Are you thinking of visiting Stonehenge or just wondering where to go for a day out in the UK? Then take a look at our photo guide to visiting Stonehenge.
Where is Stonehenge?
Stonehenge is in Wiltshire in the UK. You’ll find it west of London and its nearest city is Salisbury. You can easily take a day trip from anywhere in the southern part of England. For instance, you can take a day trip from London as part of a longer stay. If you arrive in the UK on a cruise then visiting Stonehenge from Southampton is easy too.
Visiting Stonehenge by car
Of course, you can take an organised tour but visiting Stonehenge by yourself is really very easy so why not give it a try? If you choose to drive then there is plenty of parking available at the site. Parking is free if you are visiting Stonehenge. Keep your ticket as proof. You can download a map showing the car park from the English Heritage website.
Visiting Stonehenge by public transport
It’s also possible to visit Stonehenge using public transport. You should first take the train to Salisbury. Then use the Stonehenge Tour Bus from there. It departs every 30 minutes in summer and once an hour in winter.
Visiting Stonehenge? Buy Your Tickets Online
You can book timed tickets for visiting Stonehenge online in advance at the English Heritage website. I would advise that you do, especially if you’re visiting Stonehenge in the summer. It is a very popular tourist attraction and they limit the number of visitors in order to protect the monument.
If you’re lucky enough to be a local or are a member of English Heritage then you can visit Stonehenge for free. You still need to book a timed slot in advance though. Otherwise, the cost for an adult is £19 and children are £11.40. Students and over 65s pay £17.40. These are the prices that you will pay online. If you take a chance and try to book at the site then you’ll pay a bit more.
Visiting Stonehenge: What happens when you arrive?
Whether you arrive by car, bus or on foot the first thing you should do when you get there is head to the visitor centre. Here, you can pick up maps, grab an audio tour and find out more information about the site. If you want to grab a coffee or have lunch before you go out to view the stones then this is the place. When you’re ready then take the bus out to the main site. It takes around 10 minutes and is free. Alternatively, if you enjoy a walk then go for it. Or get off half-way and walk from there. I think it’s a lovely walk and we enjoy making our own way out to the stones.
You can walk around the quite extensive area surrounding the stones. You’re still within the Stonehenge site and it gives you some great alternative views of the stone ring as well as views across the countryside. Remember that this whole area is steeped in history so take the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere. Not only are you walking in an area of significant Neolithic and Bronze age activity but near several hundred ancient burial mounds.
In the photo above you can see the Heel Stone, a single standing stone outside the main circle.
About the Monument
The monument itself consists of a ring of standing stones. Each stone is approximately 4m high and just over 2m wide. They weigh as much as 25 tons each. The circle is believed to have been constructed between 3000 BCE to 2000 BCE. It became a World Heritage Site in 1986 but has been protected as an ancient monument in the UK since the 19th century.
In order to protect the stone circle, you are not allowed to get right up close and touch the stones. I remember visiting Stonehenge when I was younger and I’m sure they used to let you then. However, I think we’re more aware of the damage tourism can do so I understand why they’ve restricted access. You do get pretty close though. Don’t worry, you’ll get a great view of the stones, as shown above. Also, if you really want to touch one of the stones then there is a ‘touching stone’ at the visitor centre
Visiting Stonehenge for Summer Solstice
Another way to get closer to the stones is to visit Stonehenge for Summer Solstice. Stonehenge has been a site of worship at the Summer Solstice for thousands of years. Obviously, this is a particularly special time at Stonehenge so English Heritage allows open access for a few hours. During this period you can get access to the inner circle which is normally restricted. It’s a huge privilege and they do ask that you don’t climb on the stones and that you are careful not to damage the stone circle in any way. Expect it to be busy though, it’s very popular.