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The history of Stonehenge is shrouded in mystery and the theories to the site's origins and purpose are as numerous as they are fanciful. Many are convinced it was built by aliens! Here are 5 hard facts about the world's most famous prehistoric monument.
Stonehenge was built in several stages. Radiocarbon dating estimates that the first constructions occurred over 5000 years ago, several centuries before the Pyramids.
Many functions have been attributed to Stonehenge. One that's been confirmed is its use as a prehistoric burial ground – discovered cremated remains date back as far as 3000 B.C.
Despite its age, the fact that Stonehenge is aligned with the trajectory of the setting and rising sun gives evidence to a very advanced understanding of mathematics and geometry.
The larger stones are up to 9 meters tall and weigh around 20 tons. These were transported over 20 miles. The smaller stones, weighing 3 to 4 tons, were transported over 150 miles!
After researching the site in the late 19th century, Charles Darwin concluded that earthworms were the main reason why the Stonehenge stones have sunk into the ground.
To make the most of your time at Stonehenge and learn all about the history and the many theories surrounding the site, make sure to grab one of the audio guides, which are available for free on site. Or even better, to avoid queuing for the audio guide, you can download it for free online and listen to it on your own portable music device.
About 13 kilometers from Stonehenge is Salisbury, a picturesque medieval city with a gorgeous cathedral. Once you've come all this way, it's worth adding a couple of hours to your trip and explore this lovely historic gem.
Stonehenge is a magnificent sight at any time of day, but at sunset it's quite simply magical. If you can time your visit accordingly, you won't regret it. Note that you won't be alone – Stonehenge is very popular at sunset. If a leisurly visit is more important to you, then your best bet is arriving early. The site opens to visitors at 9:30am all year except from June through August, when it opens at 9:00am.
- When should I visit?
- 9:30am-19:00. June - August opens at 9:00am.
- Is it expensive?
- Standard adult; £14.50
- Will I need a guide?
- Free audio guides are avaliable on site, or to download in advance.
- How to get there
- By Car: Off the A360 at Airman's Corner. By Bus: The Stonehenge Tour Bus is the public bus departing from Salisbury rail and bus stations.
- Additional information
- Last admission is two hours before advertised closing time.
- Advance booking is now required as entrance to Stonehenge is managed through timed tickets.
What people are saying about Stonehenge
We went to Hampton court instead of Windsor, personally I would have preferred Windsor (told in advance) but Hampton was beautifull as well with alot of interesting history. What really made the tour above and beyond was Gavin, he was personable, respectfull, knowledgeable, and knew how to think on his feat to make sure any problems that arose did not affect the tour. He was extremely professional and made the day one to remember. Make sure go get Gavin if you want to have an enjoyable time!
Rosie was an excellent guide, funny, informative and interesting. The tour went off without a hitch from the meeting place to the tickets for Stonehenge and our time in Bath. It was my fiance's 50th birthday and we both really enjoyed our day. Rosie did a great job with everything, including handling a traffic accident that delayed us by 45 minutes getting into Bath.
Our tour was fantastic with Nigel and Ben. This was tour 26 to Windsor, Stonehenge and Oxford. The tour was very well managed and very informative out only wish was that we had more time at Windsor Castle and Oxford but that was beyond our tour guides control.
We really liked Stonehenge and Avebury. Would have liked it even more with a guide on board. The audios were not available at Stonehenge so more info from a guide would have made it an even better experience . The van was great and preferable to a bus.
Good amount of time to enjoy the Stonehenge. Arriving central london before 4pm. Better to bring a warm jacket. It’s windy and cold. The driver was kind and funny :)