A wonder of the world, the classic Stonehenge image is one I needed to see for myself. Archaeologists believe it was constructed around 3100 BC. It’s an impressive inspiration, an icon of Britain, and is probably Europe’s most famous prehistoric site, although not its oldest (we visited an older megalithic complex in Portugal, an older tomb in Ireland, and older caves in Spain).
What is it doing here? There are many theories, but no one knows for sure. Today it is protected and crowds of, people visit every day viewing from behind guide ropes, unable to get close to the rocks. Small group, Inside the Circle tours are available, but typically book up well in advance. In days past visitors could hire a hammer and chip off a souvenir.
I hadn’t shared many photos before because, let’s be honest, everyone has seen classic Stonehenge images. We experienced typical England weather on the day we visited. It was cloudy, intermixed with rain. I strategically took photos without too many people, but they were there.
I am pretty sure that with my current camera, I could have taken similar photos through the fence for free, but it wouldn’t have been the same. For me, it was the audio tour that brought the site to life. Through it, we learned a bit of history and conjecture ranging from human sacrifice to astronomy as the initial reasons for building Stonehenge.
- Stonehenge is in Wiltshire in the southern portion of England. It is nearly 90 miles south-west of London (a two-hour drive). It is open daily from 9:30 am to 7 pm.
- Our best tip for visitors who also like castles is to purchase an English Heritage Overseas Visitors pass. We purchased ours at the York Castle (Clifford’s Tower), and it includes entry to Stonehenge.
- Tickets have a timed entry and can be reserved in advance (and this is recommended for both paid tickets and those using the Overseas Visitors Pass). Inside the Circle tours book well in advance, allowing only a few guests access, usually early in the morning or near sunset. (Thanks to Michele from Malaysian Meanders for this tip).
- Audio guides can be downloaded for free and played on your own listening device. Or, they are available for are an extra fee, an additional queue, and subject to availability. However, they are worth it, as they add a lot to the visit.
- We found Lonely Planet’s Great Britain Travel Guide to be very useful.
- We stayed at various Premier Inn hotels throughout our travels in the UK and found them to be clean, comfortable, and affordable. We always check prices at Booking.com.
Do you prefer classic Stonehenge in England or the older, less famous megalithic sites in Evora, Portugal?
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