I can’t believe I am writing this post. I went to Stonehenge, y’all. I don’t know when I got in my head that seeing Stonehenge would be awesome, but it was years and years ago when I was still little. When we were in London this past week, I insisted that we find a way to visit. I am in awe of ancient cultures, and after visiting the Hill of Tara and Loughcrew in Ireland, there was no way I was going to miss this.
When we pulled up to the site on the bus, our tour guide pointed out that as long as we expected “a bunch of rocks in a field” we wouldn’t be disappointed. He’s right- it is a bunch of rocks, but honestly, it feels like so much more when you are standing out there. In the past few years, the National Trust has done a ton of work to restore the grounds to a more natural appearance (after the area around was paved decades ago for tourists) so when you visit, it’s like you’re stepping back in time. These days, the visitors center is a few minutes bus ride away from the site, and when you get up to the stones, all you see is grass and the countryside.
They have the site roped off, so you can’t walk up and inside the stone circle, but you can get close enough to really get a look at them.
Stonehenge was completed about 3500 years ago. That is just CRAZY to me. The reason this site is so important, other than it’s huge size, is that it has the large horizontal stones on top of the vertical stones. The stones were brought to this site from hundreds of miles away, and then hoisted into place, which is no small feat for an ancient society. These things are huge.
The National Trust is also working to bring a neat exhibit about the construction, materials and possible use, and they are even building a imitation neolithic village outside the visitors center to help you picture what kind of a society put together this huge monument.
The kids’ favorite part was the audio guide which explained the various stones around the site. I wish I could tell you what it said, but Little Miss stole my headset since the “mean man” said she was too little for one. She proudly spent the entire visit parading around listening to mine, and I am not sure she ever noticed the silly stones. Some people’s kids, right?
I’m just in awe over it. I wish we could visit for a Solstice- although the guide told us they get close to 20,000 people on the solstice, and most of them are “druids and half naked hippies getting stoned at the stones”… so maybe avoid that if you have little kids.
If you’re going to visit, bring a camera, and allow 2-3 hours to really take your time at the stones and the visitors center. I would watch the website and see when the work on the village will be done, because it’s going to be really neat. It is not stroller friendly, and you will need to be careful to keep little hands from tugging on the small rope barrier they have in place- I could just see one of my kids darting through it. It’s pretty flimsy, but it doesn’t take away from the experience, and that is what matters. It will be crowded, so be prepared to either walk the 25 minutes each way to the stones, or wait a while for a ride on the tram.