hill, Adam’s Grave, the Sanctuary, the Stonehenge Cursus, Woodhenge, and Durrington Walls  to name a few.

The countryside between the two world famous monuments is littered with these unique prehistoric sites. While seeing Stonehenge and Avebury is an absolute must their story is not complete without exploring the surrounding area. The fascinating places we explore on our Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours are all intimately linked. Combined they tell the story of 4000 years of human history before the Romans even turned up.

An experienced guide greatly enhances your enjoyment and appreciation of this exceptional part of the world. Read more on why we believe you need to hire a guide.

Click here or on the button below for some of our suggested itineraries. And click here or on the button below to enquire about availability on our Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours. We look forward to showing you around.

 

Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours - Laurence of Oldbury Tours with Rick Steves at Avebury in 2016

Laurence with Rick Steves the American travel writer, broadcaster and TV personality at Avebury in July 2016

Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours - Standing on top of West Kennet Long Barrow with Oldbury Tours

At West Kennet Long Barrow

Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours - Standing in front of Stonehenge with Oldbury Tours

A lifetime’s ambition.

Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours - Laurence of Oldbury Tours with clients at Stonehenge

A beautiful day at Stonehenge

Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours - Laurence of Oldbury Tours with iPad at Stonehenge

Laurence using an iPad to aid explanation

Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours - Oldbury Tours on a hike around Avebury Stone Circles and the Avebury region

Oldbury Tours on a hike around Avebury

Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours - Aerial photograph of Silbury Hill by Laurence of Oldbury Tours

Silbury Hill from the air. Photo Laurence, pilot Tony Hughes

Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours - Aerial photograph of Adam's Grave, Pewsey Vale by Laurence of Oldbury Tours

Adam’s Grave from the air. Photo Laurence, pilot Tony Hughes

Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours - A beautiful May day at Stonehenge with Oldbury Tours

A beautiful May day at Stonehenge

Photo: Olivia Taylor

Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours - The chalk of the Marlborough Downs

The chalk of the Marlborough Downs

Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours - Laurence of Oldbury Tours on site, excavating a cremation burial in Pembrokeshire

Laurence at the Trefael Stone excavation in 2012

Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours - Laurence of Oldbury Tours on site, West Kennet Avenue, Wiltshire

On the West Kennet Avenue excavations in 2014

© Mike Robinson

Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours - Witnessing a Bronze Age burial excavation at Wilsford Henge, Marden

Witnessing a Bronze Age burial excavation at Wilsford Henge

Stonehenge and Aveubry guided tours - Laurence Davies, horn player

About Laurence – Local Knowledge and Archaeological Enthusiasm

Wiltshire bred – Music and Archaeology

I grew up in Wiltshire and have always considered it to be home, my parents having moved from my birthplace of Liverpool to Marlborough in 1969 just after my 3rd birthday. Growing up in a musical family I was surrounded by my twin passions, music and the Wiltshire landscape. The outdoors was always the playground of choice for me and my older brother Harvey to the point where my mother says that she hardly ever saw us. Whether we were up at the crack of dawn to fish the Kennet and Avon canal or river Kennet, go metal detecting (we never found much luckily), or just roaming the countryside we were rarely to be found indoors.

The landscape had an enduring and indelible effect on me: the huge open skies, the changing light and the ever present lumps, bumps and stones. Burial mounds and standing stones are always likely to intrigue an enquiring boy’s mind and I was fascinated by these very tangible and accessible remnants of remote times.

The thirst for knowledge – a passion ignited

By the age of 14 I was a boy at the marvelously British establishment of Marlborough College (Kate Middleton is one of the school’s more recent old pupils), where my father was a member of staff in the music department. When we were asked to do a school history project on a subject of our choice I had no hesitation but to base mine on Wiltshire’s prehistory. My project was entitled ‘Walking the Ridgeway’ and was a study of the ancient ‘road’ and the surrounding landscape. From that time I knew there was no better way to learn a subject than by immersing yourself in it and physically getting as close as possible.

With my father I walked the 45 miles of The Ridgeway (an ancient path along the chalk escarpment) in 3 days from Overton Hill to Streatley on the Thames. We visited all the major archaeological sites it passes and I was hooked on the subject. It was my proudest achievement both physically and academically for some years to come!

A Degree in Archaeology and Classical Studies

A few years ago I ‘went back to school’ as my wife Sian puts it. Combining a music career with studies I gained my BA from the Open University in 2013 studying archaeology and the history, society and mythology of Classical Greece and Rome. Since then I have read the most relevant books, texts and publications regarding prehistoric Wiltshire that I have found time to do. As a member of the Council for British Archaeology and the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society and their associated field group I endeavour to keep abreast of all the new discoveries, theories and science in my field of interest.

Archaeology with the experts

I have also been extremely fortunate to be involved in three recent archaeological digs. The first was in Pembrokeshire with George Nash where the research aim was to confirm that the Trefael Stone was once the capstone of a cromlech or burial chamber. In the summer of 2014 I was a volunteer at the ‘Between The Avenues’ dig lead by Josh Pollard and Mark Gillings where the research agenda was to verify the presence of a Neolithic settlement site on the course of the West Kennet Avenue in the Avebury and Stonehenge World Heritage Site. And for the last three years I have taken part in the excavations at Marden Henge and Wilsford in the Pewsey Vale with Reading University under the leadership of Jim Leary and Amanda Clarke. If you would like to see what I have been up to recently archaeologically please visit the Oldbury Tours facebook page via the icon below.

Another hugely beneficial experience for me has been being part of the team of National Trust guides at Stonehenge. The volunteer guides are all trained by Dr Nicola Snashall (National Trust archaeologist along with Dr Ros Cleal for the Avebury and Stonehenge World Heritage Site) and I have learnt an enormous amount from her especially but also from some of the other experienced guides, particularly Mike Robinson.

Music – my other passion

Briefly: as a musician I have spent the last 25 years giving concerts, recording and touring the world having reached the top of my profession as Principal Horn of the Philharmonia and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. I have played on many soundtracks including James Bond, Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean, from Gravity and the new Poltergeist film to Paddington, Shrek and Finding Nemo. None of this is particularly relevant to my role as a tour guide except that my touring has enabled me to visit over 100 World Heritage Sites on 6 continents and learn first hand how to be a tourist. Additionally throughout this time I have never lost my passion for reading and have had plenty of travel time to pursue it.

Stonehenge and Avebury guided tours – The Background Knowledge

As part of this website we have included articles about the main places we visit on our tours. Reference is made to several authors when talking about the monuments and sites of importance. The idea behind the tours, and therefore these articles, is to link local knowledge and enthusiasm with the expertise and research of professional archaeologists. The books, pamphlets and articles referenced contain the most up-to-date science available having mostly been written in the 21st century by foremost archaeologists of our day. We recommend them for further reading in the bibliography. Please click on the button here to see the list.

Click on one of the buttons below to go to Oldbury Tours’ home page, to read some tales of recent tours, to read why we think you need a guide, or to enquire about a tour for yourself. We look forward to showing you around.