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Best time to visit Stonehenge from London

Declared a World Heritage Site, the megalithic monument of Stonehenge is one of those special places that should be visited sometime, although there are more propitious times than others.

Joaquín Montaño

Joaquín Montaño

9 min read

Best time to visit Stonehenge from London

Photo Of Stonehenge Historic Monument | ©Bernd Feurich

If you are going through your list of things to see and do in London there is one visit you should not miss: Stonehenge. It is one of the most magical places on the planet, in addition to its own value as a historical monument. Walking through its stone circles is definitely a unique experience.

However, it is important to take into account aspects such as the climate of the region and factors such as the large influx of people to get the most out of your visit. Photography enthusiasts should also be aware of when sunlight or shadows can make images unrepeatable. Without forgetting, of course, the great moment that Stonehenge experiences every year: the summer solstice.

1. When is the best time to visit Stonehenge from London?

Sunset at Stonehenge| ©Stonehenge Stone Circle
Sunset at Stonehenge| ©Stonehenge Stone Circle

One of the most important aspects when deciding the best time to visit Stonehenge from London is the weather. In general, to limit as much as possible that bad weather ruin your trip from London to Stonehenge it is best to visit in the summer months or, as a second option, in spring.

However, this does not preclude that autumn and winter also have their advantages when making a trip to Stonehenge from London.

The area in which it is located, in the southwest of England, makes the weather conditions are very changeable and the rains are quite frequent. To this we must add that the Neolithic monument is located in a large esplanade, with no areas for shelter other than inside the Visitor Center, a couple of kilometers from the remains.

As a general rule, regardless of the time chosen for the visit, it is important to check the weather forecast beforehand. Those who prefer to hire one of the various excursions departing from London to the monument, should also take this eventuality into account.

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2. Visiting Stonehenge from London in autumn: pros and cons

Stonehenge Autumnal Equinox| ©Stonehenge Stone Circle
Stonehenge Autumnal Equinox| ©Stonehenge Stone Circle

Although autumn in London is usually cold, it is actually rain or even snow that can spoil a trip to Stonehenge from London. In fact, on some occasions the agency that manages the monument may even close it if conditions are very bad and may pose a risk to visitors.

However, autumn also has some advantages for visitors to Stonehenge. For starters, there are usually considerably fewer visitors than in summer and there is nothing comparable to walking among the stones of the monument and the rest of what there is to see at Stonehenge without encountering crowds.

On the other hand, those lucky enough to visit Stonehenge on September 22 will be able to enjoy the autumnal equinox. Although with less fame than the summer solstice at Stonehenge, that date is another one of the dates indicated by the followers of spiritual currents to go to the monument. On that day, the day lasts as long as the night and is considered a turning of the seasons.

  • Advantages: less crowds and the possibility of experiencing the equinox there.
  • Disadvantages: the possibility of rain and wind and the early closing of the monument.

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3. Visiting Stonehenge from London in winter: pros and cons

Winter at Stonehenge| ©Fred Rockwood
Winter at Stonehenge| ©Fred Rockwood

If I already warned that visiting all the attractions of Stonehenge and surroundings in autumn could be spoiled by rain, the risk increases even more if you go to London in winter.

Excursions, however, do not stop leaving from the capital, so if this is the only time you can do it you should not miss the opportunity. If you are lucky enough to have a bit of frost beforehand or a bit (just a bit) of mist, the sight of Stonehenge becomes almost phantasmagoric.

December 21 marks the winter solstice, another time when Stonehenge becomes the focal point for many people. In particular, many come to watch the sunrise to see how the sun is affecting the stone structures of the monument.

  • Advantages: as in autumn, the main advantage is the convenience of seeing the monument without crowds.
  • Disadvantages: the rain that can fall quite often and that the monument closes earlier.

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4. Visiting Stonehenge from London in spring: pros and cons

Enjoying the sun at Stonehenge| ©Michael Sutton
Enjoying the sun at Stonehenge| ©Michael Sutton

Although in spring in London the risk of rain is still high, it is one of the best times to visit Stonehenge from London, either on your own or on a tour.

For starters, the monument's opening hours are extended as daylight hours increase. Although more people are starting to come, there are still not as many visitors as in the summer months. The temperature is also more pleasant for strolling around Stonehenge or visiting some of the nearby attractions.

  • Advantages: the weather is starting to improve and the visit is more pleasant.
  • Disadvantages: there is still quite a risk of rain and more visitors are starting to arrive.

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5. Visiting Stonehenge from London in summer: pros and cons

Stonehenge sunrise| ©Pete Stanton
Stonehenge sunrise| ©Pete Stanton

If you are lucky enough to be enjoying London's monuments and London's best museums during the London summer you should not miss the opportunity to book a tour to Stonehenge or, if you prefer, make the visit on your own.

The weather tends to be much more pleasant during this time, making the visit much more enjoyable. The best, if you have the opportunity, is to go during the summer solstice, the most special day at Stonehenge.

  • Advantages: it is the best time of the year to enjoy the experience of visiting Stonehenge.
  • Disadvantages: the monument is quite crowded, especially at certain hours.

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Here is a comparison of the weather in each of the seasons in case you decide to visit Stonehenge from London.

  • Winter
  • December - March
  • High 11ºC
  • Minimum 3ºC
  • Chance of rain: very high
  • The best: few visitors to the city
  • Worst: possibility of rain
  • Spring season
  • March - June
  • High 16ºC
  • Low 6ºC
  • Chance of rain: high
  • The best: more pleasant temperatures
  • Worst: still a lot of rain
  • Summer
  • June - August
  • High 21ºC
  • Low 11ºC
  • Chance of rain: moderate
  • The best: the solstice celebration
  • Worst: crowds
  • Autumn
  • September - November
  • High 15ºC
  • Minimum 7ºC
  • Chance of rain: high
  • Best: the scenery around the monument
  • Worst thing: rough weather

Best time to visit Stonehenge from London if you want to take the best pictures

Photography at Stonehenge| ©Cajeo Zhang
Photography at Stonehenge| ©Cajeo Zhang

As with all kinds of photography, the best times to visit Stonehenge with that intention are the early morning or pre-sunset hours. Keep in mind that, if you are one of those travelers who always have your camera (or cell phone) handy so as not to miss a great photo opportunity, there is no doubt that Stonehenge can be a paradise.

In case you have booked a tour to Stonehenge from London you may arrive a few hours after sunrise, but the amount of light in the area will not be too much for the photographs to appear too contrasted or with burnt parts.

Each time of the year has its own characteristics for taking great photographs. A good example is the atmosphere on some winter days, when there is a bit of haze or light filtering through the clouds.

If you have decided to travel from London to Stonehenge in your own vehicle you can also try to capture images of the sunset, although you will need a tripod (and put it outside the complex) to come out well.

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Best dates to visit Stonehenge from London

During the Summer Solstice| ©Lukas Large
During the Summer Solstice| ©Lukas Large

As I have already pointed out when analyzing the different seasons of the year, Stonehenge experiences several special days each season: the summer and winter solstices and the autumnal equinox.

Although for some years they have been trying to control the influx of public, that day is a magnet for many followers of new age beliefs or druidism. If you are lucky enough to be there, you will not only enjoy the sunset or sunrise at the monument, but also the costumes of many of those present and the ceremonies they perform.

In case you can not go on those special dates, English Heritage is broadcasting live online the highlights of the solstice and equinox, but if you are in London I highly recommend that you hire a tour to enjoy that day.

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Best time to visit Stonehenge from London and enter the inner stone circle

Touring the Circle| ©arif ubayy
Touring the Circle| ©arif ubayy

Although it is not usual, there is the possibility of hiring a special activity to enter the inner circle of the monument and here I explain the details. As long as the excursions have available dates, you can do this activity at any time.

Many of those planning to visit Stonehenge from London may not know exactly what they will see beyond the iconic image that appears everywhere.

For starters, it should be known that for several years now it has not been possible to enter the inner stone perimeter. This decision was taken to protect the monument, which came to be threatened by the large influx of public and vandalism.

This rule, as I have mentioned, has an important exception: a special access outside normal visiting hours. To walk through the stone circle it is essential to hire an organized tour that includes it, although you can also try to get permission independently. However, groups are limited to 30 people.

The companies that organize the excursions know in advance the times when these special visits are allowed. If you manage to do it on your own on the English Heritage website, be sure to check the special schedule to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

Best time to visit Stonehenge from London to see Stonehenge in low crowds

Sheltered People at Stonehenge| ©Stonehenge Stone Circle
Sheltered People at Stonehenge| ©Stonehenge Stone Circle

If you're trying to avoid the crowds, the best times to visit Stonehenge are in the cooler months. Whether on your own or on an organized tour, if the weather is kind to you, you'll have a unique experience walking around Stonehenge in a calm and relaxed manner.

Likewise, there are also differences in the number of visitors depending on the day of the week. Normally, weekends tend to attract more people, as opposed to Monday through Wednesday.

In a normal year, Stonehenge can receive up to one million visitors, concentrated mainly in the months when the weather is good. Although the visit is still worthwhile, there is no doubt that the experience changes a lot when you can see the complex without crowds.

Best time to visit Stonehenge from London and save time

Visiting Stonehenge with the Guided Tour| ©Bryony Elena
Visiting Stonehenge with the Guided Tour| ©Bryony Elena

Actually, there is no exact time in the year to make the visit saving that time, but there is a way to do it: the organized tours from London. One of its advantages is, precisely, that they depart throughout the year, so it will always be an option at your disposal.

It is not strange that, when visiting a city with as many activities as London, we all try to save time to enjoy as many as possible.

In addition, many of these tours combine a visit to Stonehenge with a visit to other nearby attractions, such as a visit to the wonderful city of Bath from London. To further enhance this time saving, the return to London is in plenty of time to see, for example, some of London's best musicals.

Best time to visit Stonehenge from London to see the surrounding area

Touring Bath| ©Pedro Szekely
Touring Bath| ©Pedro Szekely

In principle, any time is a good time to visit Stonehenge and take the opportunity to see the area around Stonehenge. The area is full of archaeological remains and religious buildings worth seeing.

If one had to choose a time to make these visits, late spring and early summer would be best. Although there is certainly still the possibility of rain, that time of year is perfect for enjoying the tourist attractions without too many crowds and with a mild climate.

One of the most interesting options for these visits are the aforementioned organized tours. In addition to Stonehenge, you will find some that include Bath, Windsor Castle, Salisbury or even Oxford, where in spring you can still see its typical university atmosphere.

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