Stonehenge one of the most mystical monuments in the world with colossal standing stones, dating back to the Neolithic age. Archaeologists are estimating that it was constructed between 3000 BC and 2000 BC.
However, it’s origin is still unknown and remains a mystery. Stonehenge is one of the most popular places to visit in the United Kingdom, and it has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986.
|Ticket Type||Cost (£)|
|Adult ticket (18-64 years)||£19|
|Concession (65+ or student)||£17.10|
|Child (5-17 years)||£11.40|
|Infant (0-4 years)||£0|
|Family (2 adults + 2 children)||£49.40|
|Family (2 adults + 3 children)||£49.40|
Members of English Heritage and the National Trust can enjoy a free visit when they book online in advance.
Entrance to Stonehenge is managed on a strict booking system and booking online in advance is strongly recommended for visitors set on visiting the site as it’s the only way to guarantee entry on the day and time of your choice.
What’s more, tickets booked online well in advance can be purchased at a cheaper price than those booked last-minute or on the day.
- Monday – Sunday: 9:30 am – 5 pm (last admission is 2 hours before closing time)
History & more information
With a history spanning over 4,500 years, Stonehenge is one of the world’s most famous monuments, and yet it’s shrouded with mystery! The prehistoric site attracts over one million tourists a year, but who built it and what was it used for?
It’s believed that the stone structure was built in several stages, the first beginning well over 5,000 years ago with its original use being to cremate the dead. Today, it’s purpose isn’t as obvious, although many experts have various theories.
The structure wasn’t lived in, and couldn’t have been defended and so archeologists begin to turn to spiritual reasoning when asking ‘why did the Neolithic and Bronze Age people take so much effort to build Stonehenge?’.
The stone circle found in the center of the site is thought to have been built later in the Neolithic period, closer to 2500 BC. This masterpiece of engineering would have taken great effort to build.
It is believed that hundreds of workers were involved to create it, using only basic tools and technologies. It’s thought that these particular stones were carefully aligned to line up with the movements of the sun, and link to the solstices.
Was it built purely to celebrate the coming of midsummer and midwinter? Or was it built to help local farmers dictate when to grow crops? Experts are still unsure of the origin and purpose of Stonehenge, although it is believed they were used for ceremonies/rituals.
It wasn’t until the early 20th century that a bid was made to protect this fascinating stone site, and in 1964 the last of the stones were consolidated. The duty to preserve the site fell at the feet of the state (after the private owner handed it back to the nation in 1918) and it’s today protected by the English Heritage on behalf of her Majesty the Queen.
Ongoing efforts by both the English Heritage and National Trust to protect the site, and the surrounding grasslands, have meant that the Stone Circle will remain undamaged hopefully for decades to come as the mystery of its existence continues to be under question.
While many questions regarding this prehistoric monument remain unanswered, a morning exploring the site and visiting the Exhibition Center provides a fascinating insight into the history of the area.
Points of Interest
General admission to Stonehenge includes admission to the following attractions:
The Stone Circle is the centerpiece to any visit to Stonehenge and a walk around the site will leave you marveling at this masterpiece of engineering!
Visit the replica abodes of those who once built the Stone Circle and see what life was like four and a half thousand years ago! You’ll find the neolithic houses next to the Visitor and Exhibition Center.
Discover the story of Stonehenge through a cutting edge exhibition that covers the history of the local landscape, people, and culture. You’ll find over 250 archeological objects inside including pottery, jewelry, and ancient human remains!
Start your visit at the Visitor Center where you’ll transfer your booking confirmation into a ticket.
Head to the cafe after your visit to re-fuel. There are both indoor and outdoor seating and an array of hot and cold dishes to choose from.
How to get to Stonehenge
Stonehenge is clearly signposted from the A303, off the A360. Parking is available on site. During peak season, there is a small parking fee for those who’ve not pre-booked tickets and those which aren’t National Trust or England Heritage members.
From the car park, a Visitor Bus service runs frequently to the Stones and is suitable for those who prefer not to walk.
The Stonehenge Tour Bus is a public bus that departs from the nearby city of Salisbury. Visit the Wiltshire County Council’s website for more information on departure times and schedules.
The nearest train station to Stonehenge is found in Salisbury. From here, catch the public bus to the site.
Best time to visit
The number of visitors to Stonehenge various enormously depending on the time of day. To avoid the crowds, try visiting before 9.30 am or after 4 pm (or 2 pm in the winter).
Facts about Stonehenge
- The circular earth bank and ditch surrounding the stones date back to around 3100BC!
- Stonehenge was created by people who left no written records.
- According to the legend, Stonehenge was built by Druids who are said to have used it as a place of worship.
- DNA research suggests that the ancestors of the people who built Stonehenge came from the Eastern Mediterranean, with Aegean ancestry, although the techniques they used for agriculture had origins from Anatolia, in modern-day Turkey.
- The earliest known realistic painting of Stonehenge was produced in the 16th century.
- The site was the cause of a battle (The Battle of the Beanfield) in 1985.
- Two types of stone are found on the site; sarsens and bluestones. It’s believed the larger sarsen stone came from Marlborough Downs (20 miles away) while the bluestones came from the Preseli Hills (140 miles away).
- Stonehenge includes a circle of 56 pits. The pits sit inside the enclosure and are known as the Aubrey Holes (named after John Aubrey who identified them).
- Roman artifacts have been found at the site including pottery, stone, coins, and metal items.
- Charles Darwin discovered that the stones were sinking through the soil because of earthworms!
FAQ’s (Things to know before you go)
How do I collect my tickets?
Once you’ve booked your ticket online you’ll receive a confirmation email. Simply print this confirmation and bring it on the day. If you don’t have access to a printer, please write down your booking reference and take it to the ticket desk. Booking confirmations on phone screens can’t be scanned.
Can I buy Stonehenge tickets on the day?
Yes, you can buy tickets up to three hours before your visit but I strongly recommend you pre-book online to avoid disappointment.
How long can I stay at Stonehenge?
There’s no time limit on your stay, but most visitors stay around two-hours, which is adequate time for most.
Is Stonehenge wheelchair accessible?
Yes. The main areas in and around the car park, visitor center, and the Stone Circle are accessible by wheelchair via tarmac and grass paths.
What was Stonehenge used for?
The purpose of Stonehenge is not entirely understood, but it was likely used as a burial site and a place for rituals and ceremonies.
Are there any security checks?
Yes, you’ll undergo security checks before entering and these may include a bag check and/ or body scan with a hand-held detector.
Did Stonehenge tell time?
The massive stones are aligned with the movements of the sun, so they might have been used to tell time.
How tall are the stones at Stonehenge?
The tallest and biggest stones of Stonehenge measure up to 30 feet (9 meters) tall and weigh 25 tons (22.6 metric tons).
Do you have more questions before visiting Stonehenge? Leave a comment below!