Stonehenge – Mysterious Neolithic Pre-historic Icon

Stonehenge stands with pride in modern England as a testament to humanity’s remarkable achievements and undiscovered mysteries. History of Stonehenge, the UNESCO world heritage site dates back to at least 5000 years while the stone circles were erected around 1600B.C to 3000 B.C.

This enchanting Neolithic, pre-historic monument is located in the medieval town of Salisbury. Stonehenge is shrouded in mystery of how it came to be and the purpose. The initial mythical legends described  Stonehenge of involving in the famous wizard Merlin and King Arthur using magic to create the monument. Given its history and mystery, it is no surprise people all over the globe are eager to find out the facts behind this British cultural icon.

The outer sarsen stones each weighing around 25 tons and as tall as 4m high were transported with primitive tools 25miles to the north is still a surprise to anyone. As well as the blue stones at the inner circle each weighing at 2 to 5 tons, were brought from the Preseli hills in Wales which is 150 miles away.

Remember, these majestic stones were worked into shape before they were built as a ring of stones. The construction was ongoing spanning at least 15 centuries.

Some historians and archaeologists still debate to the fact that the stone circles were never completed and others say they fell apart over a period of time.

The architectural ingenuity in erecting the lintel structure where horizontal stone is placed on top of vertical stones with the tongue and groove methodology is still an awe factor for many. An interesting fact is that the evidence show that the stone settings were re-arranged from the original settings.

Interestingly, Stonehenge was a private property until 1918. Sir Cecil Chubb bought the property at an auction to be gifted to his wife Mary Chubb, later Stonehenge was donated to the British government with the condition of free and unfettered access for the local residents of Stonehenge.

Much like the enigma of its construction is its purpose which nobody really knows. Thousands travelled from far with vast amounts of food to feast and celebrated solstice festivals. Evidence was found for the practice of spiritual healing, sacred rituals involving the passage between the dead and the living.  Archaeological evidence proved the cremations of men, women and children in the nearby burial grounds. Excavation records show the burials of sacrificed slaughtered animals. Clearly, telling by the sheer size, the Stonehenge must be very significant to the society of the past.

The axes of the stones are placed precisely to align with the sunrise and sunset to watch the summer and winter solstice respectively. This solstice alignment can be enjoyed directly above the most significant Heel stone. Each year visitors gather to witness the summer and winter solstice to take home their unique experience.

Various theories go with the idea to unfold the mystery of Stonehenge by merely saying that it could be a giant calendar to forecast or record celestial events; a burial site; a religious temple; a spirituality and healing place as evidenced by the presence of blue stones; and everything else ranging from nonsensical to well-deserved true meaning of the existence of this mystical structure.

Surrounded by the light breeze and glowing sun, Stonehenge area is a great place to relax in the meadows and even have a picnic in the lush green grasses.

Just outside the visitor centre, step into the ancient dwellings of Neolithic houses re-enacting the pre-historic life-style with replicated artefacts. Other places of interest are Stonehenge Cursus, The Avenue, Silbury Hill, Winterbourne Stoke Barrows, Woodhenge, Durrington walls, King Barrow Ridge, Salisbury museum etc.

Book now to get the best out of Stonehenge, where you’ll only get the top handpicked tours recommended by us.

  • Stonehenge stands with pride in modern England as a testament to humanity’s remarkable achievements.
  • Some historians say the stone circles were never completed and others say they fell apart over a period of time.
  • Each year visitors gather to witness the summer and winter solstice to take home their unique experience.
  • Special entry after hour access pass lets you to go to the centre of the stones.
  • Stonehenge area is a great place to relax in the meadows and even have a picnic in the lush green grass.
  • These majestic stones were worked into shape before they were built as a ring of stones, spanning at least 15 centuries to build.
  • The architectural ingenuity in erecting the lintel structure with tongue and groove methodology is still an awe factor for many.
  • Nearby interests are Stonehenge Cursus, The Avenue, Silbury Hill, Winterbourne Stoke Barrows, Woodhenge, Durrington walls etc.
  • Outside the visitor centre are the ancient dwellings of Neolithic houses re-enacting the pre-historic life-style with replicate artefacts.
  • Stonehenge could be a giant calendar to forecast or record celestial events; a burial site; a religious temple; a spirituality and healing place!!

Category

Monument

Transport from central London

Stonehenge is located in Salisbury, Wiltshire; 85miles south west of London.

From central London, take the Southwest train to Stonehenge. The Salisbury railway station is the closest to Stonehenge. There is a bus that runs every hour from the railway station to Stonehenge and vice-versa.  

 Additionally, there is a hop on hop off bus which takes a scenic route from Salisbury center stopping at various other sites.  For more information on public transport, visit Transport For London to plan your trip.   

Planning to drive? You can instantly rent a car suited to your personal needs filtered by price, availability, time and pickup/dropoff locations, by major car service providers.

 

Car Park

There is parking on site at stonehenge. Members of English Heritage and National Trust England members holding national trust pass, enjoy free parking.

Parking is also free for purchasing tickets to enter Stonehenge, otherwise it is chargeable.

 

Address

Amesbury, Salisbury SP4 7DE, UK

 

Phone no.

44 (0) 370 333 1181

 

Website

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/

Opening times

Stonehenge opening times are

24th of March to 31st of May – 9.30am to 7 p.m;

1st of June to 31st of August – 9.a.m to 8 p.m;

1st of September to 15th of October – 9.30a.m to 7.p.m;

16th of October – 23rd March – 9.30am to 5 pm

Closed for Christmas Eve and day;

Boxing day times are 10 am to 5 pm;

New year’s Eve – 9.30am – 5 pm;

New year’s day – 10 am to 5 pm.

The above are general times, they are subject to change by English heritage.

 

Admission

Booking is essential and tickets are timed for every half an hour slot. Prices for booking for an adult (with no Gift aid) approx.£16.50, child(5-15yrs) approx.£9.90. Walk-up prices are slightly more and subject to availability. Concession, student, senior, family and group visits are available.

Admission to the site and the audio guide is free for English Heritage and National Trust England members holding national trust pass.

Stonehenge general ticket permits you to use the shuttle bus, visit the exhibition and take you up to the rope barrier about 15m(50ft) surrounding stone pillars. If you want a closer and more personal experience, there is an opportunity to go to the centre of the stones with a special entry after hour access pass. Pre-booking is essential for this.

 

 

Visit duration

Most choose to stay for 2-3 hours to see the visitor centre and the stones. It is quite a journey, so it is advised that you see more than just the stones but other monuments in the area.

 

Best time to visit

It is primarily an outdoor attraction. The best time to visit is to see the winter and summer solstice.  

In winter it can get quite cold and weather in winter doesn’t promise good photographic opportunity. So it is advisable to visit in the warmers months but keep in mind that the attraction gets very busy in peak summer.

Food and Drink

There is a café near the visitor centre with great views, with the option to sit outside. It offers popular rock cake and other choices of hot soup, pastries and cold sandwiches, pre-packed salads etc., it is more meant for a grab and go food and drinks.

If you would like to bring your food, there is the opportunity to have a picnic on the grass.

 

Services & Retail

There is a gallery, gift shop, accessible toilets and baby changing facility and free Wi-Fi are available.

The free audio tour can be downloaded from apple app store or google play store.

Assistance dogs are permitted.

A wide range of gifts, collectables, clothing, books and souvenirs are available for purchase.

Shuttle service runs from the visitor centre to the stone circle stopping halfway in between.

Time to time, there are events and educational visits hosted at Stonehenge.

The visitor centre is designed to facilitate disability access.

There is temporary and permanent exhibits of various artefacts on display.

 

Things to note and safety tips:

  • Photography and filming for commercial needs require permissions and paperwork.
  • The last admission is 2hrs before the closing time.
  • Smoking isn’t permitted.
  • Watch your step in the Stonehenge area due to the uneven landscape; sturdy shoes are advisable.
  • During summer (around 21st June) and winter (around 21st December) solstice festivals, the admission is free for all.
  • Trip cost to the Stonehenge from London doesn’t come cheap.

 

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