Day Trip to Stonehenge

Aug 3, 2016 | 0 comments

stonehengeStonehenge is arguably the most famous prehistoric monuments in the world. Anybody who’d caught an episode of “Ancient Aliens” or a similar show has seen images of this ancient stone circle.

The ring of standing stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the densest complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England.  The site also includes several hundred barrows or burial mounds.  Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC.

Stonehenge and Avebury 24 miles away  are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage; the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust.

Located in 90 miles west of Central London in Wiltshire, England Stonehenge is an easy day trip.  There are several ways to get there; on your via private car or public transportation; or on a coach tour from the capital.  When we visited Stonehenge with my aunt and uncle we hired a private car and driver, it was just easier.  My son and his wife booked a tour through their hotel concierge.

Local tour companies offer several different tours.  Some just half day tours to Stonehenge.   Others  full day or more with combined itineraries that may include Salisbury, Bath, and Windsor.  My son opted for a full day tour to Stonehenge and Salisbury that cost about £99 per person.

Perhaps the most inexpensive way to go would be by public transportation.  You can catch a train from London’s Waterloo Station to the town of Salisbury.  Round trip tickets start at £46.10 per person.  Trains run about every half hour.  From Salisbury you can take the Stonehenge Bus tour which can function as a hop on hop off tour. It will shuttle you from the rail station to Stonehenge and other sites in the area.  The cost for just the bus ride to and from Stonehenge is £15 per person, this does not include admission to the site.  Or you can opt for combination tickets that include admission, those start at £28 per person.

Admission tickets to Stonehenge are £15.50 for adults if purchased online.  To avoid disappointment you book your tickets ahead of time.  They do reserve a limited number of tickets at the ticket office for walk-in visitors, but they sell out early; specially during the summer months.  Book your tickets here!

stonehengeThere are many things to see and do at Stonehenge.  You can wander around the recreated Neolithic houses outside the visitor center, watch 360º presentation in the visitor center, wander the site, shop for souvenirs, and enjoy a lunch at the cafe.

And of course the highlight is a walk around the stones. You can not go near the stone or walk between them during normal public access hours with a general admission ticket.  You must remain on the path and stay behind the rope barriers which are about 10 yards away from the stones.

stonehengeHowever you can walk among the stones during a special access visit.  These visits are scheduled when the site is closed to the public and are limited to 26 people per hour long session.  This means special access visits are scheduled between 5:30 – 8:00 in the morning or after 6:30 in the evening.  During these times there are no guides available, you must bring your own if you want, nor are the cafe and gift shop open.

Special Access visits must be made well in advance, you must apply directly to Stonehenge for this visit.  And on the day of you must arrive via private car or taxi as there will be no public transportation at those times.  Another option would be to book a Special Access Tour with a local tour company, they’ll take care of everything!  Click here for more information on Special Access Visits.

Another option, if you really feel the need to see a stone circle up close and personal, is to head over to Avebury.  It’s 24 miles away, has larger stone rings, and has free access to the stones themselves.

stonehengeWhile at the site take a walk around the site you’ll find many barrows, burial mounds, dotting the fields.  You’ll more than likely also come across grazing sheep.

Honestly, unless you’re really into stone circles, a Stonehenge visit takes at most a couple of hours.  Plenty enough time to combine it with a visit to nearby Salisbury and it’s stately cathedral.  [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
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