Stonehenge. I have wanted to visit the standing stones since I first learned about them as a child – I was always interested in learning about paganism and Arthurian legends and the like, and Stonehenge seems to pop up in reference to these all the time. While we know that the Stones are so much older than either of those things, the mysticism and magic surrounding it are still something incredibly special.
A few years back, before we had X, we drove up to the Stones with my Grandparents who don’t live very far away from them in Wiltshire. It seemed incredibly expensive to get near them when there wasn’t much else there, so we peered at them through the fence at the edge of the road opposite the customer centre.
Nowadays though, you can’t drive anywhere near them – in fact, to get from the brand new Information Centre you either have a heck of a walk across Salisbury Plain, or a shuttle bus to catch! And the road we stood on before no longer exists.
We chose to walk there – it was a lovely walk, we could have stuck to the road which has a pavement marked out, but we decided to take the scenic route. Realistically, it was probably a bit far (and a bit hot) for X, but he did really well, and if you have the time I would definitely recommend it.
It was INSANELY busy – not helped by people deciding to go the “wrong way” around the stones so they could get close to them right at the start of their walk. I’ll be honest, a lot of the “magic” was lost for me as I was being bustled about by the crowds, or one particular idiot jumping the ropes to stand on the stones! (X having a total meltdown half the way around didn’t help either…) It wasn’t until we’d got off the designated path and round to the “far side” of the stones from the entrance that I took it all in.
They are magnificent. I think I could have sat there looking at them for hours – I would really like to go back at Dusk if I ever get the chance. X is probably a bit too young for it, looking back. He got very grumpy on the walk, and was annoyed that he couldn’t get up close and personal with stones – not to mention that he had forgotten to bring Grand Master Glitch to kick them over like Dominoes (thanks Go Jetters). Thankfully, I had brought some food along with us, and a few cocktail sausages as an improv picnic in view of the stones seemed to bring him out of his doldrums and we was soon snapping away with his camera and posing for pictures for me!
We were short for time by the time we got back to the Information Centre (on the bus this time), so we didn’t get chance to have a look at the Neolithic houses they have built on site, but that’s the first thing on our list for next time.
Stonehenge is free to visit with English Heritage or National Trust Membership, or tickets are £16.50 for adults, £9.90 for children aged 5-15, and a family ticket is £42.90 (not including Gift Aid). If you know what time you are going, book in advance – the queue for on the day tickets was enormous, whereas we collected our tickets in about 2 minutes. The book is also well worth the £5 we spent on it, with loads of information about the site and the archaeology that’s taken place over the years.
We had a lovely day out, and we’re looking forward to getting the chance to go back soon!