Stonehenge has been on our (my) bucket list for a long time: Bobcat has been obsessed with landmarks for a while, especially Stonehenge and I actually never managed to visit it ever since I’ve been living in the UK. So this summer, since we were staying near Basingstoke we went around for a day out.
I don’t know if we’ve been lucky or has it been just down to the Covid-19 restrictions or other people just worried that it’s surely super busy: but it wasn’t at all. We went on a weekday and we didn’t have to queue for nothing. We were expecting it to be busy: lovely sunny day, not too hot, fair amount of cars on the road (turns out all of them just slowed down driving past Stonehenge, as you do, blocking the road and causing traffic), everyone is staycationing in the UK because can’t or don’t want to go abroad. But, nope it was really pleasant, see my photos: I managed to take a few even without people in the background. Clearly the limited visitor number introduced as Covid-19 measurement have helped.
We have both English Heritage and National Trust Membership (how middle class, I know – but this time it paid off both). So it was a free visit for us, but we still had to book weeks in advance, at the moment it’s pre booked tickets only.
English Heritage and National Trust members must also book in advance for their free visit. (Free visits are applicable to English Heritage members and members of the National Trust in England or those who hold a National Trust Touring Pass only – this does not include National Trust Scotland, National Trust staff or other National Trust affiliated organisations). All members must show a valid membership card on arrival to be granted free parking and site access.
General admission is £19.50 for adults and £11.70 for children (without donation). A family ticket is a whopping £50.70 – so good thing to be a member of National Trust or English Heritage.
Getting to the Stones
There’s a shuttle bus – we took this as we had my disabled mother-in-law with us. At the moment the shuttle bus is prioritised for people who need it (but if there’s a free seat you can still hope on). Every second row of seats is blocked to keep 1 metre apart and you will need to wear a face mask. This is about a 3 minutes bus ride to the Stones.
Otherwise you can walk it, we would have definitely opted for this if my MIL wasn’t with us: it’s 2.6 miles on. a circular, so not too bad. Also there’s a circular route around the Stones as well, so it’s a one-way system.
No one really knows why Stonehenge was built. The oldest bits are 4.500 years old and it was actually in use and developed over a period of more than a thousand years. The UNESCO world heritage site has a lot of mystery around it and rich layers of history. It could have been a burial site, some of the stones were transported from as far as hundreds of miles, even thought to be a calculating or very early computing device. IT has a fascinating links to astrology. Up until the 80’s it wasn’t an unprotected site: people can even picnic around it and there were festivals held. There’ plenty of facts can be found on the English Heritage Stonehenge site and I also like this interesting article from History Extra.
Shop, Toilets and Cafe, Programmes
All were open, we did use the cafe (can’t sit down inside though). When by the Stones, there are lot’s of museum guides standing there and you can ask any questions you might have, they are happy and ready to answer them. (You can also download a free audio guide to your phone.) There’s a few interesting programmes around the main building and exhibitions too. We watched a falconry show when we were there. All in all we probably spent there about 3 hours.