Can you imagine entering the magic world of druids, getting to know their secret spells, feeling the presence of the dead ancestors? Would you like to see the picturesque landscape with a circle of massive stones in the centre of it? Would you like to “touch” the history and really feel as if you travelled back in time?
Well… not gonna happen.
I know I know – it’s an English heritage, ancient standing circle of stones, an important part of the history. I’m not saying it isn’t. I would just like to share a couple of thoughts I had after the trip that will hopefully help manage your expectations slightly better.
Me and my friends were travelling by car and I think it’s the most time-efficient way to get there, but check out the English Heritage website to learn about alternatives.
First mistake I made is to pay £15 for the entrance. It’s because I learnt a lesson in London already – you have to book everything in advance or you’ll stand in queues twice as long as usual. Surprisingly, this rule didn’t relate to our Stonehenge trip. The queues were only 3-5 minutes long and what’s more important I don’t think you actually really need a ticket for this attraction. One good thing that comes out of this however is that you contribute to maintaining the English heritage in a good shape 🙂
There is the possibility for a Special access, when about 25 people can go beyond the barriers and get inside the stone circle, but it’s outside of the public opening hours. I don’t know the price for that – had anyone had this possibility? I’d be curious to know what it’s like!
I will base this article on my experience, which was during the public opening hours.
I think you don’t really need tickets for this attraction. Why? Because it is in the middle of the field, right by the A303 road (you can see the stones from the road as well by the way – if you’re in a rush I’d suggest you don’t choose that route as people slow down to take pictures). The site is surrounded by rope fences that don’t block the view in any way. But you can still see the stones very well even if you’re not in the actual attraction’s borders. The stones themselves are also quite far away from you in general. Here’s an example:
Yes, it’s within the ticket price in case you wondered 😉
And that’s the closest you could get to the stones, it’s about 9-10 metres I believe (ignore my face 😀 The sun was shining straight into my eyes!):
Don’t get me wrong – I totally understand that and ancient attraction needs to be protected like that. I understand that if suddenly thousands of people would go into the circle it might get dangerous for the whole construction (the stones tend to fall down once in a while and they mostly weigh around 1000 kilograms). My disappointment derives from the fact that I was imagining myself getting this mystic experience, by the sunset and all that, walking in the footsteps of our Neolithic ancestors.
To be honest – these stones don’t seem sooo big when you walk up to them closer.
Apart from this main attraction, the place offers various exhibitions. One of them is based outdoors and it’s some reconstructions of Neolithic houses as well as an example of stones which were transported all the way from Wales to build Stonehenge and the villages around it. There is also an indoors exhibition with various pictures of Stonehenge, example tools used in Neolithic times. There is also a room with huge screens around it where you can (try to) feel as if you were inside the stone circle – the screens project the picture of Stonehenge in different parts of the days and the projection is accompanied by some tranquil music.
Tips for Stonehenge visit
If you wish to visit Stonehenge in the public opening hours, I would suggest you go there on some nice sunny spring/summer day, take some blanket and do a little picnic afterwards, enjoying the view of the magic stones.
Also, be prepared for it to be a little windy – it is a field and forest in the middle of nowhere.
Do not expect it to be secluded – it also is quite a crowded attraction.
If you have time, I would plan to add one more destination to your day trip, like Bath for example. It is only about 35 miles away and has a lot of interesting attractions to offer.
Have you been to Stonehenge? What are your experiences with this attraction?