I’ve been planning to organise a Stonehenge day trip for a couple of years. It’s been on my bucket list since I was younger.
Stonehenge is one of the original seven wonders of the world. It’s a rather prestigious title to hold, 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. Or if you’re a foreign tourist you might consider Stonehenge day trip yourself. Plenty of day trips operate from London.
It’s surprising, the number of native folks that haven’t been to one of the most iconic places in the British Isles. They might be a few huge stones, but they’re significant to us, and well, it makes for a great day out.
What can you do at Stonehenge?
Although owned by the Crown, English Heritage manages the site at Stonehenge. It does 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, some buses run between the two sites so you don’t have to walk too far.
At the visitor centre, there is a 360-degree experience (yet another way that technology improves our travels) and several exhibits that you can see. They range from tools to jewellery and give you an insight into how the people that built Stonehenge lived.
There are also some Neolithic houses on the site, which are open for you to explore. Make sure you duck to get through the doorways else you’ll bang your head as I did.
On-site you’ll find a gift shop and a cafe 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!
How much time do you need at Stonehenge?
It depends on what exactly you want to do while you’re there, and when you go. Stonehenge can be very busy, which leads to queues to get onto the bus to the monument and make it a bit more difficult to get around as people shuffle by.
I’d suggest having a couple of hours ringfenced for Stonehenge. That will give you a chance to get the bus over, walk around, check out the information boards and take and photographs you want. Then afterwards you’ll have a bit of time to look at the exhibits on site.
Can you walk around the stones at Stonehenge?
You can walk around the stones. However, Stonehenge itself is fenced off by ropes. Whilst you can walk around the circumference, you can’t get in and around the stones, or walk beneath them.
This is partly to stop people from touching and defacing the stones and partly for safety. We all know that some geniuses would find a way to climb on them and end up falling off.
Why can’t you touch the stones at Stonehenge?
As responsible humans, most of us are respectful of the stone monument. But, 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.
Aside from the obvious attempts at vandalism, I’m sure there’s an element of preservation involved. If you’ve ever seen old statues or rocks that are often touched by people you’ll notice how they begin to erode. I’m assuming it has something to do with oily hands.
What do you wear to Stonehenge?
I mentioned it was a rather cold day. Stonehenge is in the middle of an open piece of land which means it can be quite windy. If it decides to rain, you’ve got quite a distance to go to find shelter too. With that in mind, I’d suggest wrapping up warm most of the year.
You’ll be able to get away with shorts or summer clothing if it’s a hot day. Consider that there isn’t much shade around Stonehenge so you’ll need to bring sunscreen at the very least.
How big are the stones at Stonehenge?
Two types of stones make up the henge. Sarsen is the larger stone, 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 come from the Preseli Hills in west Wales.
The sarsen stones can be up to 30 feet (or 9 metres) tall and they weigh an average of 22.6 metric tons. The smaller bluestones weigh up to 4 tons each.
Who was Stonehenge built by?
Archaeologist John Aubrey claimed in the 17th century that Stonehenge was built by the Druids. 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.
Realistically though, it appears that Stonehenge was built over thousands of years. Pinpointing exactly who built the monument is extremely difficult.
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 construct.
When was Stonehenge built?
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.
One of the many barrows at Stonehenge
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.
So there you have it. If you’re considering going on a Stonehenge day trip of your own remember to dress appropriately and consider giving some love to English Heritage. They play a major role in maintaining the site to make our day trips more enjoyable.