Prehistoric megaliths circling on a rustic and idyllic pastoral land, full of mystery and inscrutable history – you have seen its photos a countless times. The image of the medieval Stonehenge speaks of a compelling message, yet one that baffles us to no end. Is there a message being sent to the space yonder? There were legends, one even involving Merlin; but can you blame people for being so enthralled by the sight and for speaking their imaginations aloud? The poignant image does tease the imagination.
Be one of those lured by these ancient looming boulders, which were carbon-dated to the Neolithic and Bronze Ages around 3000 BC. Be awed not only by the magnitude of the archaeological monuments, but also of the sheer ambition, intelligence, and strength of the humans responsible for raising such landmarks. You shouldn’t miss the Stonehenge in your lifetime. But if you do, it does look like it will be there for your next.
The Best Time to Visit
Although the site is open to the public every day, visitors will appreciate the tours more during the summer and winter solstices, and the spring and autumn equinoxes because they can see the Stonehenge free while watching festivities and performances. Schedule your visit on weekends, but better still, visit for a whole week. The place deserves deeper appreciation and this includes the nearby towns which share the charm and history of the Stonehenge.
Getting Around the Place
There are several options for viewing and exploring the monoliths. Be true to your idyllic adventure and explore the place in the most environment-friendly mode.
1) On Foot
The friendliest to the natural environment, so far, is getting around on foot. There are parking spaces in Stonehenge, Amesbury and Woodhenge, where you can safely leave your car. Walk through ditches and embankments and tour from one prehistoric monument to another. Don’t forget, however, to wear extra comfortable shoes because certain parts of the landscape are naturally challenging for the human feet and quite unfriendly to the fashion shoes.
2) Cycle Around
The management of National Trust and English Heritage also regularly opens the Stonehenge landscape to bikers. Using the bicycle may be a faster way to get a view of all the monuments in Stonehenge. Cycling enthusiasts may choose to even ride farther by extending the tour towards Woodford Valley and Amesbury.
When you simply want to get a view of the Stonehenge and not engage in either long walks or exhausting cycles, then you could perhaps try looking at the stones through the roadside of A303 or the parking lots of Stonehenge, Amesbury, and Woodhenge because the vast planes allow the stones to be seen even from distances afar. Although this may be a lot convenient for everyone, this way of touring the Stonehenge is not recommended. You’d be depriving yourself of a magical experience of setting foot on prehistoric landscape, seeing the megaliths up close, and communing with history.
Things to Do
A magnificent way to enjoy the Stonehenge tour is not by merely looking at the stone monuments, but by trying to do other things related to it. Take your chance to enjoy the different festivities, facilities, and products offered by the English Heritage at Stonehenge.
1) Participate in the Annual Stonehenge Open Access
The traditional open access celebration during summer solstice, winter solstice, spring equinox, and autumn equinox are annual events celebrated at the Stonehenge by more than a thousand people. They come from different sectors such as England’s New Age tribes which comprise of neo-pagans, neo-druids, and Wiccans together with ordinary English citizens, foreign tourists, scholars, and pure travelers who wish to witness an unusual experience of seeing the sunrise above the Stonehenge stones. The open access event may be a once in a lifetime activity because it is during this time that the National Trust and English Heritage allows participants to actually stay within the stone circle and even touch the megaliths. You can witness the enigmatic alignment of the slaughter stone, heel stone, and the rising or setting sun, and arrange your travel to coincide with any of these special dates – sunrise of June 21st, sunset of June 20th, sunrise of December 21st, and sunrise of March 20th.
2) Revive Your Spirituality
A tour at the Stonehenge may not be purely leisurely in nature but also spiritual in character due to the abundance of ancient spiritual artifacts that are present at the heritage site. The Stonehenge ambiance offers peace and quietness to anyone who wants to do some reflection.
3) Learn about History
Every travel time is an opportunity to learn something new so let the Stonehenge experience be a worthwhile educational tour as well. Some of the monuments at Stonehenge particularly the world-renowned stone circle have audio clippings which you can listen to while you walk along the pathway. The audio guide includes scientific, archeological, and historical accounts which will help you understand deeper while you gaze at a particular monument or relic. A lot of informational books are also available at the English Heritage management office.
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