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Stonehenge is the most famous prehistoric monument in the UK. It’s actually one of the most famous in the world. It’s not surprising that it’s one of the most photographed places in the UK. Every year, one million people decide to visit Stonehenge. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s an unmissable if you visit London, only about two hours away. Planning a day trip to Stonehenge from London? Follow the guide!
Table of Contents
What is Stonehenge
I won’t be able to entirely respond to the question. Stonehenge is a site consisting of 460 standing stones placed in four concentric circles. This type of stone “line up” is called a cromlech. The whole thing measures about 110-meters (360 feet) in diameter.
Each stone is around 4 meters (13ft.) high, 2 meters (7ft.) wide, and weighing around 25 tons. You’ll notice some stones are put horizontally on other stones. For your information, it took more than 1000 years to erect Stonehenge (from 2800 BC to 1100 BC).
Stonehenge reminded me of another place with standing stones in France (Carnac), but also the French comics Asterix. But in concrete terms, to answer the question “What is Stonehenge?”, I won’t be able to respond. How did it get there? Why was it built? To this day, it’s still a mystery, we don’t know…
Mystery around Stonehenge
There have been numerous hypothesis and theories regarding Stonehenge. Some people think it’s a funerary monument, others think it’s an astronomical observatory because during summer and winter solstices, the arrangements of the stone perfectly line up nicely with the sun during sunset and sunrise.
Other theories include Stonehenge being a farming calendar, a place of worship of the sun, a place of healing or a sepulcher place because researchers found human skeletons there. Everything has been mentioned but to this day, nothing is 100% sure…
Visit to Stonehenge
I’m first going to talk about how the visit to Stonehenge goes, and then I’ll give all the tips! Before admiring Stonehenge, we start our visit in a museum about 2 kilometers (1.25 mile) away. This museum is quite small and exhibits more or less everything we know about Stonehenge: we can see sandstone, the reconstitution of a man’s face on the basis of his skeleton, the evolution of Stonehenge over time and even a 360-degrees projection of what a village looked like at the time!
The museum isn’t big, you visit it quickly, it takes about 20 minutes. I suggest you to stop there to have information about Stonehenge before seeing it with your own eyes. I think it’s even recommended if you decided not to take the audio guide to see Stonehenge.
Next to the museum, there’s even a reconstitution of the houses at the time! After the museum, it’s finally time to go see Stonehenge. A few meters away from the museums, there are free shuttles heading to Stonehenge, about 2 kilometers (1.25 mile) away.
Indeed, there are no buildings less than 400 yards (0.25 mile) away from Stonehenge, this is what imposed the last person who gave the last stone to the UK government. Shuttles depart the museum every 5 minutes. If you want to, you can walk all the way to Stonehenge. But there’s nothing interesting to see during this walk…
You’ll finally get there, the monument in front of you. Seeing Stonehenge with your own eyes is really impressive! The stones are protected by a barrier so you can’t get too close. But even a dozen meters away, it’s impressive! So you basically walk around the stones and admire them.
If you took the audio guide, you’ll have explanations about specific stones, especially the one called Heel Stone. You’ll notice there are numerous helicopters flying at very low attitude. It’s because in the area, there’s a training field of the Ministry of Defence, military men…
Take your time to visit Stonehenge. It’s one of the best day trips from London. Stonehenge is also one of the best places to visit in the UK! Once you finish admiring it and taking all your pictures, take the shuttle to go back to the visitor center (where the museum is but also a cafeteria). From there, you can leave the place to go back to London…
How to get to Stonehenge
There are several options to get to Stonehenge:
- you can get there by car, driving yourself. You’ll probably have a GPS but otherwise, take the road M3 until exit 8 and then road A303 until Stonehenge. While we’re at it, if you have a car, here are great England road trip ideas!
- you can get there with public transportation. You need to get to London Waterloo train station and take the train to Salisbury. It’s a 90-minutes ride, a one-way ticket costs about 25£ (27.50€). From Salisbury, you have to take a bus to Stonehenge. Ask the staff where the bus is, the staff is used to this! The bus ride costs around 10£ (11€) and lasts about 30 minutes, Stonehenge being 15 kilometers (10 miles) away from Salisbury. From London Waterloo, it will take a little bit more than two hours to get to Stonehenge. I love independent travel but I suggest not to do it. It will be very expensive to do this.
- finally, and that’s what I did it, go on a Stonehenge tour. You just pay your ticket and you have nothing else to do! The group meets up somewhere in London, and you go straight to Stonehenge, entrance included! Usually another visit in the area is included in the ticket price. I had the opportunity to visit Bath and its thermal baths the same day in the afternoon, not far from Stonehenge. Click here to buy your ticket.
- If you’re coming from London, here are the best hotels in London.
Tours to Stonehenge from London
- So as I said, I chose the tour including the transportation from London, the entrance to Stonehenge and a visit to Bath. Click here to buy it.
- You can just buy your entrance ticket to Stonehenge. Click here to buy it.
- You can also visit Stonehenge only from London. Transportation from London is included and the entrance to Stonehenge. Click here to buy it.
- This tour allows you to visit the Windsor castle, Stonehenge and Oxford from London. Click here to buy it.
- Finally, this tour allows you to visit the Windsor castle, Stonehenge and Bath from London. Click here to buy it.
Stonehenge ticket prices
If you go to Stonehenge by yourself, I strongly suggest you to buy your ticket online beforehand. First off because it’s two pounds cheaper than buying on the spot. But also because you won’t wait to get in. When buying online, you book a time slot allowing you to get in directly. Click here to buy your ticket.
An adult ticket is 19.50£ (21.50€), a child ticket is 11.70£ (12.50€), entrance is free for infants below 4. There are also family tickets financially beneficial. You’ll have to pay an extra 3£ (3.30€) if you want an audio guide.
For your information, during winter solstice and summer solstice, it’s free to get in (to see the stones perfectly lined up with the sun!). Needless to say, this day Stonehenge is crowded!
If you want to visit Stonehenge for free, it’s more or less possible. You have to get there by yourself by car and take a small road perpendicular to the A303 at the level of Stonehenge. But you’ll be 200 meters (650ft.) away…
Stonehenge is open everyday except on December 25th. Here are the opening hours:
- April and May : from 9:30am to 7pm
- June to August : from 9m to 8pm
- September to mid-October : from 9:30am to 7pm
- From mid-October to March : from 9:30am to 5pm
The last entry to Stonehenge is two hours before closing time.
How long does the Stonehenge visit last
It will depend on your interest for Stonehenge of course, but usually it takes about two hours on the spot to visit Stonehenge.
Best time to visit Stonehenge
Preferably during low season. In winter and even in spring, there won’t be many people. Avoid summer, it’s too crowded. I went there in February and we were not many people.
- Bring an umbrella and layered clothing. The weather is not great, it’s often raining there.
- Because of the weather, the ground can be muddy.
- At the visitor center, there’s the museum but you’ll also find a cafeteria. You’ll be able to buy refreshments but also food, including snacks, soup, sandwiches, hot dishes… It’s not cheap…
- You can experience a virtual tour of Stonehenge. I suggest you to do it after your “real” visit, not before to keep the element of surprise. Click here for the virtual tour.
- You cannot get close to the standing stones usually. But thanks to the Stone Circle Experience, you can approach them and walk next to the stones. Availability is limited. Click here if you’re tempted.
- A replica of Stonehenge exists in Nebraska’s countryside called Carhenge. It’s a circle formed with 39 used cars, all painted in grey. Click here to find out more.
- Traveling soon? Check out my travel resources page! This list of travel accessories can also help you out!
- Do not travel without a travel insurance! Here’s why get travel insurance!
- If you arrive to the UK from abroad, you’ll have to provide proof of onward travel!
- Going to the UK soon? Click here to check the latest flight prices, and click here to book a hotel room.
- Planning a trip to the UK and you want a tailor-made trip? Get a free quote here!
- Always use a VPN when traveling. I use ExpressVPN and I love it! Here’s why use a VPN when traveling.