Description of a visit to Stonehenge on the last day of the 2019 Megalithomania Mysteries of England tour. One in a series of Adventures in England blog posts.
It was the last day of our seven day Mysteries of England tour, and we were all excited as we were scheduled to visit Stonehenge – the iconic prehistoric World Heritage Site. Our reservation that early morning included special access to the interior of the stones.
Mysteries of England Tour
Hugh Newman of Megalithomania, our tour guide, had driven us past Stonehenge numerous times the previous week as we made our way to explore one ancient site after another in the vicinity. Each time we drove past, we observed the majestic stone circle and the crowds standing at a discrete distance. Passing it by each day only heightened the anticipation of our upcoming visit.
It was therefore fitting that we visited Stonehenge on the last day of the tour. Hugh picked us up in the van early that morning – and there were no laggards. We drove to the site from our nearby hotel in Amesbury.
See related blog post: Adventures in England
You can make advance reservations to visit the inner circle of Stonehenge. There are a limited number of time slots available early in the morning or very late in the day outside of normal operating hours. Each time slot is limited to a maximum of 30 individuals.
Hugh had reserved our group’s one hour visit that day from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. six months in advance. As we waited to take the bus that would take us from the parking lot to another lot closer to the stones, Hugh pointed out to us several modern day Druids in their distinctive clothing waiting in line.
Arriving at our destination, we piled off the bus and set off at a fast pace to walk what was relatively a short distance to the stones. We all paused to take a few pictures before we entered the site. The instructions given us for our visit included one major restriction – “do not touch” the stones.
Several security personnel were on the grounds with us to protect the site. They were very nice and helpful. When asked if “dousing” was allowed they not only said yes but suggested where it could be done to the best effect. Also explained was what one might expect when walking from one direction to another between stones.
They also showed us where notable Britons had in years past etched their names on the stones. One of those names was Christopher Wren (1632-1723). Sir Christopher Wren was many things – including one of England’s most highly acclaimed architects. His most famous work is the majestic St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Prior to our visit, as well as when we were on-site, Hugh was a font of information about Stonehenge – what was known, not known, and the speculation and myths surrounding its purpose and construction.
After a delightful hour wandering about while enjoying the perfect weather it was time to depart – all too soon.
Our group walked to the bus waiting to transport us back to the now open visitor centre. Upon arrival, some of our group took the opportunity to pick up souvenirs at the gift shop, while others of us headed to the adjacent cafeteria. I was ready for my morning cup of coffee!
After everyone had something to break their fast, we visited the on-site Stonehenge Museum consisting of both indoor and outdoor displays. The ancient artifacts were fascinating – to say the least!
Afterwards we headed back to the van – we had a full day of sightseeing ahead of us on this last day of the tour!
See related blog posts: Amesbury, England and Adventures in England – Avebury Stone Circle and Henge and Adventures in England – Cerne Abbey
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