Summer solstice at Stonehenge and Avebury

Thursday 01 January 1970

In Britain, the longest day of the year - or summer solstice - falls on 21 June, and celebrations have historically taken place any time between 19-24 June. For centuries it's been associated with all kinds of religious and folk celebrations. Traditionally, bonfires would be lit to scare away evil spirits, and even dragons, while a great wheel would be rolled downhill to signify the sun reaching its highest point, then descending throughout the remainder of the year.

Summer solstice at Stonehenge

Traditional Midsummer's bonfires are still lit in Cornwall. But the best known Summer Solstice celebration in Britain takes place each year at Stonehenge. A site of solstice celebrations for time immemorial, people flock to the stone circle each year on the 20th June to see the sunrise on the solstice the following day.

Solstice by Stonehenge stone circle 800 Summer Solstice at Stonehenge - image by Stonehenge Stone Circle on Flickr

 

Summer solstice at Avebury

Stonehenge is the most famous, but there are also solstice celebrations at England's other well-known stone circle: Avebury

Avebury_at_summer_solstice_2014 - by loonytics creative commons 800 Avebury Stone Circle on the Summer Solstice photo by Loonytics - Wikimedia Creative Commons

 

If you're interested in attending, you can find out more information and book tickets to Stonehenge on the English Heritage website, or if you'd like to head to Avebury, you'll find details here. Alternatively, you can find any beautiful spot in Britain you choose and celebrate the start of the longest day of the year in your own way! The summer solstice is traditionally a time of new beginnings and renewal, as well as a time to get close to nature, so it's the perfect day to set aside for a country walk.

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