Things to do | Art, Culture & Heritage | Stonehenge

Stonehenge

World Heritage Site

World Heritage Site Stonehenge is one of the most important prehistoric monuments in the world. Dating back an astonishing 5,000 years, its exact purpose has been long debated.

The monument stands on a small mound in a vast plain of the Wiltshire countryside, not far from Salisbury. As you approach by road, the stones suddenly come into view far off in the distance. You can't help but feel excitement, awe, and perhaps a little fear. The sheer scale of the stones shocks you, despite the fact you've probably seen them in hundreds of pictures.

 

Stonehenge is made up of 2 concentric stone circles encircled by a deep trench in the earth. We think construction happened in stages spanning 1,600 years. The stones include Bluestone, Sarson and Welsh Sandstone, which travelled over 240 miles to reach Wiltshire. The heaviest stones weigh 50 tonnes - it would have taken 600 men to move just one!

We still don't know what its original purpose was. Some say it was a temple to worship the gods, while others describe it as an astronomical observatory, or prehistoric calendar, because of the way it aligns with the sun and moon. There are many theories, but one thing is certain; Stonehenge has endured millennia, and no matter what your beliefs, you'll feel there's something sacred about it.

You have to pay to get really close to the stones, but you can get a good view from outside the main enclosure. There are also many free prehistoric monuments and artefacts in the local area like Woodhenge and Avebury.

Avebury circle is the largest stone circle in Europe, it's so large in fact that the village of Avebury goes right through the middle. It's a great place to stop and relax. You're free to wander among the stones, set down a picnic or even try to scale the huge trench that encircles the stones. There's also lots more to do like explore the village, visit Avebury Manor and Garden and Avebury Museum or stop for a drink at the local pub in the middle of the stones.

For more visitor information see: Stonehenge - English Heritage.


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