Stonehenge has been known as one of the seven wonders of the world. It’s a rather prestigious title to hold in all fairness, shared with some of the most magnificent structures on the planet. And you can find it sitting in the hilly countryside of Wiltshire.
That makes it pretty accessible for a Brit like me.
You’d be surprised by the number of native folk that haven’t been to one of the most iconic places in the British Isles. Ultimately, they are a few huge stones, but they’re significant to us, and well, it makes for a great day out.
If you want to read up the complete history of Stonehenge, you’ll find Wikipedia gives a much more informed view than I could ever hope to concoct.
To give you a brief overview, Stonehenge is a series of rocks that form one of the most well known Neolithic monuments in the world. They’re dated to approximately 3000BC, which means they’ve been standing somewhere between 4000 to 5000 years. Quite an impressive feat that.
The surrounding area is filled with barrows, which are ancient burial sites that look more or less like small hills. You could be excused for never noticing their existence.
Oddly enough, Stonehenge seems to attract large crowds of ‘druids’ at certain times of the year. Namely the solstices. Because, you know, nothing says satanic rituals quite like dancing around ancient stone monuments.
Unfortunately, overzealous ingrates are also likely to bypass the rope barriers at the site and deface the rocks. They ruin it for the rest of us.
It happened to be a rather cold day, albeit bright, but that meant the ground was nice and solid. You can see the arches of Stonehenge more clearly here, and if you look closely you can make out some of the smaller rocks.
The henge is made up of two types of stone. The larger stones are sarsen, which is a hardened type of sandstone that likely came from 20 miles away at the Marlborough Downs. The smaller stones are bluestone which is a volcanic rock, and these were moved from the Preseli Hills in west Wales.
The actual site at Stonehenge is managed by English Heritage, who do a great job of ensuring there’s plenty to do, and suitable facilities so that everyone can enjoy their day out.
Stonehenge itself is quite a trek away from the visitor centre and the other facilities. Fortunately there are buses that run between the two sites so you don’t have to walk too far.
At the visitor centre there is a 360 degree experience and a number of exhibits that you can see. They range from tools to jewellery, and give you an insight to how the people that built Stonehenge lived.
There are also a number of Neolithic houses on the site, which are open for you to explore. Just make sure you duck to get through the doorways else you’ll bang your head like I did.
Finally, there’s a giftshop and a cafe on site so you can pick up any souvenirs or refreshments, as well as a bunch of toilet and changing facilities.
All in all, plenty of things to do for a good day out!