Visiting Stonehenge For The First Time
Have no clue what visiting Stonehenge is like?
It might be one of the most popular tourist spots in England, but finding out about Stonehenge can be extremely hard. It has quietly stood in the English countryside for 1000s of years and strikes an imposing look. The attraction is steeped in history and mystery. No one knows exactly why it is where it is, or how exactly the formation was made. It doesn't mean you should be clueless about getting there. This short guide will fill you in on the best ways to get to Stonehenge and which tours are worth spending time and money to be on.
Where Is It?
Finding Stonehenge on a map
Show someone a map of the United Kingdom and ask them to point to where they think Stonehenge is. Chances are they won't have a clue. Its almost directly left of London right in the middle of the countryside. It's right by a small village called Amesbury and is surrounded by nothing but green. Just take a look at it on Google Maps.
Unusually for such a big attraction, its quite out of the way from anything else and sits by a village that sees it as nothing more than a part of the landscape.
Why Should I Go?
What's the point of visiting a big pile of rocks?
Stonehenge is your chance to see a different side of English history. While the big cities have their industrial, turn of the century buildings and the countryside has castles and manors, this is an oddity that time has never forgotten. Pictures don't do it justice' They're quite similar to the pyramids, making you scratch your head as you wonder just how the structure is the way it is and why it seems to stand up so easily.
It's also ridiculously green for being such a popular attraction. Over a million people visit every year. You won't find an attraction that takes as much care in preserving the nature surrounding it.
I mean what is there apart from some stones?
Think of the stones is the symbol of a way of life that can't easily be traced. Visiting Stonehenge is like walking in to an outdoors museum. You can take an audio tour of the area and find out why what seems like a normal field is evidence of how man lived from the middle of the Stone Age right through to the Bronze Age; that's 7000 years of history all within a few square feet.
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Is It Worth My Time?
And my money?
Yes. This isn't like visiting any regular museum. You're outside in an actual historical site, looking at the same panoramic views that the inhabitants were looking at thousands of years ago (minus the tour bus parked down the road of course). It only costs Â£8 ($13) to visit any time of day. The best time to go is around sunset. It adds a sense of wonder to the experience.
Because of its remoteness, it is also a great oppurtunity to spend some time in rural England. It makes a hell of a difference from hopping around the usual tourist sites you'll be shuffling around London to look at.
And if you want to get a feel for a slice of English, spend a night at a nearby town like Bath or Bristol. Stonehenge is closer to the east coast, than the west (where London is).
How Should I See It?
Are there any tours that are worth it?
Taking a tour is the best way to see Stonehenge and the surrounding area. There are various sites away from stonehenge that cover thousands of years of history. The only way to see them is with an experienced guide who knows the right route to take.
You can see other stone formations that are just as old as Stonehenge, if not so famous, and some weird and wonderful sites that have an English sense of humour. One of the most famous country tour spots is the Cherill Horse. It's a white painting of a horse that's been etched in to the side of a small hill for 300 years.
There's even the chance to soak in a taste of quaint village life with a visit to Lacock. It's a small village that is completely covered as a National Trust Site. Usually this privilege is reserved to just a single building. Its also a location that's been used as locations in Harry Potter movies, so there's a taste of Hollywood in such a quaint little place.
The best tours are those that are close by. In the city of Bath, you can make a day of it with Mad Max Tours. Its better to choose a tour guide that is close by. A tour from London will just see spend an entire day on a bus going to and from the site with no time in between to really explore the area.
What A Tour Looks Like
Taking a tour of some very historic sites in the countryside.