english heritage

The experience of visiting Stonehenge has been transformed and greatly improved.  The time it takes to visit Stonehenge and the new visitor centre is also much longer, at around 2 hours which is at least twice as long as previous years.

The reason for this radical change is the building of a brand new visitor centre where you start your visit just over 1 mile from the Stonehenge monument. Before you parked adjacent to Stonehenge and walked directly into the monument using the old tunnel.new-stonehenge-visitor-centre

For such a visited monument, facilities before 2014 were an embarrassment. Just a small gift shop far too small for the numbers visiting, turnstiles and toilets in portable buildings and no exhibition or educational facilities. An audio guide provided was your only way of making sense of what you saw before you.
It is now possible to download the Stonehenge Audio Guide in advance: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stonehenge-audio-tour/id771690237?mt=8

The old facilities and car parks have been demolished and grassed over. The new English Heritage visitor centre is a purpose built structure with topical exhibits and facilities so you can be orientated on what Stonehenge is all about and information about the Neolithic people that built Stonehenge and discoveries in the Wiltshire area

To get to Stonehenge itself you now take a small shuttle Land Rover ‘train’  for the 10 minute journey to the Stones themselves

Stonehenge Entrance Prices & Opening Times

From February 1st 2014 you  have to pre-purchase tickets in advance from Stonehenge.

Advance booking is the only way to guarantee entry on the day and at the time of your choice.
Please visit the English Heritage website to book advance tickets: Stonehenge Official Ticketing Facility
English Heritage Members MUST also book in advance using the same link.

The reason for this is that you need to book your timed slot on the shuttle between the visitor centre and Stonehenge.
(Last admission time is 2 hours before the advertised closing time)

Please visit the new English Heritage Stonehenge website for 2014 prices and opening times: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/prices-and-opening-times

Stonehenge Special Access Visits

During normal opening hours you cannot walk up to the stones.  The nearest you will get to the stones is about 15 yards, the monument is roped off by a low barrier.

However it is possible to walk up to and among the stones at Stonehenge outside public opening hours. These are called Special Access visits. During these sessions of one hour duration, only a handful of people are allowed into Stonehenge going beyond the barriers and walking amongst the stones.

The Special Access Visits are also immensely popular, demand far outstrips supply and they are often sold out many months in advance.
Please visit our Stonehenge Private Access Tour page or the English Heritage Special Access page

Private guided Stonehenge access tours from London, Bath or Salisbury can sometimes be arranged for families and small groups.

Scheduled Stonehenge coach tours from London have pre-booked  tickets and enjoy priority ‘fast track’ entrance

Stonehenge Tour Guide


Work on the new visitor centre at Stonehenge is ‘progressing well’, according to English Heritage.

The new facility, set back from the famous stones, will feature two pods housing exhibitions, a dedicated education space, a bigger shop and cafe. When open it will be able to cater for 500 visitors.

visitor-centre-2The centre is part of a £27 million pound project almost entirely funded by English Heritage, and will be open to the public by the end of the year.

Plans for a new visitors area were first mooted over 20 years ago, when the current facilities – built in 1968 as a temporary measure – were branded a national disgrace. The current project has also faced difficulty – with the coalition withdrawing funding in 2010.

The new facility was designed by architectural firm Denton Corker Marshall and is being built by Vinci Construction.
Loraine Knowles is Stonehenge Director for English Heritage, she told Spire FM:

“I’m absolutely thrilled, because when you’ve worked four years on a project, to actually see it start, and to see the construction underway is thrilling, and it’s a tribute to all the hardwork people have put in.”

David Andrews, Chief Executive for Visit Wiltshire, told Spire FM how it might boost tourism in Wiltshire:

“What happens now of course is that lots of people come to Stonehenge for 20 minutes, and they jump off the coach, they take their photo, they zip down to Bath and they’ve gone. They’re not spending any money in Wiltshire.”

“This means people will have to stay here longer, they’ll be thinking maybe I have to stay here overnight. So I think this is going to have a big impact in terms of people staying overnight in Wiltshire, coming back to Wiltshire, and of course, spending money in Wiltshire.”

Link source: http://www.spirefm.co.uk

Stonehenge News

Work on a multimillion-pound visitor centre at Stonehenge is progressing well, English Heritage has said.

The £27m scheme, which includes grassing over the road alongside the ancient monument, is due to be complete by the end of the year.

Car and coach parks have been laid out and the visitor centre’s roof is ready to be installed, the charity said.

Stonehenge director Loraine Knowles said the building was “just one aspect in transforming” the site.

Work on the new galleries and facilities, being built about a mile-and-a-half (2.4 km) west of the stones, began in July.

Two “single-storey pods” covered by a canopy roof are being built to house an exhibition and education space, cafe, shop and toilets.

A section of the A344, which runs next to the World Heritage Site, is due to be closed at the end of June and grassed over.

The remainder of the A-road will be closed to traffic in late 2013, to allow a shuttle to operate between the visitor centre and the stones.

‘Uplifting experience’

“The way in which people visit Stonehenge in the future will change,” said Ms Knowles.

The new visitor building for Stonehenge​ The visitor centre is expected to open in late 2013

“The construction of the visitor building is just one aspect in transforming what is widely agreed to be an unsatisfactory tourist and cultural experience.

“We will be uplifting the whole experience to a level that befits this extraordinary and important monument, not just upgrading the visitor facilities, important though those are.”

Stonehenge, constructed between 3,000 BC and 1,600 BC, is thought to have been used for a variety of religious ceremonies.

It attracts around 900,000 visitors a year – about 70% come from abroad.

Full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-21499114

Stonehenge News


Tours from Antiquity have released a new Archaelogy Tour for 2013.

The ultimate weekend excursion from London. Offering the best of British in a relaxed and well-paced holiday.
Some of the most imposing architecture and mysterious ancient monuments in the world, certainly within the United Kingdom. These sites coupled with the beautiful Wiltshire and Oxfordshire countryside offer the participants of this holiday a special and unique experience.

Special Access to the Stonehenge Circle.

STONEHENGE, PREHISTORIC WESSEX, BATH AND THE COTWOLDSStonehenge, Prehistoric Wessex, Bath and the Cotswolds tour introduces our guests to some of the most imposing architecture and mysterious ancient monuments in the world, certainly within the United Kingdom. These sites coupled with the beautiful Wiltshire and Oxfordshire countryside offer the participants of this holiday a special and unique experience. Our holiday is original, imaginative, well-paced and carefully balanced. Knowledge of the subject matter provided by our archaeologist and the destinations combine with detailed attention to practical matters, ensure an enriching and smooth-running experience. Coupled with the archaeology, TFA holidays offer our participants immersion into the English countryside, focussing on local tradition, culture, archaeology, heritage, landscapes and food and drink.

6-8 September 2013
From London we start our tour with the ancient rolling downlands Oxfordshire and a visit to the internationally-renowned Bronze Age Uffington White Horse, situated within a unique complex of ancient monuments.

Our afternoon is spent enjoying two of Englands most picturesque villages, Lacock and Castle Combe. Lacock has been used as a background film set for films including Harry Potter and Castle Combe is regarded by many as the prettiest village in England.

We start the morning at the Avebury World Heritage Landscape. We visit Silbury Hill, the largest man-made hill in prehistoric Europe. We enter the 5500 year old burial chamber of West Kennet Long Barrow, entering a sacred space originally reserved only for ritual specialists and the dead. After which we visit the largest stone circle in Europe at Avebury, with its beautiful medieval village situated inside. As John Aubrey in the 1600’s notes [Avebury]…”does as much exceed in greatness the so renowned Stonehenge as a Cathedral doeth a parish church.”

Lunch is spent in Salisbury where we enjoy the splendour of Salisbury Cathedral.

The afternoon is spent exploring landscape directly surrounding Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain. We start by visiting Durrington Walls ‘Stonehenge builder’s village’ and Woodhenge, we then walk over the ridge visiting several burial mounds, Stonehenge Cursus and finally the Stonehenge Avenue. The day is finish with a private access visit to Stonehenge, an opportunity limited to a handful of visitors, were our archaeologist will delve into understanding this enigmatic and ancient monument.

We start our visit to the centre of Bath with a walking tour of the most impressive examples of architecture Bath has to offer, visiting the Assembly Rooms, Royal Circus and Royal Crescent.

Our guest then enjoy admission to the famous Roman Baths, the site of the only thermal springs in Britian. After you enjoy the splendour of the Baths, you are given amble ‘own time’ to explore the remainder of this city at your own pace.

Finishing the day with a visit to the National Trusts, Prior Park; with its beautiful views of the city-scape of Bath. From here we head back towards London.

Visit their website: http://www.toursfromantiquity.com

Wiltshire Tour Guide



This computer-generated image just released by English Heritage gives an impression of the superb facilities which will welcome groups arriving at Stonehenge when its new visitor centre opens late next year.

stonehenge-visitor-centreThe dedicated coach park to the right of the picture will have spaces for 30 vehicles and there is an optional drop off bay in front of the coach reception building – where pre-printed tickets will be available for collection.

Groups will walk the short distance from the coach park to the new visitor centre shown on the left of the image, which will contain:

imaginative museum-quality exhibition galleries

a 114-cover café, with outdoor seating for 60 under a canopy and room to expand by a further 70 seats during the summer peak

expanded retail space that is over four times larger than the existing shop

ample toilets, including disabled toilets

Just outside, groups will hop on to the transit service for the 2km journey from the visitor centre, to the Stone Circle. Able to accommodate 900 passengers every hour, the transit stops once during the 10 minute drive to the Stones, so that passengers can walk a part of the way if they wish.

On arrival at the Stone Circle, they will enjoy a much quieter and greener experience – central to the exciting project being led by English Heritage is the removal of modern clutter next to the monument. This includes the closure of the A344 – which currently runs right past the monument, almost touching the Heel Stone – the removal of ugly high fencing and the existing outdated visitor buildings and car park nearby and the reinstatement of a grassy landscape. Restoration of the landscape is due for completion in summer 2014.

English Heritage is recommending that tour operators and GTOs plan in a dwell time of at least two hours for groups to fully appreciate and enjoy the enhanced experience Stonehenge will offer from late 2013. A pre-booked timed ticketing system will ensure that queues are kept to a minimum.

Construction work began on the new visitor centre in July and while the new facilities are being built, it is business as usual at Stonehenge with group visits unaffected. Popular Stone Circle Access visits – outside normal opening hours – are also unaffected and may be pre-booked.

From late Spring 2013, coaches approaching Stonehenge will be re-routed to the existing parking and visitor facilities, when the A303/A344 junction closes at Stonehenge Bottom so that work can start on de-commissioning the road. Coach drivers should look out for the diversion signs and a little extra time should be planned in to itineraries to take account of the slightly longer arrival and departure routes.

Travel trade clients booking visits to Stonehenge in the future will enjoy the same generous group discounts as now (10% discount for 11 or more people, with a free place for a driver and group leader), as well as a dedicated phone line for bookings/information and dedicated website pages.

Full Article and other Wiltshire news:  http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk

When completed, the new visitor centre will make it possible for the first time to present the fascinating story of Stonehenge on site. The archaeological gallery will feature important objects on loan from local museums and outside will be three Neolithic houses, recreated using extremely rare evidence of domestic buildings from prehistoric England recently unearthed near Stonehenge.

Watch the Video here: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/our-plans/our-proposals/

Stonehenge Guided Tours – www.StonehengeTours.com


Today (September 30th) is the last day of the season for Stonehenge inner circle tours (see below)

Due to conservation reason English Heritage, quite rightly, do not allow people to enter the Stones before or after the monument is closed  to the public.  Private access resumes in December and throughout 2013.  These are very popular tours and demand far exceeds availability. They must be booked well in advance!Stonehenge private viewing

Stonehenge is open as usual during normal opening hours:

1 September – 15 October 2012 Daily 9.30 – 18.00 

16 October 2012 – 15 March 2013 Daily 9.30 – 16.00 

We continue operate daily tours of Stonehenge from London that include a regular visit to Stonehenge.  A regular visit allows you to get within 30 feet of the stones.

(Stone Circle Access visits take place outside the normal opening times at Stonehenge, and are very early in the morning or late in the evening, and are not offered during the normal opening times.)

What is meant by conservation?
Is it protecting the site, maintaining the site, enhancing the site or keeping it exactly as it is?
Conservation is the process of managing change to a significant place in its setting in ways that will best sustain its heritage values, while recognising opportunities to reveal or reinforce those values for present and future generations (Conservation Principles, Policies and Guidance for the sustainable management of the Historic Environment. English Heritage 2008). The Stonehenge World Heritage Site Management Plan 2009 is the main document which sets out the overarching strategy for protecting the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. Other agencies such as the National Trust and the RSPB also have similar plans

Link: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/education/resources/stonehenge/conservation-research/interview/
Link: http://www.pitchcare.com/magazine/managing-the-grass-areas-at-stonehenge.html
ink: http://www.stonehengetours.com

Stonehenge Guided Tours


The summer solstice as celebrated at Stonehenge is a night and dawn of peace, love and quality loon-spotting opportunities.
Neo-druids, pagans and general New Age types don their glad rags (and, in some cases, fake beards) to watch the sun rise on this long day of summer. All-night celebrations help revellers stay awake until dawn.

Stonehenge Summer SolsticeWhy: An important date for pagans, the summer solstice festival dates back thousands of years. It celebrates the longest day of the year, when the sun is at its maximum elevation. About 20,000 people flock to prehistoric Stonehenge to see it in as atmospherically as possible each year.

Do it because: It’s one of the few opportunities to get close to the stones, as English Heritage provides open access especially for the occasion. Be aware that only small amounts of booze are permitted per person and that camping is not allowed.

SOURCE: TNT MAGAZINE – http://www.tntmagazine.com/travel/top-guides/peace-love-and-paganism-celebrate-the-summer-solstice-at-stonehenge

Solstice Tour: http://www.stonehengetours.com/summer-solstice-tour.htm

The Stonehenge Tour Company – www.StonehengeTours.com


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