A trip to Stonehenge, about 80 miles west of London, is one of the most amazing experiences you should have on a trip to England. Little is known about its origins, only that it dates back to the late Neolithic period, but the most famous prehistoric monument in Europe is wrapped in a magical halo that causes real fascination to those who have the opportunity to contemplate it.
Although you can take the train or bus to visit Stonehenge on your own, considering the distance it is from London and how difficult it is to get there by public transport, my advice is to take an organized tour to Stonehenge in a comfortable bus, which will make things easier for you and where you have the assistance of a guide to better understand the meaning of this enigmatic megalithic monument. I tell you what are the best options:
The organized tour to Stonehenge with the best price
Perfect if you want to make the most of your visit to one of the most famous monuments in England optimizing your time and in the most comfortable way possible. Includes audio guide and time to explore the site at your leisure.
I recommend 100% to make a gap during your trip to the British capital to make this full day trip to Stonehenge and see in person the most famous megalith in the world. It is an amazing place that will impress you! To make the most of the day, the tour starts early, at 7 AM. You will be able to catch the bus at two different points in the city (London Bridge Street and Harrington Gardens) to head to Stonehenge.
Ahead of you lies a two-hour drive to Salisbury Plain, a lonely, treeless, uninhabited wasteland where this ancient monument, thousands of years old, is nestled.
The best thing about this excursion to Stonehenge is that it offers the convenience of an organized tour with the independence provided by the audio guide, so you can explore the famous megalith, the museum and the reconstruction of a Neolithic settlement at your own pace and with total peace of mind.
Once there you will have 3 hours to enjoy this magical place to which since time immemorial the human being attributed a special meaning of connection between the earthly and the supernatural, which today many researchers continue to study to unravel its enigmatic symbolism.
At the end of the visit you will get back on the bus that will take you back to London, where you will be able to relax and remember everything you have learned and experienced at Stonehenge during this exciting trip.
Why I like this tour: This tour offers the advantages of joining an organized tour (you don't have to worry about schedules or transportation) and the advantages of touring the site at your own pace. You will be able to follow the audio guide's commentary to understand everything you see without having to stick to the steps and schedules of a group, as you will have up to 3 hours to walk around the site at your own pace.
Recommended if... you want to enjoy this mystery of humanity to the fullest but do not want to invest too much time or too much money during your trip to London.
When to visit Stonehenge?
Declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, this monument is worth a visit at any time of the year but there are particularly special moments such as the summer and winter solstices (when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky and crosses the axis of the monument with precision sneaking between its rocks).
During the summer solstice, groups of druids accompanied by a very diverse public come to Stonehenge to practice rituals with a magical background in which they celebrate the union between the sun and the Earth. It is a most curious event!
When to book your Stonehenge tickets?
Since it is a very popular tourist attraction, I advise you to book your tickets online as far in advance as possible to ensure your place on the tour on the date you want.
How long does it take to get to Stonehenge from London?
This prehistoric monument is located almost two hours from the British capital.
What to wear to see Stonehenge?
This megalithic monument is located outdoors in the middle of a place that is not protected from wind or rain. Before going on an excursion I advise you to take a look at the weather forecast for the area to try to choose a day with stable weather.
With the above in mind, my advice is to bring warm clothes because except for the hottest days of summer, the cool (or even freezing!) breeze is almost always blowing. Don't forget to pack a raincoat in your backpack in case there is a risk of rain on the day of your visit. Adapting your clothing to the weather on the day of the excursion is essential.
On the other hand, as with any excursion, the best thing to do to see Stonehenge is to wear comfortable shoes, since you will be walking for several hours.
Is Stonehenge a monument to visit with children?
Absolutely. The little ones will be able to run around the meadow and be amazed by the size of the rocks while the older ones will have the opportunity to get closer to history on a fun excursion.
But... what is really Stonehenge?
You have probably seen it before in books and documentaries on countless occasions, as it is the most famous prehistoric monument in Europe and one of the icons of Great Britain.
Surrounded by a pit, Stonehenge is a megalithic construction in the form of two concentric rings composed of large vertical stone blocks that form a unique stamp recognizable from miles away.
Little is known about this place, being an enigma for anthropologists and historians around the world. Only that it was built between 3000 and 1500 BC (towards the end of the Neolithic and early Bronze Age) and that it was part of a larger structure that included ceremonial avenues and stone circles.
Everything else is hypothesized, from who built it to its purpose. Some theories suggest that it could be an astronomical observatory to predict the seasons, since at the summer solstice the sun rose through the axis of the megalith.
Others argue that Stonehenge was a religious temple or a funerary monument that was used as a necropolis for notables of the time, as hundreds of burials have been found nearby.
While research continues to try to shed a little more light on this mysterious megalithic monument, Stonehenge has now become an important setting where modern Druids perform mystical rituals on the night of St. John.
What will you see at Stonehenge?
My experience visiting Stonehenge
After a placid journey of almost two hours through England, the bus dropped us off near the Stonehenge visitor center and before arriving there we had to go through an airport-like security check where they checked our belongings.
Although inside the Stonehenge site there is also a museum and a reproduction of a prehistoric settlement, we knew that the first thing we wanted to see was this legendary megalithic monument. So we headed to the area where you take the free minibus to get there as soon as possible, as it was quite crowded and there were some queues.
I had seen it in pictures many times and imagined it many times but nothing compares to seeing it in person. It is a mixture of excitement and disbelief. I had before me one of the few remaining vestiges of prehistoric times in the world. How could they build something like that with hardly any means?
It makes you want to get as close as possible to feel the rocks and try to unravel this enigma older than the very pyramids of Egypt, but a rope fence limits the distance to keep with the monument and the itinerary to follow.
You have to be satisfied with contemplating it from afar but the visit allows you to go around Stonehenge to take pictures from all angles and enjoy the beautiful green landscape that surrounds it.
Being there you get an idea of why this place was so important for the first civilizations. There is something that makes it very special and that is hard to explain in words - you have to see it!
Discovering the Neolithic
During the tour, if you pay attention, you will see some signs pointing out other places of interest such as an ancient necropolis or an avenue from 2300 BC that connects the megalith with the Avon River. It is believed that this road connected with a ceremonial route to celebrate the passing of the seasons according to the movement of the sun.
Much more can be learned about this at the museum in the visitor center. After the visit to Stonehenge we head back to the starting point to enter the exhibition that delves into the history of this place and its significance as well as the lives of the people who erected this monument thousands of years ago.
Here you can see various prehistoric objects (tools, jewelry, pottery ...) extracted from various archaeological excavations as well as the forensic reconstruction of the face of a man who may have been at Stonehenge 5,500 years ago.
I also advise you to go to the recreation of a Neolithic village that is in this enclosure and that was created from excavations in Durrington dating from that period.
Although on the tour to Stonehenge we have the assistance of an audio guide that explains what we are seeing I think this museum is the perfect complement to better understand this stage of history so unknown to the general public, so I recommend that you spend some time during the visit.
You may not be a big fan of museums but the Stonehenge museum has a very cool interactive part that always makes the experience more enjoyable. Especially if you are traveling with children.
If you like this tour, you might be interested in
If you have already visited London on more occasions and want to discover other gems of England, I recommend you to take a look at the article The best excursions from London where you will find some of the most entertaining and interesting proposals to do during your vacation. It will be difficult to choose just one!
In case after the excursion to Stonehenge you want to focus on exploring London to learn a little more history, do not miss the articles about the Tower of London or Westminster Abbey as well as The best excursions and tours in London or The best tourist buses to know the most outstanding corners of the city.
Frequently asked questions
How long does it take to get to Stonehenge from London?
Since Stonehenge is located about 145 km (90 miles) west of London, it takes about 2 hours 20 minutes to get there, either by car or train.
Can I travel independently to Stonehenge?
You can, however, be aware of a few caveats. The train from Waterloo to Salisbury, the nearest train station 15 km (9 miles) away, is usually quite expensive, and you will have to take the shuttle bus to Stonehenge to cover the distance between the station and the site. For this reason, many travelers opt for a guided tour as it is the easiest solution to go directly to Stonehenge.
Can I touch the stones at Stonehenge?
Normally not, as the stones are protected by a velvet cord 364 days of the year. There is however one exception, during the Summer Solstice Festival, where people camp in the field next to Stonehenge on the summer solstice to watch the sunrise on the first day of the new season.