Stonehenge is one of the UK’s most popular and iconic tourist attractions. With a history that dates back thousands of years, this ancient monument has been drawing people from all over the world for centuries.
To book stonehenge tickets can be an expensive experience, even if you have the money to do so. There are many ways that you can get around the cost of visiting the monument, however, which makes it much more affordable. You can visit before or after the school holidays, when prices drop significantly. You could also plan your trip to coincide with another big event in the area, such as the summer solstice (when the sun rises at its highest point in the sky) or winter solstice (when the sun sets at its lowest point in the sky).
We’ve put together some top tips for planning your visit to Stonehenge, including how to get there, what to bring, and other useful information.
How to get to Stonehenge
If you’re driving, we recommend taking the A303 towards Salisbury. If you’re coming by train, the nearest station is Amesbury on the West Coast Main Line. From Salisbury, take the A3021 towards Amesbury. The journey will take about 45 minutes.
There is no public transport to Stonehenge itself; you’ll need to hire a car to drive to the site. However, there are plenty of car park spaces available close to the monument, making it easy to explore the surrounding area while you wait for your friends to arrive.
What to pack
The weather in England is unpredictable, especially during the months of June through August. For example, you might find yourself packing something warmer than expected, or having to pack your jacket just in case. It’s always best to check the weather forecast before you travel.
You should bring comfortable shoes and clothing suitable for walking around the site. This includes a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Also, make sure you bring plenty of water and snacks, as there isn’t a shop or café nearby.
Finally, you’ll want to bring a camera. Although you can take photos inside the visitor centre, the monument itself does not allow photography.
Other things to carry
Bringing bin bags is highly recommended, as there aren’t any bins or rubbish bins left near the monument. This is because the monument was built by farmers who used soil to build up their fields, which means they don’t have any hard ground on which to dig holes for bins.
Also, remember to keep your phone charged – there are no free Wi-Fi hotspots around the site.
Where to stay
If you’re travelling alone, try staying at the Best Western Hotel in Amesbury. This hotel is only 20 minutes away from the monument and has plenty of parking space nearby. The hotel rooms come with en suites and free Wi-Fi, plus breakfast is included.
If you’re travelling with others, consider renting a cottage. These can be found in several locations. We suggest checking out these 10 cottages in Salisbury.
When to go
It’s best to visit Stonehenge in the early morning or late afternoon. During the summer, there will be lots of people to see the monument. This can create a lot of congestion. On the other hand, during the winter months, there may be few visitors, so you’ll have the place to yourself.
When you get to the site, look for parking spots first. Many people leave their cars in the car parks and walk along the road to the monument. Because of the popularity of the site, parking spots tend to fill fast.
Once you’ve parked, you’ll need to pay for admission. Prices vary depending on whether you’re coming as part of a group, but you can expect to pay anywhere between £18 and £40 per adult (£25 and £50 for children aged between 3 and 15).
The most important thing to see at Stonehenge is the stones. The monument consists of 590 stones arranged in a circle around the perimeter of a central avenue. The stones span across two levels, forming a platform. The lower level is the main platform where the stones were placed, while the upper level is the capstone.
These stones date back to about 1600 BC, when they were probably erected by Neolithic peoples. Today, archaeologists believe the purpose of the monument was religious. This was likely due to the alignment of the stones with astronomical events like sunrise and sunset.
Although these beliefs have long since faded, the monument still draws tourists from all over the world. Visitors flock here to see the stones, the Avenue, and the Avebury stones.
Some of the stones found within the monument are now displayed at various museums throughout the country. These include the Salisbury Museum (where you can see replicas of the Stones of Stenness), the Prehistoric Park in Wookey Hole Caves, the New Forest Discovery Centre, the National Trust Visitor Centre in Amesbury, and the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester.
To learn more about the stones, you can also visit the Stonehenge Riverside Project. Here you’ll find some of the original bluestones, as well as a reconstructed version of the bluestone pathway leading to the monument.
What you won’t see at Stonehenge is the stone ring ditch. This huge ditch measures almost 50 metres in diameter. Most of the ditch is now covered in earth, but you can sometimes find sections where the earth has collapsed into the sides of the ditch.
You can learn more about the ditch on the Ancient Landscapes website.
One final thing worth seeing at Stonehenge is the Avebury stones. These stones form the largest henge enclosure in Europe, measuring a staggering 8 miles in circumference.
At some point in the distant past, these people constructed a massive circular ditch around the entire site. They then filled this ditch with large blocks of sandstone. These stones weigh up to 40 tons each!
Today, the ditches have eroded away, leaving behind a series of massive stones. Some of these stones are visible above ground while others are buried beneath mounds of earth.