A few weeks ago I decided to go on a day trip to see the world-famous site of Stonehenge. Okay I definitely felt like a tourist but it’s another item ticked off the travel bucket list. So here are some facts about the World Heritage Site as well as a few tips to think about before your trip!
Before you get to the site you can catch a glimpse of this stunning piece of architecture- the huge ring is not hard to miss from the main road as you drive past. And on the other side the landscape is decorated with the occasional digging site as the area is still being explored for any other archaeological remains.
Upon arrival you will see that there are three main parts to the site
- The hut
- The exhibition
- The stone circle of Stonehenge
Stepping into these huts will allow you to step back in time and glance into the life of Neolithic people as you see a representation of where they lived, including features like the tolls they used for cooking. The are several boards dotted around the perimeter to provide you with more in depth information if you wish to deepen your knowledge.
A rather informative museum which shows you the life of those who lived in the area whilst the monument was being constructed, including the tools they developed as well as utensils and methods used for cooking. There are also a couple of videos explaining how the area has changed over time.
Ahhh the main part that everybody comes to see; the stone circle whose picture has adorned thousands of postcards and travel brochures alike, it’s a sight that everyone instantly recognizes.
I think the main appeal of the site is they mystery that surrounds it – throughout history the true story has been lost and nobody knows the purpose of its construction for sure. Many theories have been proposed: a way of mapping the stars, a coronation location and even a druid temple. However the most popular idea that seems to be widely accepted is that the stones were a temple which was built in accordance with the movements of the sun. At summer and winter solstice the sunlight shines directly though the entrance- a deliberate gap in the stones.
The landscape surrounding Stonehenge is also of historic significance – as you look around, the horizon is filled with small mounds which are ancient burial sights. During the Neolithic period it was considered very important to be buried within the sight of Stonehenge.
There are two ways to reach the stones: the first is a thirty minutes’ walk through some grassland and English countryside. Alternatively you can take a bus ride which lasts approximately 5 minutes. The buses leave the base very regularly and are a great alternative on a hot day, as shade isn’t particularly common.
Of course due to the fact that it is a prehistoric site you can’t walk up to the stones- there is a fence running round the perimeter to ensure you don’t get too close, aiding to the continued preservation of the area.
It is probably a good idea to book in advance as this will shorten your queuing time to gain entry to the site and it is slightly cheaper than purchasing tickets as you arrive. There are plenty of places to park and a few food options on site, perfect for cooling off after exploring this magnificent monument.