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Wonders of the World – Stonehenge

If you want to dive into ancient history of England, Stonehenge is certainly a place to start, as without doubt it is Europe's most famous prehistoric monument.   You've seen the pictures… of a "mysterious" circle of upright stones in Southern England on Salisbury Plain, as well as pictures of modern day Druids holding ceremonies as the sun come up during the Summer Solstice, or you may have read accounts of Merlin moving the stones by magic.  

Stonehenge - WHTV

Stonehenge – WHTV

Whether it's fact or fiction you've been reading… doesn't it make you want to go?  Most authorities say that it was built in stages starting from about 3000 BC, however research into and about the monument is ongoing and new discoveries, details, and theories are turning up all the time.  

Maybe it's because people think it is or was a place of religious or spiritual significance that draws so many of them as visitors, that said I believe the fact that we know so little about such a great site is part of its allure.  Whatever draws you to this amazing stone circle, make the effort to see it. 

The Sarsen Circle - WHTV

The Sarsen Circle – WHTV

You can make this a day trip out of London if your time is short.  The best way to do this is probably to book a one day tour. You can also take the train to Salisbury which is the closest town to the Monument.  (It's about 80 minutes from London to Salisbury and   trains leave from London's Waterloo Station.)  In Salisbury, catch the Stonehenge Tour Bus which goes about every 30 minutes from the Salisbury train station and bus station. The bus will take you to the entrance of Stonehenge.  It returns to the Train Station with a stop at Old Sarum which is an Iron Age Hill Fort… and was the site of Old Salisbury.  

We've always rented a car to get to there, as it is only 90 miles (145 km) from London; 2 miles west of Amesbury on the junction of two highways, A303 and A344/A360.  The circle stands on its own in the middle of open countryside…. you honestly can't miss it.

New Tourist Centre - WHTV

New Tourist Centre – WHTV

Facilities are pretty basic, there are toilets and a small stand selling coffee, soft drinks, and snacks.  Parking is usually free but there is an entrance fee  and Audio tours are included with your entrance fee. Only a chain link fence separates the road from the standing stones, so you can stick your camera through the fence to get a clear picture.  However there is a major new tourist centre being built given greater access to the site, and will allow you to take a much better photographs.

You are not allowed within the circle unless you apply for a Stonehenge Stone Circle Access or attend a special event.  Check with English Heritage for more details.  

Take something warm with you as the stones stand on an open plain, and it can get windy and cold. Stonehenge is not an isolated piece of prehistory, there are many Neolithic burial mounds in the area, the most famous is the West Kennet Long Barrow.   Avebury is a larger, some say older, stone circle about 20 miles (32 km) north of Stonehenge.  Silbury Hill, another Neolithic site nearby, is the tallest prehistoric man-made mound in Europe. The ruins of Old Sarum are worth a visit and moving forward in history, so is the town of Salisbury.  

Look out for further 'Wonders of the World' features as well reviews on English Heritage sites

Click here if you want to find out more on Stonehenge.