Quick Facts on Stonehenge
- Short URL
- SP4 7DE
- Main date(s)
- c. 3000-2000 BCE
- astronomical alignments English Heritage Properties henges megalithic monuments megaliths Neolithic period Prehistoric standing stones stone circles World Heritage Sites (#373; Jan 01, 1986)
- 51.178862° N,
- Opening hours
- Open daily except Dec 24-25.
Mar 16-May: 9.30-6
Sep-Oct 15: 9.30-6
Oct 16-Mar 15: 9.30-4
- £7.50 adult; £6.80 concessions; £4.50 children
- 0870 333 1181
- 3000 BCE
- Construction of Stonehenge I
- 2500 BCE
- Stonehenge I abandoned
- 2100 BCE
- Construction of Stonehenge II
- 2000 BCE
- Construction of Stonehenge III
- 1900 BCE
- About 20 bluestones from Stonehenge II are erected in a horseshoe shape inside the sarsen horseshoe in the center of Stonehenge III.
- 1100 BCE
- The Avenue near Stonehenge extended
Description of Stonehenge
Awe-inspiring as it is, the Stonehenge that stands today is only part of the original construction, which has suffered a great deal from both weather damage and human pillage of its rock. Archaeologists believe the construction of the site was carried out in three main stages, which have been labeled Stonehenge I, Stonehenge II and Stonehenge III. See the Timeline for details.
Stonehenge stands in a grassy field in the Wiltshire countryside, and must have been a highly atmospheric site over the millennia since its construction. Unfortunately, the site has lost a great deal of this atmosphere due to the intersection of two major highways nearby and the inevitable tourist infrastructure. When it comes to setting, Avebury remains superior to Stonehenge.
However, Stonehenge is such a magnificent monument that it would impress no matter where it stands. The astonishing scale and beauty of the stones, the great care and labor in construction, and the mystery surrounding its original purpose are just some of the reasons Stonehenge is one of the most popular sights in England. Add stormy skies, a fresh snowfall, a rainbow, a full moon, or the rising sun on the summer solstice, and it becomes a mystical site indeed.
A visit to Stonehenge begins across the highway from the monument, at the large and efficiently-run Visitor's Centre. There is a fee for parking as well as for admission, which includes an optional audio guide. A pedestrian subway leads under the highway to Stonehenge itself, where a designated path allows for views from all sides. For conservation reasons, visitors are no longer allowed to approach the stones except on the summer solstice, but access can be arranged by appointment or as part of some guided tours.
October 8, 2011
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