Ancient Stonehenge monument under clear blue sky.
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Stonehenge: A Druidic Day Trip from the Cotswolds

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This past June, I traveled to Stonehenge for a day trip from the Cotswolds on a chartered coach bus with my friend’s wedding party. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, two miles (3 km) west of Amesbury. That’s about an hour and 45 minutes west of London, so perfect if you’re looking to get out of the city. As one of the most notable landmarks of England, it was a must on my travel bucket list! Below, you’ll find out how to get there (without a privately chartered coach bus), how the Stones were made, what it’s like during the summer solstice, how to get your Stonehenge tickets at a discount, and more!

Stonehenge

How to Get to Stonehenge

As I took a coach bus from the Cotswolds to Stonehenge, I’ll let you know how to get there even if you’re not coming from the Cotswolds. However, if you are doing the Cotswolds to Stonehenge route, it’s about an hour and a half. Though that, of course, depends on where in the Cotswolds, I came from Stow-on-the-Wold.

By Car: Parking is available on-site. During peak times, non-members and those who have not pre-booked their Stonehenge tickets are charged a parking fee. This cost is fully refundable when you purchase a ticket.

By Train: If you’re coming to Stonehenge by train, the nearest train station is Salisbury, which is 9.5 miles from the historical site. If you’re going to Stonehenge from London, take the train from London Waterloo to Salisbury, or jump on further down the line at Clapham Junction. It takes around one hour and 25 minutes to get from London Waterloo to Salisbury by train.

By Bus: The Stonehenge Tour Bus is a public bus departing from the Salisbury train and bus stations. For more information on this option, see Wiltshire County Council’s Connecting Wiltshire.

If none of these options appeal to you, you can, of course, find a tour company that will handle transportation, tickets, and all your needs to visit Stonehenge.

Stonehenge Tour Suggestions

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What It’s Like Visiting Stonehenge?

Upon arriving at Stonehenge, we received audio guides. You can either download the audio guide to your phone in advance for free or get the audio guide device for a small fee while you’re there. Once you’re at the visitor’s center, a bus service takes you up to the site. It frequently runs from the visitor center and takes about 10 minutes to reach Stonehenge. So, if you’re on a limited amount of time, make sure to budget time in your schedule for this additional transportation to this prehistoric stone circle.

Stonehenge Summer Solstice

Stonehenge During the Summer Solstice

We went to Stonehenge for our day trip from the Cotswolds just before the summer solstice. Since we went shortly before, some Druids were chanting around the Stones. At the start of the 20th century, Druidic groups began holding their ceremonies at the great megalithic monument. In the popular culture, Druids are closely linked with Stonehenge. Although Stonehenge predates the Iron Age and there is no evidence that Iron Age druids ever used it, many modern Druids believe that their ancient namesakes did indeed use it for their ceremonies. Druids also use many other prehistoric sites as spaces for their rituals, including the Avebury stone circle.

mortise and tenon joints

How Were The Stones Made?

Archaeologists believe it was built anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The Stones were produced by a culture that left no written records. What is known is that 30 enormous Oligocene-Miocene sarsen stones were brought to the site, possibly from a quarry, around 25 miles north of Stonehenge on the Marlborough Downs. The stones were made with mortise and tenon joints before being erected (see above). Each standing stone was around 4.1 meters (13 ft) high, 2.1 meters (6 ft 11 in) wide, and weighed approximately 25 tons.

Because the people who made Stonehenge left to written records, many aspects of the Stones remain up for debate, and several myths surround the stones.

Can You Still Touch Stonehenge?

In the past, they used to let people walk right up to the stones, but because the ground isn’t stable, they don’t let you do that anymore except occasionally for instances like the summer solstice. However, you can get pretty darn close to them!

Fun fact: Did you know they used to encourage you to take part of the Stones home with you? They’d provide you with a chisel and hammer to lop off a piece as a souvenir!

How Long Should You Spend at Stonehenge?

We were there for about two hours, which included a visit to the Stonehenge visitor center, which had even more information about the site. And of course a gift shop! I’d say that’s really enough time to see the site. If you like to take it slow, then you may be able to kick it out to three, but that’s the maximum I’d spend at Stonehenge since there isn’t much else around this area.

Stonehenge Opening Times: The last admission time is 2 hours before the advertised closing time. Check opening times on their website for which date you’re visiting Stonehenge, as they seem to change.

If you have some more time in the area, there are several wonderful places to visit in Salisbury nearby.

Stonehenge

How Much Do Stonehenge Tickets Cost?

As I mentioned before, you can get your Stonehenge tickets online before your day trip. You gain entrance to Stonehenge through timed tickets, so booking in advance is the only way to guarantee entry on the day and time of your choice. You’ll also benefit from a booking discount if you get them beforehand. Again, I’d recommend downloading their audio guide ahead of time—it’s FREE! There are also family discounts, so take advantage of them.

Itinerary Info for Stonehenge

Note: These prices are valid from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 and are for advance bookings only.

Advance Bookings:

  • Free – Members
  • £19.00 – Adults
  • £11.40 – Children (5-17 years)

Walk-Up Prices:

  • £21.10 – Adult
  • £12.70 – Child

Stonehenge to Avebury Stone Circle

After you’re done with your visit to Stonehenge, you’ll likely be looking for things to do nearby! A 35-minute drive north, you’ll find the Avebury Stone Circle! Another ancient stone circle that isn’t nearly as crowded as Stonehenge, so if you’d like a quieter and more chill experience, I highly recommend visiting.

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