Stonehenge – The Stone Circle Experience

Stonehenge – one of the oldest and most mysterious sites in the world. Built around 5,000 years ago (that’s 2,500 years older than the Colosseum and The Parthenon and 4,500 years older than Machu Picchu and Versailles), no-one knows for sure what they were for. One thing is for sure though, if you’re in England, then visiting Stonehenge is a must – and I’ve got a super special way of doing it.


The public can visit Stonehenge during opening hours, but can only walk around the outskirts of the stones from a distance of around 20 metres. It means you can’t get close to the stones, let alone inside them. However, there is a way to do this, by booking on to a Stone Circle tour before or after hours for sunrise or sunset. Booking on to this tour was one of the best things I’ve done – it was such a special, magical experience and I recommend it to anyone visiting.

Stonehenge from inside the perimeter

I booked on to a sunset tour, which ran from 5-6pm. The visitor centre closes at 5pm, but you’re allowed to arrive from 4pm to visit the onsite museum. There are some interesting boards to read about the history of the site, including information about how the stones got there and what they were for (more on that later). There are also then some model houses which show what the houses of the time would have been like, a lovely big shop and a cafe.

Replica huts

The star of the show though, obviously, is the stones themselves. A shuttle bus picks you up ahead of the tour and takes you up to the stones with a guide. After a brief history, you’re then free to roam through the stones, round the stones, as close as you want – all with the guide there to ask questions if you want to.

The stones you see today date back to 2,500 BC. Prior to this, there is evidence of a circular ditch being built 500 years earlier, within which numerous remains have been found making it the largest Neolithic cemetery in Britain. There are two types of stones used – the larger ‘sarsens’ and the smaller ‘bluestones’. The bluestones were transported from Wales (no-one is sure exactly of how), and the sarsens are local Wiltshire stone.

No-one knows what the purpose of Stonehenge was. What is for sure is that the sarsen stones, put up in at the centre of the site, were carefully aligned to line up with the movements of the sun. If you were to stand in the middle of the stone circle on midsummer’s day, the sun rises on one side through the centre of the stones. And on midwinter’s day, the sun would originally have set between the opposite sarsens.

The whole layout of Stonehenge is therefore positioned in relation to the solstices, or the extreme limits of the sun’s movement. The solstice axis is also marked by the specific stones which are positioned in a rectangle on the edge of the surrounding circular ditch. What this means, historians aren’t sure – could it be a Neolithic calendar? A solar monument complex? An early computer?

As the sun sets

Ultimately we will never know – and part of the life in these stones is the intrigue, the guessing, the mystery. Though if you ask me… anyone who has lived through an English winter can see the point of building Stonehenge to try and work out when the sun will be back.

Proof I was there!

So, what do you think? Is this an ancient magical site worth a visit or just a load of old stones? Let me know in the comments below, and as always – stay safe and happy travelling!

47 Comments

    1. Oh that road alongside is always backlogged isn’t it, and to be honest gives a pretty good view (almost as good as from the perimeter now in force). It’s such an incredible experience to get closer to the stones though. Thanks for reading Marion 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Stonehenge has always been on my list of places to see. How great that they offer a more up close tour of it! I’m going to file that away to remember for when I make it there…although it will be a struggle to decide if I should do the sunrise or sunset tour. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh yes it’s definitely worth a visit, and I think the experience is so much better getting close to the stones. I don’t think you can make a bad choice with sunrise or sunset – we weren’t that lucky with the weather and it didn’t matter 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I never get tired of seeing photo’s of Stonehenge! But I’ve never seen it like what you’ve shown here in your post – quite amazing! And I had to smile when you mentioned that Stonehenge is a definite bonus to show when the sun is going to shine in the UK 😁.
    Lovely post Hannah – thanks for the sunset tour!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks like another wonderful attraction, Hannah. I’ve always been intrigued by the mystery of Stonehenge, including how such large stones came to be in this location. Thank for sharing your visit and photos 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Enjoyed reading your post and seeing the photos brought back memories of my three visits there
    – in 1977 (alone – in those days you could walk around unrestricted), in 1984 (on our backpacking honeymoon of Europe & the UK), and in 2008 (with our youngest son).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow, that’s amazing you’ve been 3 times. Things have changed so much from the 70s with people being able to walk around the stones and touch them. It’s just not possible any more, which is a shame but is also good for the stones’ preservation. Sounds like you’ve had a lot of adventures in England 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you enjoyed it Diana, thanks for reading! And yes for sure the tour is worth it – people turn up and think they will be able to get close to the stones, but the perimeter really is quite far away and very underwhelming so I highly recommend the tour. I know, it will always be a mystery!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful photos of this site! I remember visiting back in the early 80’s and there were no ropes at all for anyone that visited…so sad to hear that they have obviously had to stop this. Glad you got to see them up close though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you enjoyed it Linda. it’s amazing that you used to be able to visit and not have any restrictions. It’s really sad they’ve had to stop it, but I think also for the preservation of the stones as quite a few eroded over time. Yeah it’s so cool seeing them up close isn’t it! Thanks for reading and have a great day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I visited Stonehenge as a kid. We were able to go right to the stones and even sit on them! I’d love to see then again though even from a distance. Even though I didn’t really know anything about them it’s one of my favourite memories from that trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m very impressed you got so close to Stonehenge! Due to the ground being so unstable nearby, it’s no wonder that most visitors are forbidden from getting near the stones. Personally, my experience visiting Stonehenge in 2015 was a huge disappointment, as I just did a general visit and was well far away from the stones themselves. It’s incredible just how close you are to Stonehenge really makes or breaks your experience!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah and I think there had been a lot of damage to the stones over the years from people touching them so it makes sense that they fenced it all off. Oh wow, I’m so sorry to hear your visit was so underwhelming; but I do agree, if I’d just done the perimeter walk I’d have wondered what all the fuss was about! Thanks for reading Rebecca and have a nice day 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Great work Han. I have never been to Stonehenge, but am forever hearing people say it is overrated, small, not much to see etc. Glad to read a more positive report. The photos are wonderful and you seem to have been blessed with that sky.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Leighton! Oh yes I’d heard that many times, and to be honest if I’d have just done the perimeter walk from far away, and done the museum it would have been underwhelming and taken all of about an hour max. But the tour was special, there were only about 10 of us on it and it meant learning a lot about it from the guide, plus getting so close to the stones with noone else there was wonderful. We didn’t get a glorious sunset but it was still a nice sky 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Wow, what an amazing place to visit. I’ve never been to the ancient site, but I have always been spellbound by it, but then again – I do occasionally enjoy history though, so that, of course, helps. When you think of it – Stonehenge is old enough and mysterious enough to be one of the wonders of the world, and it’s amazing that we’ll probably never going to know exactly what its absolute purpose was so it’s something that will keep experts and history buffs going for a long time! Thanks for sharing, and have a nice day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That’s great intel! I visited Stonehenge several years ago on one of our visits to England and I think it’s worth a visit given its age and the amazing ingenuity it took for them to build it, but if I ever found myself in that neck of the wood again I would definitely do that sunset (or rather, sunrise) tour. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. How interesting… I didn’t know there were tours that would let you get right up next to the stones. A friend who grew up in Nottingham told me that, when she was young, she could just lean up against a stone and read and no one else would be around. When I went, it was quite the tourist crowd.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it’s great they do them, otherwise the view from the perimeter is really far away. I’ve heard that too!!! I think until about the 1990s it was just open for anyone to visit and you could touch the stones etc. I’m sad to lose that interaction with them, but also understand it’s probably better for preservation. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Amazing post! I visited Stonehenge when I was very young and I remember being a bit disappointed at it ahaha 😅 Now I really want to go back again as all of these mysteries really interest me and I just think it is so amazing that people did that such a long time ago, when they didn’t have all the knowledge we have now (or maybe they did?)… Thanks for sharing, I’m sure the sunset visit was beautiful! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I’ve heard loads of people have been super disappointed – maybe I was just lucky getting so close to it 🙂 It’s crazy isn’t it to think they built it so long ago, it’s amazing really. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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