- With over one million visitors a year, Stonehenge is one of the world's best-known prehistoric monuments, and certainly one of its most mystifying.
- Trace the footsteps of your Neolithic ancestors around the huge man-made circle of standing stones on Salisbury Plain.
- Learn about Stonehenge history, and discover the fascinating story of the site through archaeological treasures at the world-class exhibition.
Make your way to Stonehenge, one of the most famous prehistoric monuments in the world, which lies at the centre of an incredible archaeological landscape. Young historians and budding archaeologists will love seeing the unique circular stone masterpiece with their own eyes. Although there’s no specific date of construction, archaeologists believe that work started on the stone circle about 5,000 years ago in the late Neolithic Age – making it older than the Pyramids of Egypt! It's estimated to have taken over a thousand years to build.
Of course, what makes Stonehenge so extra special is the mystery that surrounds it. Why was it built and how did the Neolithic people construct it? How were the 25-tonne sarsen stones transported from their original location (of over 20 miles away)? It’s hard not to appreciate the scale of achievement here.
Discover the story of Stonehenge and explore the fascinating 250 archaeological objects and treasures at the exhibition, which is situated at the visitor centre. You will learn all about the stones - which have developed their own distinctive personalities and stories over the centuries. Check out the graffiti on Stone 52, which bears the name Wren and is thought to be carved by St Paul's Cathedral architect Sir Christopher Wren. Get up close to the Heel Stone, which stands in isolation and weighs more than 36 tonnes! Currently, there are 93 rocks or lumps of stone at the site, which covers 2,600 hectares (6,500 acres) of chalk downland and arable fields. Did you know that it’s seven-and-a-half times as big as Central Park in New York City!
For years, people have gathered on the eve of Midsummer’s day to celebrate the summer solstice, where the sun rises behind the Heel stone in the north-east of the horizon. Children and adults alike will be intrigued about the important connection to the solstices and how Stonehenge shows both the summer solstice sunrise and the winter solstice sunset. You will be swept up in the enchanted atmosphere and mystery of this unforgettable English Heritage site.
What to know before you go
- Stonehenge opens at 9.30am and closes at 5pm.
- Since 1977, the stones have been roped off so people aren’t able to walk among or climb on them. The closest you can get to the stones is about 10 yards.
- Make the day of it and visit the city of Salisbury with your family, which is just 8 miles away. Salisbury Cathedral has Britain’s tallest spire and is home to the Magna Carta. Learn more about the prehistory of the Stonehenge area at Salisbury Museum.
- The unique, vibrant city of Bath is also under 30 miles from Stonehenge and is well worth a visit whilst you are in the area.
- The River Avon flows southward from near Stonehenge down to Christchurch.
- If you are staying overnight, there is a Travelodge nearby on the A303 Countess Services or the Antrobus Hotel is two miles away.
- There is an on-site café that serves soup, pastries, salads and cakes. Takeaway is also available so you can enjoy the picnic area in the monument fields. You will have a brilliant view of the Stone Circle. The café has child sized portions, high chairs and they are able to warm bottles and food.
- Take home a souvenir from the gift shop. They sell a range of books, gifts, clothing and accessories.
- Stonehenge is wheelchair accessible.
- There are disabled toilets and baby-change facilities available at the visitor centre.
- Explore the exhibition at the visitor centre, which contains nearly 300 archaeological objects from Stonehenge as well as other nearby monuments.
- Why not download a free audio tour in advance from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
- Stonehenge is located on Salisbury Plain, near Amesbury in Wiltshire. It is located just off the A303 and is clearly signposted (you will see it from the motorway).
- From London to Stonehenge, it takes approximately 2 hours by car or coach.
- Take the train from London Waterloo to Salisbury on the South Western Railway line. From Salisbury, there is a Stonehenge tour bus that runs directly to Stonehenge. The journey takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes.
- Driving from Bristol to Stonehenge takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Or take the train from Bristol Temple Meads to Salisbury and jump on the Stonehenge tour bus to the site.
- Parking is available on site at Stonehenge. There is a parking charge at peak periods to non-members and those who have not pre-booked (tickets are refundable on tickets purchased to Stonehenge). From the car park, there is a visitor bus that runs every 10 minutes and takes around 10 minutes.