Stonehenge is a world-class visitor attraction site in England, attracting visitors from across the country. Visiting Stonehenge is to know the past of mankind and keep the story of England alive for future generations. It is a prehistoric stone circle monument, grave field and archaeological site located on Salisbury plains, 8 miles north of Wiltshire, England.
Stone Circle monument field is a part of Great Britain’s heritage. It is one of the best-known pre-historic monuments in Europe.
1. Visiting Stonehenge: Everything You Need to Know
Stonehenge was built in several stages. The unique stone circle was built during the Neolithic period, nearly 2500 BC. The earliest monuments are The Heel Stone and the low mound of Stonehenge. The earliest known major structure was the construction of a Stone circle, with an inner and outer ring, built around 3000 BC. This enclosed area is about 100 metres in diameter, with two entrances.
Within the circle, archaeologists expressed possibilities of some timber structures. Present inside the circle were 56 pits, called Aubrey Holes. Archaeologists were not unanimous about the use of these Aubrey holes. For many years, the majority of archeologists believed that they hold upright timber posts, but later it was found out that they might have had traces of stones as well.
2. Lesser Known Facts About Stonehenge
Here are some of the lesser-known facts about Stonehenge that people might not know.
2.1 Used for Cremation Purposes
In and around the Aubrey Holes, and in the ditch, there have been found many people buried. 64 cremations have been found at this place, and approx 150 people were buried at this site. The place is also known to make the largest late Neolithic cemetery in Europe. It is an accepted fact this site was used for ceremonial purposes in about 8000–7000 BC.
Even before this place was accepted as a cremation ground, many locals found human remains and buried bodies in 3000 BC.
DNA analysis reports of the bodies buried near the ground show evidence of these people coming from places outside of England. These people can generally be from the Wales of the Mediterranean and other surrounding places.
Stonehenge was under private ownership till 1918 ( Antrobus family). After an auction, it was given to Great Britain Government. It is the responsibility of the English Heritage to conserve Stonehenge currently.
2.2 The Stone Circle Setting
Sarsen stones were used for bigger stone structures, and making inner circles and outer circles. Blue stones were used to connect Sarsen stones and make an arch.
The stone structure was made from Sarsen stones which are widely available in England and Blue stones, a dolomite family stone found in western Wales. The outer circle was later altered to form a horseshoe. While this was being constructed, Earthwork Avenue was also built which connects Stonehenge and the river Avon.
The last Pre-historic work done here was the digging around the stone settings of two rings of concentric pits radiocarbon between 1800 and 1500 BC. It seems to have been intended for a rearrangement but that was never completed.
2.3 Visiting Stonehenge
If you are planning to visit Stonehenge, it is important for you to collect all the necessary information before you head for this place. It is advisable to take a day trip from London as it is the best way you can explore this place.
By road, Stonehenge is at a distance of 145 miles from London. It will generally take two hours to reach there. But if you prefer going by railway, then Salisbury is the nearest railway station. It is situated at a distance of 9.5 miles from Stonehenge. Apart from that, local buses and shuttle buses are also available.
Once you reach Stonehenge, there are plenty of buses and shuttle buses that will help you in taking a tour of this place. Specialist tour providers are also available who will help you in exploring the place to its bits. Stonehenge tours are often combined with other locations in England.
2.4 Visiting Hours and Other Information
If you are planning to visit Stonehenge, it is advisable to visit during the summer months as the weather conditions are very friendly at this time. Since the rush in the summer season is very high, it is advisable to buy tickets in advance.
There is an amount that you need to pay in order to explore Stonehenge. The amount varies for adults and children. Stonehenge is free for National Trust and English Heritage members.
Booking is the only way to guarantee entry on the day and at the time of your choice. You will be able to find a heavy rush on bank holidays. The busiest time of the day here is between 11 am and 2 pm. Please remember to bring your booking confirmation with you when you visit.
Photography is not prohibited at this place. Though there are certain places inside the monument where photography is not allowed. If you are taking the help of a professional tour guide, they will be able to take you to beautiful picturesque places.
Apart from Stonehenge, there are other places in the surrounding that are worth visiting too. You and your family are sure to love these places.
These are some of the major information that you should be aware of befoe visiting Stonehenge. It is an amazing place that will not only fill your heart, but you will also be able to learn a lot of things from this place.
It is one of the best places for kids as there are many educational and history-related information that they can learn.