The awe-inspiring stone circle of Avebury, a few miles north of Stonehenge, is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, and rightly so, but unlike its more famous neighbour, Stonehenge, is unfenced. On this walking tour of the site, you will be able to wander freely among the stones.

Unique to this guided tour is the sense of being in an ancient and sacred place; the combination of the natural and historic sights is simply spectacular.

The Story of Avebury: (10,000 years in 60 minutes) Explore the amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site of Avebury – home of the largest stone circle in Britain – in the company of an author and Megalithic academic.

In this low-level walking tour we’ll delve into Deep Time to explore the amazing history of Avebury. Meeting at the main car-park you’ll be guided around the Avebury site by a lecturer, author and storyteller, who will bring alive the epic sweep of Prehistory in situ. The walk will circumnavigate the main circle of the stones, and will be divided into four sections:

PART 1: A LINE IN THE CHALK
We explore the first quarter of the Avebury circle, and delve 10,000 years into the past, as we look at the earliest activity in the area from the Mesolithic period (8500-4500 BCE). We’ll hunt and gather the evidence of the earliest human activity in the area, and spend time up-close-and-personal with the standing stones – a chance to tune into their energy and connect to ancient history if you wish!

Incredible trees once visited by The Lord of the Rings author, JRR Tolkien

PART 2:  ROLL OUT THE BARROW
We explore the second, most dramatic, quarter of the Avebury circle – with the most iconic megaliths, the mysterious obelisk, and the Goddess and Altar stones, plus the amazing beech grove with its offerings (a chance to spend a moment meditating within these incredible trees once visited by The Lord of the Rings author, JRR Tolkien). We explore the key period for the construction of Avebury (Neolithic 4500-2500 BCE), when the massive henge was created and the mighty sarsen stones transported and erected. We’ll also look at the Bronze Age (2500-800 BCE), when we start to see Round Barrows appear in the surrounding landscape.

PART 3: STONE-SMASHERS & ANTIQUARIANS
We move onto the picturesque third quarter of the Avebury circle, with its charming thatched barns – and the iconic Cove pair of stones. Here you’ll learn about the destructive Middle Ages – when there was a spate of stone-smashing, which ended disastrously! And then we’ll galloped ahead into the Early Modern Period, where we’ll meet the gentlemen antiquarians who first ‘discovered’ and surveyed the Avebury monument. We’ll learn of their fanciful theories, and you can decide how wide of the mark they were!

Avebury is a Neolithic henge monument containing three stone circles, around the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, in southwest England. One of the best known prehistoric sites in Britain, it contains the largest megalithic stone circle in the world

PART 4: MR MARMALADE SAVES THE DAY
In the fourth quarter of the Avebury circle, we’ll bring the story up-to-date, from the Late Victorian to the Present Day. Weaving amongst the stone you’ll learn how the son of a ‘marmalade magnate’ saved the stones and radically transformed the village of Avebury – preserving it for future generations. You’ll be shown the picturesque National Trust section, with the Alexander Keiller Museum (entry not included), gift shop and tea rooms. Here we’ll end the tour, unless you wish to continue chatting over refreshments!

This walk is not about covering lots of distance, but about zooming in on the details – things that may easily be missed by the casual visitor. Each magnificent megalith will be observed up-close, and time will be allowed for connecting with the stones and for photo-opportunities.

*There will be an option afterwards for refreshments either at the National Trust tea rooms or The Red Lion. A village shop also sells snacks and drinks.

Activity: light. Slopes/steps. Suitable footwear recommended.
Duration: 90 minutes (including introductions and collection from car-park).

Book this walking tour and view other all of our other Stone Circle Tours

This can easily be combined with a walking tour of Stonehenge and transport can be provided.

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Avebury Stone Circle rivals – some would say exceeds – Stonehenge as the largest, most impressive and complex prehistoric site in Britain. 

Built and altered over many centuries from about 2850 BC to 2200 BC, it now appears as a huge circular bank and ditch, enclosing an area of 281 ⁄2 acres (111 ⁄2 hectares), including part of Avebury village.Within this ‘henge’ ditch is an inner circle of great standing stones, enclosing two more stone circles, each with a central feature.

Avebury Stone Circle Tours

The site’s present appearance owes much to the marmalade heir Alexander Keiller, who excavated and re-erected many stones during the 1930s, and whose archaeological collections are displayed in the nearby museum. Many stones had been broken or buried in medieval and later times, one crushing its destroyer as it fell.

Avebury is part of a wider complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments, with many other ritual sites in English Heritage care. West Kennet Avenue joined it to The Sanctuary, and another stone avenue connected it with Beckhampton. West Kennet Long Barrow and Windmill Hill are also nearby, as is the huge and mysterious Silbury Hill. This extraordinary assemblage of sites seemingly formed a huge ‘sacred landscape’, whose use and purpose can still only be guessed at. Avebury and its surroundings have, with Stonehenge, achieved international recognition as a World Heritage Site.

Avebury Henge and Stone Circles are in the freehold ownership of The National Trust and in English Heritage guardianship. They are managed by The National Trust on behalf of English Heritage, and the two organisations share the cost of managing and maintaining the property.

Take a tour of Stonehenge and discover more about the neolithic man and the landscape they shaped. At Avebury, walk amongst the stones, visit the Alexander Keiller Museum to find out about the arcaeological excavations Keiller did in the 1930s and visit the Avebury Manor and Garden, nearby West Kennet Long Barrow.

Avebury Links:
The Henge Shop – a unique location in the centre of Avebury, the largest prehistoric stone circle in the world.
English HeritageAvebury Stone Circle.
Stonehenge Guided Tours: Stonehenge and Avebury Stone Circle Tours
National Trust:  Avebury Visitor Information Centre
Visit Wiltshire:
Official Wiltshire Tourism Authority

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Stonehenge Stone Circle Tour Guide