Facts to Consider Regarding Stonehenge
Stonehenge is one of the most famous and iconic sights in the world, and it’s easy to see why. Located just outside Salisbury, on the south-western side of England, this prehistoric monument has stood for over 1500 years as a testament to our ancestors’ ability to build monuments that still stand proud today. View Details here.
The site was first built around 2400 BC, but it wasn’t until 800 AD that it became a major destination for travellers from all over Europe. It’s believed that some 100,000 people flocked here to see the giant Stones each year, and it’s estimated that up to 20,000 more would visit during the summer months.
It’s an incredible site to visit, but getting there can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing. Here’s your handy guide to everything you need to know about visiting Stonehenge…
If you’ve never been to Stonehenge before, you’ll probably want to travel by car or public transport if possible. The A303 road takes you directly into the centre of the town of Salisbury, just a few miles away from the site itself. Although it’s not the quickest route, it’s definitely the easiest option if you’re travelling with children or dogs, and there are plenty of places to stop along the way to take a rest.
If you’d prefer to travel by bus, you have a variety of services available. The best ones run between Salisbury and Bath (there are also services running to Bristol), so make sure you check these out when planning your trip.
You’ll pay to enter Stonehenge – it costs £15 per adult, £12.50 per child aged between 5 and 15, and free for children under five. You can buy tickets at entry gates or from the ticket office inside the Visitor Centre which opens daily from 0900-1600. Tickets must be bought ahead of time and are non-refundable.
There are parking lots close to the site, so you won’t need to worry too much about finding somewhere to park. Just follow signs and keep an eye out for spaces marked ‘Visitors’.
What To Take
When you arrive at Stonehenge, you’ll find that there are plenty of things to do while you wait for the main entrance to open. You can buy food and drink from shops selling souvenirs, and you might even spot someone selling hot chocolate, although you should remember that it’s pretty cold in winter!
Once you’ve got a drink in hand, you’re going to want to head straight for the visitor centre. This is where you can get information and maps, and you can even book tours and workshops. If you’d like to take part in a guided tour, make sure you reserve a slot in advance to avoid disappointment.
Once you’ve had a good look around the visitor centre, you’ll want to explore the museum next door. Inside the building, you can learn about how the stones were transported across the landscape, and you’ll find displays telling stories about the lives of the people who lived in the area long ago.
Finally, you’ll want to take a walk around the Stones themselves. These massive rocks loom large above you, making them seem almost alive. They’re made up of granite, meaning they’re very durable, and you can climb onto some of them.
They’re also very beautiful, and are decorated in a variety of ways. Some of the larger boulders are covered in hundreds of carvings, including spirals, circles, and lines. It’s thought that these markings may represent constellations, and archaeologists believe that they could tell us about astronomy back then.
There are other important features on the site too; like the entrance circle and trilithons. The entrance circle is a circular ditch, approximately 200m wide and 12m deep. One section of earthwork stands tall in the middle; a huge lintel stone which weighs roughly 50 tonnes, measuring 30×13 meters in size. The lintel was carved with a series of holes, allowing rain water to drain off the top and out of the entranceway.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the ditch was filled in with soil, and it currently remains a mystery to many visitors as to how the stones were moved.
Trilithons are three horizontal blocks set atop two vertical posts. They once formed a gateway leading to the entrance circle, and archaeologists believe that they served as a meeting place. It’s said that the first trilithon was erected sometime between 3000 – 2500 BC, and there are nine remaining today.
At the end of the season, all visitors will be asked to leave the site, and the last stones will be removed in early November. In total, there are around 3200 standing stones and 2000 buried beneath the ground.
Where To Stay Nearby
If you’d rather stay near the site than venture further afield, you’ll find a number of hotels nearby. Most of these are located within walking distance of the site, but if you want to get closer for a cheaper price, try staying in a B&B instead.
Nearby Places To Eat & Drink
There aren’t any restaurants near Stonehenge, but there are plenty of pubs serving food. If you fancy a bite to eat, head to either the Old Brewery Inn or the Salisbury Arms Pub. Both are located just down the road from the site, and they serve up a range of traditional pub grub.
If you’d rather save money, you can always bring your own picnic with you. There are plenty of parks and areas dotted around the area, and you’ll find a selection of benches and tables for you to sit at. If you choose this option, make sure you stick to the designated areas so as not to disturb anyone else!
Where To Go Next
If you’d like to learn even more about Stonehenge, consider taking a tour with a specialist company. There are plenty of options available throughout the country, and you can often find them offering special deals for school groups and families.
To learn more about Stonehenge’s history, you should check out the Salisbury Museum, which contains a wealth of information about the site. Also, don’t forget to read up on the surrounding area. As well as being home to Stonehenge, the city of Salisbury is also famous for its cathedral, which dates back to Norman times. It’s considered one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture, and you can even enjoy a guided tour through the building.
Afterwards, you might want to take a stroll through the local countryside. You’ll find rolling hills and fields full of sheep, cows, and horses. There are plenty of picturesque villages dotted around the area, and you can take a leisurely stroll through them.
Finally, if you’d rather get away from it all for a bit, you could go camping. You can find campsites all around the region, and you’ll usually be able to rent tents and other equipment. It’s not the cheapest option though, so you might want to consider bringing your own tent instead.