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When you visit Stonehenge during public hours you have to keep behind a small rope fence about two foot off the ground. For most people this is perfectly adequate and has the advantage that no people get into your photographs.
For those who are really, really interested in Stonehenge it is possible to go beyond the rope fence and walk among the stones.
These visits are called Special Access or Inner Circle visits and take place outside public opening hours (i.e. dawn or dusk).
The times of these visits can make for some excellent atmospheric photo opportunities.
With the exception of special days such as the two solstices and equinoxes, where special provision is made at dawn, this is the only time you will be able to walk amongst the stones at Stonehenge.
There are three ways of conducting a Special Access Tour:
- by booking a public coach tour. A variety of tour companies offer tours from London, we cover them all.
- by booking a private tour. Your transport is organised for you and assistance is provided in obtaining the tickets, a knowledgeable guide or driver/guide is also an option.
- by booking straight with English Heritage on their website and arranging your own transport
Demand for Stonehenge Special Access tickets far outstrips supply of tickets with tickets and tours often sold out weeks id not months in advance.
There are also several facets of Stonehenge Special Access that you need to be aware of, for a smooth visit to be accomplished.
Special Access visits are available most but not all months of the year. No tours run during October and November and last two weeks of June.
Midsummer's day is not available on normal special access, however Premium Tours run an annual solstice tour; dates become available early spring.
Evening Special Access is only available in the summer months (March to September).
Demand for tickets far exceeds supply, and dates are often sold out months in advance. Do not expect to get tickets without ordering well in advance.
Special Access visits take place at quite unsociable hours, commonly between 5.30 and 8am and after 6.30pm.
Factor in that it is almost two hours' travelling time between London hotels and Stonehenge and you can see such a visit entails a very early start or late finish for those based in London.
There is no public transport to Stonehenge at any time and the Stonehenge shuttle from Salisbury doesn't operate at hours when Special Access takes place.
There are no audio guides available and the gift shop, exhibition centre and catering outlet are also closed though your Special Access ticket does allow you to visit during public opening hours the same day at no extra charge if you wish. Only the toilets are open.
Visits last for one hour, with a maximum of 30 people.
Unless you go with a tour company who will provide you with a guide, there is nobody there to tell you anything about Stonehenge and no information is provided - though you can pre order a glossy guide book on ordering your tickets.
On morning visits you have the advantage of using the facilities such as the gift shop, refreshment kiosk, audio guides, etc, once Stonehenge has opened to the public.
The only people there apart from a maximum of 30 Special Access ticket holders is a Property Steward and a few security guards. They are not guides but they may (though not obliged to) provide information about Stonehenge, but don’t rely on it. They are just there to make sure you get up to no mischief.
Although you can walk among the stones, the Property Steward will brief you on the Conditions of Entry which you will already have received with your booking which includes not to touch the stones amongst others. There are no restrictions on photography, but no photographs can be used on commercial websites except social media. You are not allowed to bring food or drink onto the monument.
Four London based tour companies offer tours that include Special Access. This overcomes the logistical problems of getting to Stonehenge early morning or evening when there is no public transport to Stonehenge.
However, it is still a very early start or a late return to London and these companies cannot get enough tickets for their needs.
As a result dates are very sporadic. Most days there will not be a tour running and they will normally sell out well in advance on those days the tour runs - do not leave it until you arrive in London or you will be disappointed.
With these restrictions in mind, there is little opportunity to pick and choose which operator you go with; generally you have to take whichever tour best suits your dates.
One of the advantages of going with a tour company is that you will have a guide who should be quite knowledgeable about Stonehenge.
Regular Special Access tours are also run from Salisbury, and are highly recommended, particularly if you are interested in seeing more of the surrounding landscape itself. Allow a much longer time for these tours - five hours in total. From London it is possible to use public transport to and from Salisbury by train the same day for these evening special access tours.
If you wish to organise your Special Access visit independently then the method is to apply to English Heritage, owners of Stonehenge, directly for Special Access tickets. In fact, most of these tickets are sold in this way. English Heritage have a 'Stone Circle Access Form' which you can fill in online, after checking out the timetable. Your application for an allocation of tickets, includes your desired dates and times.
Be aware, demand far outstrips supply and you will need to make your application a couple of months or more in advance to have a reasonable chance of there being tickets left.
If you are successful in being offered an allocation of tickets, you can then purchase the tickets.
Follow the link below for full details of making your own Special Access visit. If you are a group, small or large we also offer a service to put together transport and ticket packages.
From Salisbury or Bath
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From Salisbury or Bath
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