Stonehenge, thought to have been built between 3000 BC to 2000 BC, is one of those iconic places you just have to visit at least once in your life. Many make the 1.45 hour trek from London to view the mysterious stone monument and feel a little disappointed as they squeeze along a path with a crowd of people to catch a view and snap a photo from behind a rope.
During my visit, I watched a disappointed couple leave in frustration when they found out the monument was closed. It’s not easy to get to Stonehenge – so planning ahead (like knowing the operating hours) is so important. Here are three tips to make the most of your Stonehenge experience:
1) Make arrangements in advance
Rather than queue up with all the other tourists, arrange in advance (it is recommended several months in advance) for the English Heritage Society’s Stone Circle Access Tour. These tours are held outside of normal operating hours and are limited to 26 people. It’s more expensive than the regular admission, but this is how Stonehenge was meant to be seen. During this special tour, you can walk right up to the stones and enjoy them in peace and solitude. With such a small group, it was easy to have people move out for people-free shots of the monument.
2) Take the train
The closest train stop to Stonehenge is Salisbury. Whether taking the train or driving in, head out early and make a day of it. Salisbury is a delightful little town. And sitting quietly in this little village is the beautiful Salisbury Cathedral which houses one of four copies of THE Magna Carta that exist in the world – this particular one is thought to be in the best condition. Considered a critical historical document, the Magna Carta is on display in their chapel with little fanfare surrounding it, though the rapper Jay Z paid it a visit when he launched his Magna Carta…Holy Grail album.
3) Hire a private driver/taxi service for the day
Your driver will pick you up at the train station and transport you around the surrounding areas. It’s beautiful countryside. There are forts and ruins and white horses on hillsides you can scope out. Book the earliest evening Stonehenge tour if you come by train to allow time to get back to the train station to catch one of the last trains back to London. Your private driver will be sure you are transported to Stonehenge in time for your special tour and then picked up to make it to the train station to catch the late train out.