Are you planning to visit Stonehenge? It’s one of Britain’s most popular and loved attractions. So much so, we think it deserves to be the 8th wonder of the world.
The mysterious ruins are visited by millions of people every year. Before you join the pack, make sure you’re up to speed on all things Stonehenge.
In this post, we cover everything from the landmark’s origins to ticket prices, facilities and best places to stay. Enjoy!
What’s so special about Stonehenge?
One thing that sets Stonehenge apart is the mystery surrounding it. The site consists of groups of stones in varying height standing upright, creating a ring formation. The main mystery is that people don’t know who built it – or even why it was built.
Was Stonehenge built in the Stone Age?
While there’s no specific date for the construction of Stonehenge, archaeologists believe it was built around 4-5,000 years ago. That’s roughly towards the end of the stone age – making it older than the Pyramids of Egypt!
Who was Stonehenge built by?
One of the most popular theories about the construction of Stonehenge is that Druids built it. These were Celtic high priests. However, nobody knows for certain as no written records have been found documenting the construction.
How did they move the rocks?
Despite claims of supernatural involvement (which is a fun idea), it’s thought a trail of logs was used to transport the stones with Neolithic techniques like shear legs to move and place them.
And was it ever completed?
While the incomplete nature of Stonehenge suggests it was never finished, archaeologists have discovered patches in the ground where stones may have been removed. Put simply, it may have been complete at some stage before being partially destroyed.
Was Stonehenge a cemetery?
Stonehenge is widely believed to have been a burial ground as many cremated remains have been unearthed. The deposits of 63 individuals’ human remains found were dated back as far as 3000BC, when construction was believed to have started. There are also claims that it could have been used for astronomy.
Is visiting Stonehenge worth it?
Above all else, Stonehenge is an enchanting and memorable place to visit, being steeped in mystery with rugged and wildly beautiful scenery all around. It’s one of the most popular and famous structures in the world, with around 875,000 people on average visiting each year.
However, with all that in mind, it makes sense to do a little planning ahead to get the most from your visit…
Is visiting Stonehenge free?
Stonehenge is free for National Trust and English Heritage members. Admission fees are as follows if you buy in advance:
Stonehenge Admission Fees:
|Students or over 60s||£15.80|
|Family ticket (2 adults and 1-3 children)||£45.50|
|National Trust and English Heritage members||Free|
There is a small increase in price on the day. However, it’s best to buy in advance if you want to guarantee entry. A timed ticket system has been put in place from February 2014, and you can buy your tickets from many online sellers or order them at various London attractions at discounted rates.
Stonehenge visiting times
Here are the Stonehenge opening hours:
|Stonehenge Opening Hours:|
|30th March – 31st May||9.30am – 7pm|
|1st June – 31st August||9am – 8pm|
|1st September – 15th October||9.30am – 7pm|
|16th October – 29th March||9.30am – 5pm|
Visiting Stonehenge: how long?
On average, a visit to Stonehenge takes around two hours. However, this can vary based on the time of day you visit, how busy it is and of course how many photos you want to take!
When is the best time to go?
Everybody loves a sunny day and England’s best months are usually from June-September. Weather is never guaranteed but these months generally are the busiest times at Stonehenge. If you go during these months, aim to visit early in the morning as it opens, or later before it closes to help beat the crowds.
If you are hardy, the Winter months can be an ideal time to visit, giving you less crowds so better viewing pleasure and the ability to get amazing photos, without throngs of people around.
What to wear on a Stonehenge visit?
There is usually a strong wind up on the Plain, so it’s best to dress in layers if you plan to visit during the colder months. If you visit in summer, it’s advisable to wear suitable walking shoes with weather-appropriate clothes.
Visiting Stonehenge for summer solstice
Summer solstice – 21st June – is one of the best times to see Stonehenge. Thousands of people gather on ‘the longest day of the year’ to watch the sun rise behind the entrance to the ancient Stone Circle. It’s also one of the rare occasions where you’ll be allowed into the inner circle.
Book your tickets in advance for this event to avoid missing out.
Travelling to the site
If visiting in summer months, things can get busy which may mean an amount of queuing. Your timed ticket allows a 30-minute time slot in which to arrive, although early or late arrivals will be considered, when space is available.
Best way to get there
The cheapest and easiest way to get there is by a direct bus and entrance ticket package from London. You get two hours at the site and it runs nearly every day through the summer and select days through the winter.
If you’re arriving by train, the bus from the station can be expensive. They run every hour, but make sure you know the time of the last one back, as it would be a brisk night bedding down by the stones! If you’d like to avoid the crowds by staying at the site later, it’s advisable to arrange a taxi back to the train station instead of the last bus.
Where to park when visiting Stonehenge
The car park at Stonehenge is free, except during school holidays. The good news is, if you do need to pay for parking, you’ll be rebated via your entrance tickets. If you’ve already purchased a ticket online, you can show your ticket at the car park entrance and your fee will be waivered.
How near can I get to Stonehenge?
Thankfully, there is no fence stopping you from getting that perfect photo, but you won’t be able to get right up to the stones. However, whether you’re standing in the inner circle or viewing from afar, the atmosphere is incredible. You’ll get to bask in the magical ambience that emanates all around the impressive stonework.
Can I get into the Stone Circle?
Unfortunately, you can’t just walk up to Stonehenge during normal day-to-day hours, The Stone Circle has a thin rope around the perimeter in order to protect the attraction and maintain it for future visitors. The nearest you can get to the stones is roughly 15 yards away.
Visiting Stonehenge inner circle
Other than the summer solstice, some operators offer an after-hours special access tour to the inner circle. This must be arranged in advance and only select time slots will be available. This special privilege will cost a little more and you will have to be accompanied by a guide.
Facilities at Stonehenge
For families travelling with young children, disabled people or elderly people, it’s important to know there are facilities within easy reach…
Stonehenge visitor centre
The Stonehenge visitor centre is a short distance away from Stonehenge. It has toilets, baby changing facilities, free WiFi and a museum with almost 300 archaeological items.
Leaving your luggage
If you’re on holiday and Stonehenge happens to be one of your last visits, you may end up having your luggage in tow. The last thing you want to be doing is carting your luggage around while exploring the sites at Stonehenge. If you take the train to your destination, you can leave your luggage in a secure place at The Railway Tavern nearby.
When you exit the station, turn left and The Railway Tavern is 100 metres down the road. The tavern charges £3 per piece of luggage, but it’s worth it for the peace of mind while you enjoy your time at the attraction.
Kids at Stonehenge
Stonehenge isn’t just for adults. It’s a fantastic place for any child interested in local history. If your child wants to find out more about Stonehenge before visiting, there are plenty of Stonehenge facts on the National Geographic Kids site. The site is perfect for toddlers too. The space is open for little ones to run around and play.
Stop off at the visitors centre before continuing your travels to Stonehenge and stock up on snacks or a takeaway lunch from the café. When you arrive at your destination, you’ll find plenty of opportunity to lay down a picnic blanket and tuck into a bite to eat.
Be sure to pick up and take any rubbish with you. Stonehenge is beautiful – let’s keep it that way!
Visiting Stonehenge with a dog
Unfortunately, you can’t take man’s best friend to Stonehenge or on the shuttle buses. The fields around it are also restricted to prevent dogs attacking sheep. However, assistance dogs are permitted throughout the site.
Take the guided tour
Stonehenge is steeped in history so it would be a shame to visit and miss out on all the information. If you’re part of an arranged tour, your guide will give you all the information as you visit the site. However, you can also pick up your own handheld audio tour for the small cost of £2.
Treat yourself to a luxury tour
How about splashing out and treating yourself to some well-deserved luxury? Select companies throughout England now offer chauffeur driven, extravagant, bespoke tours for people who like to travel in style.
Stonehenge is the most popular tour, but you can also combine this with some of the other amazing must-see sites around. Beautiful Salisbury and the Roman town of Bath are nearby and highly recommended.
Feel like a star for the day in your chosen indulgent motor. You can choose from a BMW, Rolls Royce or a Limousine, plus a larger luxury coach with reclining seats. If you’d like to make a few days of it, your chauffeur can make lunch and accommodation arrangements, so you don’t have to lift a finger.
There is so much to explore at Stonehenge and the surrounding areas; it’s a truly magical place, steeped in history and wonder. Make the most of your time there and see as much as you can to uncover the magical mysteries of times long ago and leave feeling enlightened.
Where to stay when visiting Stonehenge
If you want to stay nearby when visiting Stonehenge, Wiltshire has all kinds of great accommodation. From townhouses in Salisbury to cottages in the Cotswolds, you can choose an option that suits your requirements and budget.
Holiday cottages near Stonehenge
If you want your accommodation to match the tranquility and grandeur of the ancient monument, kate & tom’s can help. Our selection of luxury cottages in Wiltshire are the perfect base for unforgettable adventures. From swimming pools and hot tubs to games rooms and more – our hand-picked houses are jam-packed with features and perfect for large groups holidays.
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Want to find out more? Get in touch with our team on 01242 235151