How to Visit Stonehenge – Everything You Need to Know

by | Jan 31, 2022 | Live Work Play Travel, London and UK Live Work and Play | 13 comments

Stand in awe at Stonehenge

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Stonehenge was something I had always wanted to see. And I can say I saw it a few times during my working holiday in London. But I remember the very first time, sitting in the bus, nervous. It appeared in the distance and got bigger and bigger and as we drew near all I could say was “Wow”. It was so mesmerising as it stood there, in the middle of a field. Stonehenge really is as impressive as it looks in pictures. As it is one of the most-photographed attractions in England, it’s no wonder why so many people want to visit Stonehenge. In this post, you will find all the information you need to plan your visit to Stonehenge. I hope you will be as mesmerised as I was!

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What is Stonehenge – A brief History of Stonehenge

 

Stonehenge has always intrigued me. I mean, how did they do it? And why? How did they move such heavy stones? What’s it’s significance? Well …. Stonehenge has been estimated to have been built around 3100BC, some 4,500 years ago. It is so hard to imagine how people from that time were able to put the mammoth blocks of stone, most pieces being around 13 feet high, 7 feet wide and weighing around 25 tons in to such an inspiring circular form. But I guess that is part of the mystery of the place. History points to its use as a burial ground which was backed up by human bones that were excavated from the site in the 1900s. However, it is also believed to have been a Druid Temple and it is seen as a place of worship and rituals by present day Druids who celebrate the summer and winter solstice. Due to its historical value, Stonehenge was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1986. You can find out more about Stonehenge when you visit.

 

Where is Stonehenge

 

Map Showing Where Stonehenge Is In Relation To London.

About an hour and half’s drive west of London is Stonehenge

 

Stonehenge is in Amesbury near the town of Salisbury in Wiltshire. That is about 80 miles west of London. It takes about an hour and hour to get there if you are driving from London and about the same if you are catching the train. Being relatively close to London makes Stonehenge an easy day trip from London. Or, you can turn it into a weekend trip and visit other towns that are close by such as Salisbury and Bath. I think it is one of those places you shouldn’t miss out on while visiting while the UK on a holiday, on a UK working holiday or visiting the UK as part of your work and travel abroad adventures. I think you got the picture – it’s a must visit when in England.

 

How to Visit Stonehenge

 

There are a number of ways to visit Stonehenge easily on a day trip. I recommend booking a bus tour as I think it is an easy option. Your ticket will include you being driven to Stonehenge, your entrance fee and then be driven home. This is the way I first went there. But you can also rent a car and drive there yourself by taking the M3 and then A303 roads. The second time I went to Stonehenge, a group of friends and I rented a car and drove. It was our first time driving in the UK and was a little scary until we were use to the road signs and the traffic! And you can also catch the train to Salisbury train station and from there take the Stonehenge Tour Bus which drops you off at the Visitor Centre. Check out some of these bus tours.

 

What to do at Stonehenge and how long to spend there

 

There are really only two things to do at Stonehenge. The first is to walk to the stones making up Stonehenge and admire them and take photos for as long as you like. Yes, the walk is interesting. As Stonehenge is such a popular place to visit a carpark and visitor centre was built. They are built on the other side of the freeway from Stonehenge to cope with the large amount of visitors. So Stonehenge is accessed by walking about a mile (1.6km) through a tunnel under the highway. There is a shuttle bus leaving every 5 minutes if you are feeling lazy. But you won’t be disappointed as you exit the tunnel. 

Unfortunately due to erosion from the weather and the large number of visitors, Stonehenge it is roped off from everybody. If you wanted to run and dance around the stones and touch them, well you can’t, security guards ensure that. Though during summer and winter solstice and with special organised permission you can get closer. Even so, just being in the presence of Stonehenge is something to experience. It is easy to spend a couple of hours just looking at and wondering about this magnificent monument.

The other thing to do is visit the Stonehenge Visitor Centre. Here, you can learn all about the history and other facts of Stonehenge through interactive visual presentations. There are also ancient artefacts to check out before recharging in the café and maybe buying a souvenir in the gift shop. But it is actually when you stand in its presence that makes the visit well worth your while. All in all, you will probably spend a couple of hours at Stonehenge.

 

Stonehenge Visitor Centre Is A Large Building In The Middle Of A Field Where You Can Learn About Stonehenge.

A visit to the Stonehenge Visitor Centre is well worth your while!

 

Get your Ticket for Stonehenge beforehand

 

Tickets to Stonehenge are now managed on a time-entry system. That means, in order to get in, you must request a time. It is open between 9.30am to 5pm. Most people suggest to visit just after the site opens around 10am and then later in the afternoon around 3-4pm to avoid the crowds during the middle of the day. This is particularly advised during the summer months when then are more visitors. 

An entrance ticket currently costs £23.30 for adults and £11.40 for children. During peak times, there’s also a £5 parking fee. If you walk up without a reservation, expect to pay a few pounds more as well. Check out the website English Heritage to book a time and book a ticket in advance to jump the queues.

 

See Stonehenge for Free – SShh don’t tell anyone!

 

For those of you thrifty people and who are driving a car you can see Stonehenge for free. Go to Willoughby Road, Larkhill, Salisbury and drive to the bottom of the road where you will find a Stonehenge sign. Walk down the pathway which will probably say it is closed / no access but they are referring to cars. Walk on and get a free view of Stonehenge. The road may be hard to find parking as many budget travellers choose this option. But sshhh, don’t tell anyone about this because it is meant to be a secret!

 

Where to Stay near Stonehenge

 

As I mentioned the first time I went to see Stonehenge I went on a bus tour. The second time I visited, some friends and I rented a car and made a weekend of it by including a visit to Bath. If you want to make a weekend out of your visit to Stonehenge you can. As Stonehenge is out in a field there is no accommodation available in walking distance. Your best bet is in the town of Salisbury which is about 9km away. This is where I stayed for the night before heading to Bath. A couple of places I can recommend include St Annes Guest House which is only only 900m from the centre of Salisbury and includes a great breakfast. The second place is Victoria Lodge also close to the centre of Salisbury. The nearest youth hostel is 62km away from Stonehenge and unless you are driving it will take quite a while to get there. But surprise, surprise, it is called Stonehenge Youth Hostel. You can find accommodation as you travel around however, I appreciated having somewhere to go to after a long day of sightseeing. To find other accommodation options check out Booking.com.

No matter how you intend to get to Stonehenge I am sure you will stand in awe of it just like I did. It truly is a spectacular British icon that you must not miss during your time in the UK whether there on a holiday or working and travelling. If you have been to Stonehenge or are planning a visit I would love to hear in the comments following.

 

Visit Stonehenge Pin Shows The Magnificent Circular Stone Monument.

Thanks for sharing!

Useful Travel Resources for Your Next Adventure!

 

Accommodation: Where Will You Sleep Tonight? If you want a bed in a hostel dorm find a great deal with HostelWorld. I mostly stay in hotels now, Booking.com is my favourite site for booking hotels from budget to ‘I feel like splurging’. For something completely different I house and pet sitting through Trusted Housesitters – this has saved me thousands on accommodation, no joke!

Flights: I always head to Skyscanner first to find a cheap and flexible flight.

Car Rental: When I need to rent a car I turn to RentalCars.

Train Travel: I love riding the train rails and get the best value from raileurope. And Japan has a great one too – JapanRail Pass.

Bus Travel: Check out Busbud for bus tickets.

Pre-organised Tours: I’ve been on a few in my time with Contiki being my first and favourite. if you are 18-35 years of age you should check them out.

Jump-the-queue entrance tickets: I don’t enjoy standing in long queues which is why I book my entrance tickets and day trips in advance. My favourite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.

Travel Insurance. There are a number of reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having bought a policy as you never know when something might happen. SafetyWing is great digital nomads and long-term travellers and World Normads has policies for general and adventure travel.

 

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Hi. Sharyn here. Savvy Australian female with a passion for travel and working abroad. I’m on a mission to provide you with my best tips, tricks and hacks to work abroad and travel the world. If I can do it, so can you!  Read more.

 

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13 Comments

  1. Travel A-Broads

    Someone was JUST telling me the other day that you can no longer visit Stonehenge up and personal, so I’m glad to hear you still recommend a visit despite it being roped off. Also, I love the secret pro tip! I would definitely do that, haha. Thanks so much for sharing! I really would love to visit this magical wonder one day. Xx Sara

    Reply
  2. Rosemary Palmer

    I would love to visit this, and my husband even more. Thanks for the thrifty hint about seeing it.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Sshh – don’t tell anyone about the free place. I hope you get there to see it.

      Reply
  3. Francesca

    Oh wow! I have always wanted to visit the Stonehenge. I have seen some in Ireland, but these look so good. Will definitely be something for my next trip. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  4. kmf

    I find Stonehenge so intriguing and would love to visit. Thanks for pulling together this travel guide.

    Reply
  5. Chantelle

    I never realized Stonehenge was so close to London! That would be a fun day trip, and I would definitely use your secret spot! Its a bit disappointing to know that you can’t get close, but Im glad to know that ahead of time instead of when I got there!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Yes, Stonehenge could easily be a day trip from London or you can extend the day to a weekend as there are great cities like Salisbury and Bath nearby.

      Reply
  6. Alex

    I visited Stonehenge in January 2020 and I will never forget it! It’s so surreal to walk around it and stand in awe of it!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      It is an amazing place to visit. While leaving, I had to turn back for another look!

      Reply
  7. Hels

    It is such a mystical place! We visited via the sneaky walking route, and the view of the stones is incredible. Even though you can’t touch them it is like stepping back in time itself. It’s great to catch them at different times of day and weather conditions. A moody sky back drop makes for a cool souvenir photo.

    Reply
  8. Alma

    Such a great guide to Stonehenge. I always seem to miss it when we travel to the UK! Maybe next time.

    Reply
  9. Madhu

    The Stonehenge has always intrigued me ..thanks for sharing interesting details. Hope to visit soon

    Reply
  10. Krista

    I went to Stonehenge a few years ago in the off-season and had it almost all to myself which was great. It’s a bit pricey to get into, so I wish I had known your tip on how to see it for free!

    Reply

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