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"Where is Stonehenge?" is a question that many people ask when considering travelling there from London.
Stonehenge is some ninety miles or so west of central London, in the county of Wiltshire on Salisbury Plain. The nearest town is Amesbury, the nearest public bus stop, two miles to the east.
An area rich in archaeological history, there are many other sites of interest located close to Stonehenge.
The nearest large town to Stonehenge is Salisbury, 9.5 miles to the south, the nearest rail connection. Journey time will usually take around two hours from central London if using a tour bus, taking traffic into consideration.
If coming by road, the A303 is the main road running east-west and will take you to just a mile from the stones, where you turn off onto the A360, at the roundabout at Airman's Corner, where the Visitor Centre for Stonehenge is located.
There are three main options available to you; using a guided tour with bus straight from London, travelling independently using public transport (train from Waterloo and Stonehenge Tour Bus from Salisbury) or hiring or taking your own car and driving yourself to Stonehenge from London.
There is one entry ticket to Stonehenge that covers the visitor centre, shuttle and access to Stonehenge. English Heritage strongly advise you to book your tickets in advance as Stonehenge is a very popular attraction with over a million visitors every year.
Tickets are timed, to thirty minute time slots - this is the time in which you report to the ticket desk at the entrance to Stonehenge. Once you book your timed ticket online, you print out your confirmation and bring it with you.
If you have a heritage pass or are a National Trust or English Heritage member and are entitled to free entry you still need to obtain (free) tickets in advance.
It is advisable to allow at least two hours to enjoy Stonehenge properly, especially given the large amounts of information available to you at the visitor centre, built 2014, and allowing any extra time to browse the gift shop. You could stay much longer, for example if you wished to include walking the surrounding landscape, as well as your time at the stones. If you have a special interest you could spend all day here.
Once you have shown your booking confirmation in your thirty minute time slot, you are then free to board the shuttle bus at any time from a boarding point outside the exhibition. On return, you simply get the next available bus back again.
The road that the shuttles take to Stonehenge (which they have sole use of) you can walk along, and there are walking trails all over the landscape. If you want to walk around the monuments on the Stonehenge landscape best point to start is actually Stonehenge itself.
Note: The landscape surrounding Stonehenge is free to walk, without gaining access to Stonehenge itself. The land belongs to National Trust and there is much archaeology and wildlife to be seen.
The Stonehenge Visitor Centre is located about a mile away from the stones themselves. This is also where the car and coach parks are located. The car park is free for people purchasing tickets to enter Stonehenge, there is a charge if you are not.
A shuttle bus (included in your ticket price) will take you down to see the stones, if you prefer not to walk. They run very frequently so if you turn up you will never have to wait more than a few minutes.
The visitor centre hosts the Stonehenge exhibition, cafe, gift shop and toilets. If you are arriving independently, this where you pick up your tickets and audio guides.
If you are arriving as part of a tour you will form a queue to go through round the side of the building and from there will join the shuttle bus to take you to the stones. If you wish to see the exhibition you can leave yourself some time at the end to come back and see it.
The Stonehenge Exhibition contains over 250 archaeological treasures, which were used or buried at Stonehenge, including pottery, tools, jewellery, and even human remains.
The exhibition gives a good grounding into understanding into the various theories of how it was thought Stonehenge was built and why, along with insights into the people who used Stonehenge.
To enter the Stonehenge exhibition you need a full ticket to Stonehenge, anyone can access the café, gift shop and toilets.
Outside there are reconstructions of Neolithic houses and demonstrations of how the stones were transported.
The gift shop offers an extensive range of books, gifts and souvenirs, many made in the UK exclusively for Stonehenge.
A 110-seater counter service café serves hot and cold drinks, soup, Cornish pasties, sandwiches, cakes, salads and other sweet and savoury delicacies. Note, it doesn't serve meals. Child sized portions are available.
There are plenty of toilets and also baby changing facilities. There are baby feeding facilities including high chairs in the café and bottle/food warming. Pushchairs are allowed onto the site.
The Stonehenge monument area itself has no shelter, (even at the shuttle terminus), no toilets and no refreshments.
The site is very exposed, its better to bring that extra layer and unless there is no cloud in the sky think of what you will need if an unexpected shower of rain comes along, with no shelter from the elements available.
During normal opening hours you cannot walk up to the stones themselves. The nearest you will get to the stones is about 10 yards, the monument being roped off by a low barrier, (see picture below).
However it is possible to walk up to and among the stones at Stonehenge outside public opening hours. These are called Special Access visits. During these sessions of one hour duration, only 26 people are allowed onto Stonehenge, going beyond the barriers and walking amongst the stones.
The fact that these Stonehenge Special Access visits are outside public opening hours mean that they are at dawn or evening. Given that Stonehenge is two hours' drive from London this obviously provides logistical issues in getting there.
The Special Access Visits are also immensely popular, demand far outstrips supply and they are often sold out months in advance.
A kiosk makes available audio guides at a small charge in a number of languages prior to boarding. Languages include: English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, Dutch and Swedish.
If you arrive by tour bus you will collect your audio guide device as soon as you get off the coach at the coach park and another bus will take you straight to Stonehenge. If you are visiting independently you can collect and pay for your audio guides before boarding the shuttle.
Alternatively, a free audio tour in English may be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play store. To enable this, free wi-fi is available at the visitor centre.
Stonehenge is busy throughout the year. If you can, avoid visiting between about 10.15am and 12pm when many of the tour coaches from London arrive.
There is another spike of coaches early/mid afternoon. For independent visitors, best time is first thing after opening and late afternoon in the summer months when the coach parties are gone.
|Stonehenge Morning Or Afternoon Half Day Tour- £52|
|Stonehenge & London Day Tour (Apr-Oct only) - £61|
|Windsor Castle Windsor Morning & Afternoon Tours - from £55|
|Windsor, Bath & Stonehenge (inc Lunch, no adm Roman Baths) - £114|
|Windsor, Bath & Stonehenge (no Lunch, inc adm Roman Baths) - £103|
|Windsor, Bath, Stonehenge & Salisbury - £101|
|Windsor & Bath Day Tour - from £79|
|Windsor, Bath & Stonehenge (Small Group - Max 16 people) - £149|
|Stonehenge & Bath (Stonehenge admission only) - 3.5 hrs in Bath - £74|
|Stonehenge & Bath (Stonehenge & Baths adm) - 3.5 hrs in Bath - £89|
|Stonehenge & Windsor (featuring extended time at Windsor) - £95|
|Stonehenge & Avebury - £109|
|Windsor, Stonehenge & Oxford - £106|
|Stratford, Cotswolds, Bath & Stonehenge - £99|
|Stonehenge, Glastonbury & Avebury (Small Group) - £149|
|Lacock, Bath & Stonehenge (Small Group) - £149|
|Oxford, Stratford & Warwick Castle - £99|
|Oxford, Cotswolds & Stratford (Small Group) -£149|
|Stratford & Cotswolds (inc Anne Hathaway’s) - £89|
|Shakespeare’s Stratford–upon–Avon - £57-75 (no admissions incl)|
|In-depth Cotswolds Only Tour + Lunch - £96|
|In-depth Cotswolds Only Tour + Lunch (Small Group) - £149|
|Blenheim Palace, Downton Abbey Village & Cotswolds Tour - £65|
|Stratford, Cotswolds, Bath & Stonehenge - £99|
|Windsor, Stonehenge & Oxford - £106|
|Oxford & Cambridge Tour (May-Sep only) - £101|
|Downton Abbey & Blenheim Palace (Small Group) - £149|
|Leeds Castle, Dover & Canterbury with river cruise - £99|
|Canterbury, Dover Castle, White Cliffs & Rochester (Small Group Apr - Oct) - £94|
|Dover Castle, White Cliffs & Canterbury - £99|
|Stonehenge Special Access (Walk Among Stones) Tours|
|Downton Abbey + Highclere Castle Tours|
|Harry Potter Tours|
|Beatles Liverpool Day Tour - £169|
|Day Trip to Paris - from £179|
|Day Trip to Edinburgh - from £199|
|2 -Day Avebury, Cotswolds, Bath & Oxford - from £174.25|
|2-Day Stonehenge, Bath, Cotswolds & Oxford - from £195.21|
|3-Day Tours of English Regions (3 tours) - from £294.80|
|3 Days in Paris - from £339|
|2-Day Edinburgh - from £312|
|3-Day Edinburgh & Scotland Weekend - from £329|
|3-Day Edinburgh & Scotland Weekday - from £499|
|3-Day Amsterdam - from £315|
|6-12-Day tours of Great Britain and Ireland - from £925|