A trip to Stonehenge, about 80 miles west of London, is one of the most amazing experiences you should have during 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, taking into account 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. Here are the best options:
The organized excursion to Stonehenge with the best price
Perfect if you want to make the most of your visit to one of the most famous landmarks in England optimizing to the maximum your time and in the most comfortable way possible. Includes audio guide and time to explore the place at your own pace
I 100% recommend you to make time during your trip to the British capital to take this full-day excursion 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 can take the bus at two different points in the city (London Bridge Street and Harrington Gardens) to get to Stonehenge.
Ahead of you is a two-hour drive to Salisbury Plain, a lonely, treeless, uninhabited moorland 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 that was believed to connect 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 and where you can get comfortable remembering 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 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.
Visit Stonehenge and visit Bath, the most beautiful city in England
If you want to spend the whole day out of the City, nothing better than discovering not only Stonehenge but the beauty of Bath, the city of Jane Austen.
If during your trip to London you can set aside a whole day for a trip outside the city, my advice is to take the opportunity to see as many nearby places as you can in one go. For example, Stonehenge and Bath. Not only will you have the opportunity to discover Europe's most popular prehistoric monument, but also one of the most charming cities in the British countryside, which happens to be located very close to Stonehenge. Sounds great, doesn't it?
The adventure begins at 8:30 AM when the group meets at Victoria Coach Station (Stop W) to catch the coach to Stonehenge, the first stop on the tour.
The journey is made very short because the tour guide gives a short explanation of what you will see at the destination. Only two hours after leaving London you will arrive at Salisbury Plain, the site of this magnificent megalithic monument thousands of years old.
During the visit you will have time to leisurely admire Stonehenge, visit its museum and Neolithic settlement at your leisure while listening to the narration of the audio guide. Seeing this prehistoric construction with your own eyes is like taking a trip back in time to the origins of mankind and an unforgettable experience.
The second stop on the tour is Bath. The one-way trip takes about an hour and along the way you can also listen to a short introduction to this charming city in the county of Somerset. If Bath is famous for anything, it is for its Roman baths of medicinal waters, for its university, for being the home of the famous writer Jane Austen and for its elegant streets dotted with beautiful 18th-century mansions.
On the excursion to Bath you will see such highlights of the city as the Pulteney Bridge, the Jane Austen Centre, the Assembly Rooms or the Royal Crescent and enjoy free time to explore the city at your own pace or, if you select the option, to enter the Roman Baths (but not to bathe in them as it is not authorized).
After the Stonehenge and Bath tour, you will board the coach again to return to London after an intense day full of excitement and memories.
Why I like this tour: this tour allows you to see two of England's most iconic sites in one day for a reasonable price and in just one day, so it won't take up too much of your time in London.
Recommended if... you are one of those who want to see the more, the better. On this tour, you will enjoy the beauty of Bath and the enormity of the Stonehenge complex.
When to visit Stonehenge?
Declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, this monument is worth visiting 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 by sneaking between its rocks).
During the summer solstice, groups of druids accompanied by the most varied 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 peculiar 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 secure 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 and rain. Before leaving for a hike 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 as 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 the visit. Adapting your clothing to the weather on the day of the excursion is essential.
On the other hand, as with any excursion, the most advisable thing to do to see Stonehenge is to wear comfortable shoes since you will be walking for several hours.
Is it a good idea to visit Stonehenge 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 chance to get closer to history by taking a fun hike.
But... what really is Stonehenge?
You've probably seen it before in books and documentaries countless times, for it is Europe's most famous prehistoric monument and one of Britain's iconic landmarks.
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 B.C. (towards the end of the Neolithic and beginning of the 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 some more light on this mysterious megalithic monument, Stonehenge has now become an important site where modern Druids perform mystical rituals on Midsummer's Eve.
What will you see at Stonehenge?
My experience visiting Stonehenge
After a placid trip of almost two hours through England, the bus left us near the Stonehenge visitor center and before arriving at it we had to go through a security check similar to an airport 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 we had to wait in line for a bit.
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 was something like this built 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 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 to early 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'll see some signs pointing to other places of interest such as an ancient necropolis or a 2300 BC road linking the megalith to the Avon River. It is believed that this road was connected to a ceremonial route to celebrate the passing of the seasons according to the movement of the sun.
You can learn much more 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 several 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 kids.
If you like this excursion, 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 Stonehenge excursion you want to focus on exploring London to learn a bit more about history, don't miss the articles about the Tower of London or the Westminster Abbey as well as The best London tours and excursions or The best sightseeing buses to get to know the most outstanding corners of the city.
Frequently asked questions
How long does it take to go to Stonehenge from London?
Since Stonehenge is situated around 145 km (90 mi) west of London, it takes around 2 hrs 20 min to reach both via car or train.
Can I independently travel to Stonehenge?
You can, however there are caveats. The train from Waterloo to Salisbury, the nearest rail station at 15 km (9 mi) away, is usually quite expensive, so you'll then need to get the independent Stonehenge shuttle bus to reach the legendary henge. For this reason, most travellers find that a guided tour is the easiest solution as you're taken directly to Stonehenge.
Can I touch the stones at Stonehenge?
Not usually, basically the stones are protected by a velvet rope 364 days of the year. There is however, one exception is the Summer Solstice festival, where you can camp on the grounds for the night to witness the sunrise and the first day of summer.