If you’re thinking about visiting the magnificent Stonehenge, then read on to hear the top 10 tips for visiting Stonehenge you need to know in order to make your visit extra memorable.
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What Makes Stonehenge Special?
What makes Stonehenge special? Stonehenge is an iconic prehistoric monument located in Wiltshire, England. It is believed to have been constructed between 3000 and 2000 BC. It is a unique structure made of large stones arranged in a circular formation.
Stonehenge is believed to have been used as an ancient religious site, and its exact purpose is still debated. The stones are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK. What makes Stonehenge special is due to its mysterious origins, impressive architecture, and its cultural significance.
Can You Visit Stonehenge at Night?
Can you visit Stonehenge at night? No, Stonehenge is not open at night. Stonehenge is open only between the hours of 9.30 am and 7.30 pm in the summer and from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm in the winter. It is closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday.
However, you can sort of drive past Stonehenge at night if you drive along the A303. You are not allowed to enter, and it might not be visible to see in the darkness.
Where is Stonehenge?
Where is Stonehenge? Stonehenge is located in Wiltshire, England. It is situated in the rolling hills of Salisbury Plain, roughly 15 miles (24 kilometres) north of Salisbury and 8 miles (13 kilometres) west of Amesbury. It is also located near the busy A303 road, which runs from London to the southwest of England – and you can actually see the stones from this road at a distance!
Can You Go to Stonehenge Without a Tour?
Can you go to Stonehenge without a tour? Yes, visitors can go to Stonehenge without a tour. However, visitors are advised to book Stonehenge tickets in advance to avoid queues and ensure entry.
Tickets can be purchased from the Stonehenge website or from Stonehenge Visitor Centre. Visitors can explore the site at their own pace and take in the sights with no tour needed.
There is a car park that visitors can use if you are driving, which is the recommended way to visit Stonehenge without a tour as there is no public transport to Stonehenge unless you purchase tickets for the tour bus that departs from Salisbury Train Station.
If you’re an international visitor wanting to make the most of your visit to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, then it’s recommended to purchase a National Trust Touring Pass. If you have a National Trust Touring Pass and wish to visit Stonehenge, it’s important to remember that you still need to book a time slot. Or the English Heritage Visitor Pass can be another great option.
If you’re thinking of visiting Stonehenge from London, then I would recommend taking this ‘From London: Stonehenge Tour‘, which means that everything will be planned for you and you won’t have to worry about anything.
10 Tips for Visiting Stonehenge You NEED To Know:
If you’re planning your trip to Stonehenge, then check out these 10 must-know tips for visiting Stonehenge:
1. Wrap up warm and bring a hat!
The ultimate tip that I tell everyone who is planning to visit Stonehenge is to bring a hat! Stonehenge is on an open space, with flat land all around it – this means it’s very very windy. In all honesty, I don’t think I’ve been to any other attractions in the UK which were as windy as Stonehenge.
I’ve been to Stonehenge three times, and all I can remember is how windy it was and how cold my ears felt. So, don’t make the same mistake I made – wrap up warm and bring a hat!
2. Make a trip to Woodhenge after visiting Stonehenge
If you’re looking to take even more of a deep dive into history, then making a trip to Woodhenge, which is just 5 miles away from Stonehenge is a must for all history lovers! Woodhenge is free to visit, and much quieter than Stonehenge, yet also just as important and mysterious.
It’s best to visit Woodhenge if you’ve driven to Stonehenge, as it can be a bit of a long walk to get there otherwise. In fact, the visitor centre of Stonehenge also mentions Woodhenge a few times – so make sure to do your reading!
3. Book tickets in advance
As with all major tourist attractions, and with Stonehenge being one of the most visited tourist attractions in the UK, one of the best tips for visiting Stonehenge is to book your tickets in advance, if it’s possible, to avoid any disappointment.
Tickets work on a timed entry system, so make sure not to miss your time slot either, as it could result in no entry at all. Click here to book your Stonehenge tickets.
4. Go early to avoid crowds
If you want to avoid crowds, then it’s best to visit Stonehenge as early as possible. The summer months are when Stonehenge can get the most crowded – with even traffic jams lining the road nearby. Therefore, it’s best to book your ticket for the earliest time you can get.
Remember, in the winter months, it gets dark around 4-5 pm in England, so try to avoid going too late – but it can be a very nice experience to see the sunset from.
5. Decide if you want to experience Solstice or not
Seeing the Solstice brings a lot of people to Stonehenge, and for good reasons. Solstice is important at Stonehenge because it is believed that the monument was used as a place of spiritual and religious rituals, including those that celebrated the solstice.
During the summer and winter solstices, the sun rises and sets in alignment with the stones, creating a beautiful and awe-inspiring sight. This alignment is thought to have been intentional and was likely used to mark important events in the ancient calendar. Therefore, thousands of people today still visit Stonehenge to witness the solstice sunrise and sunset – so it’s important to decide if you’d like to plan your visit around witnessing it or not.
6. Audioguides for Stonehenge are very useful!
If you’re visiting Stonehenge without a tour, then tourists should consider using an audioguide at Stonehenge in order to gain a better understanding of the monument and its history. An audioguide provides detailed information about Stonehenge, including its origins and purpose, as well as facts and stories about the site.
It also offers interesting anecdotes and insights into the lives of the people who built it. Using an audioguide is an easy and efficient way to explore Stonehenge and gain a deeper understanding of its history and significance. The app from the app store is free, or you can pick up one from the visitor centre for a small fee.
7. Leave time in your day for anything unexpected
As mentioned before, Stonehenge runs on a timed entry system; therefore, if you miss it – you may not be able to enter or be entitled to a refund. Due to this aspect, it’s best to leave time in your plans in case the unexpected happens.
Additionally, sometimes there is no parking in the car park as Stonehenge can get so busy – so be prepared for anything to happen and what to do if it does.
8. Eat in Amesbury after visiting
If you’re looking to try some traditional English food, then the town of Amesbury is perfect for getting some food from! Amesbury is just down the road from Stonehenge and has plenty of great pubs and restaurants to choose from. Not only will you be trying some delicious English food, you’ll also be helping support local businesses to stay running.
Some traditional English food to try is: Bangers and mash, English breakfast, fish and chips, scones, and many more!
9. Make the most of the visitor centre first
The visitor centre at Stonehenge is filled with great information and artefacts about the stones and helps to build anticipation and knowledge once you finally get up close to them. There are even Neolithic houses where visitors can go inside and see what the people from that time lived like.
The visitor centre also has a cafe and souvenirs to buy, ranging from books, mugs and bracelets – so make sure to bring some back with you to remember your trip forever!
10. Decide if you want to walk or use the shuttle bus
If you’re feeling like it, then visitors can walk up to see the stones from the visitor’s centre. The walk takes around 40 minutes in total, so it’s not recommended for everyone to do. It is fairly flat, and almost impossible to get lost as the path is marked.
Otherwise, if you prefer not to walk, you can always take the free shuttle bus. The free shuttle bus departs from outside of the visitor centre and will take you very close to the stones. There is one every few minutes, and the ride takes around 10 minutes in total.
If you want to get up close and personal, then you need to pay a fee to visit Stonehenge. Although, it is completely free to view Stonehenge from afar.
Visitors need around 3 hours to spend at Stonehenge in order to take all of the information and sights in. There are lots of facilities available at the visitor centre, so you will be well taken care of!
During peak periods, there is a small fee to park in the car park at Stonehenge unless you are a member who has pre-booked tickets.
Tips For Visiting Stonehenge – Conclusion
After reading this post, hopefully, you’ve taken onboard some of the best tips for visiting Stonehenge in order to make your experience truly memorable. Which tips for visiting Stonehenge surprised you the most? Do you have any tips for visiting Stonehenge that weren’t mentioned that you think other people should be aware of? If you’d like any more information, then feel free to contact me. If you enjoyed reading this post and would like to check out some other posts, this is what I’d recommend: