This Stonehenge Post has been updated September 2019. Stonehenge was something I had always wanted to see. And I can now say I have seen it a few times. But I remember the very first time, sitting in the bus it was fast approaching. It was getting bigger and bigger as we drew nearer and I all I could say was “wow”. So mesmerising as it was just standing there, in the middle of a field. Here is how you can experience Stonehenge too.
Stonehenge is a popular place to visit
The bus seemed to veer away from Stonehenge. Basically Stonehenge is such a popular place to visit that a carpark and visitor centre has been built on the other side of the freeway from Stonehenge to cope with the large amount of visitors. Stonehenge is then accessed via a tunnel under the highway after paying an entrance fee. You can always buy a ticket in advance and then be able to jump to the beginning of the queue. Having a ticket is particularly useful during the summer months when there are even more tourists visiting Stonehenge than other times of the year. Most people suggest to visit just after the site opens around 10am and then later in the after around 3-4pm to avoid the crowds during the middle of the day.
My excitement was growing as I walked through the tunnel. Once through I was in an open field and Stonehenge was everything I had expected. It looked exactly like all the photos I had seen. It was a cold day the day I was there, the air was crisp and my breath was moving in front of me. Like many others there I walked around Stonehenge not once, but a couple of times, stopping to take photos at different angles.
It is easy to spend a couple of hours staring at Stonehenge
Unfortunately due to erosion from the weather and the large number of visitors that have, and that will visit Stonehenge it is roped off from everybody. Being able to touch the structure is not possible, security guards ensure that. Though during summer and winter solstice and with special organised permission you can get closer. Even so, just being in the presence of Stonehenge is something to experience. It is easy to spend a couple of hours just looking at and wondering about this magnificent piece of history.
A brief history of Stonehenge
Stonehenge has been estimated to have been built around 3100BC. It is so hard to imagine how people from that time were able to put the mammoth blocks of stone, most pieces being around 13 feet high, 7 feet wide and weighing around 25 tons in to such an inspiring circular form. But I guess that is part of the mystery of the place.
Like many I spent about an hour or so just looking at and walking around Stonehenge before heading back to the visitor centre. Here, you can learn all about the history and other facts of Stonehenge through interactive visual presentations. There are also ancient artefacts to check out before recharging in the café. But it is actually when you stand in its presence that makes the visit well worth your while.
Where is Stonehenge
Stonehenge is about 80 miles west of London is in Amesbury near the town of Salisbury in Wiltshire. That makes it about an hour and hour if you are driving from London and about the same if you are catching the train. Being relatively close to London makes Stonehenge an easy day trip or you can turn it into a weekend trip and visit other towns that are close by such as Salisbury and Bath.
How to get to Stonehenge
Stonehenge is out in the middle of a paddock with no immediate transport stations but getting to Stonehenge is still pretty easy.
Train and bus: The nearest train station is at Salisbury. From Salisbury you can take the Stonehenge Tour Bus to get you to Stonehenge.
Car: You can drive yourself by taking the M3 and A303 roads.
Bus tour: The first time I went to Stonehenge I went on bus tour. It was great because I was taken directly there, my entrance fee was included and then I was taken home in a comfortable bus. It wasn’t the cheapest option but I enjoyed it none the same. Check out the tours you can do here.
See Stonehenge for Free
For those of you thrifty people and who are driving a car you can see Stonehenge for free. Go to Willoughby Road, Larkhill, Salisbury and drive to the bottom of the road where you will find a Stonehenge sign. Walk down the pathway which will probably say it is closed / no access but they are referring to cars. Walk on and get a free view of Stonehenge. The road may be hard to find parking as many budget travellers choose this option.
Where to stay near Stonehenge
As I mentioned the first time I went to see Stonehenge I went on a bus tour. Other times I have visited Stonehenge with friends as part of a weekend away. As Stonehenge is out in a field there is no accommodation available in walking distance. Your best bet is in the town of Salisbury which is about 9km away. A couple of places I can recommend include St Annes Guest House which is only only 900m from the centre of Salisbury and includes a great breakfast. The second place is Victoria Lodge also close to the centre of Salisbury. The nearest youth hostel is 62km away from Stonehenge and unless you are driving it will take quite a while to get there. But surprise, surprise, it is called Stonehenge Youth Hostel. You can find accommodation as you travel around however, I appreciated having somewhere to go to after a long day of sightseeing. To find other accommodation options check out Booking.com.
No matter how you intend to get to Stonehenge I am sure you will stand in awe of it just like I did. It truly is a spectacular British icon that you must not miss during your time in the UK.