Amazing Stonehenge and Avebury
England’s history spans thousands of years and a surprising number of mysterious monuments, tombs and man-made objects can be found all over the place. The west country in particular is filled with strange cone-shaped hills, chalk drawings of giant horses and probably the most famous of them all, Stonehenge.
In the county of Wiltshire, just 90 minutes or so from London you’ll find one of the world’s best known but least understood ancient monuments. Stonehenge sits on flat land next to the A344 road. It’s a strange site as you arrive, huge rocks stood like soldiers in a field. Some with equally huge rocks balanced on top. Definitely an unusual site with an unusual past as well. The stones are believed to date back around 4500 years, replacing an earlier henge from around 5000 years ago. It’s an astonishing timescale that makes even the great Pyramids of Egypt seem modern by comparison. Many believe the stone monument was built by the druids but very little is actually known about their origin. What we do know is the stone is not local but was transported some 200 miles to its present location. An astonishing distance given the lack of transport technology 5000 years ago. It’s believed
Thanks to the road nearby getting to Stonehenge is easy. You can drive west to the A303 and then on to A344 which takes you right to the site. You can’t miss it! You can also get a train to Salisbury, some 12KM away where you can catch a bus to Amesbury and taxi right to the site. There’s also a bus service direct from Heathrow Airport to Amesbury so it’s very easy to see Stonehenge. It’s a must on any holiday or vacation in England.
- Opening times: Usually open 9:30 – 6pm, open until 7pm in summer
- Ticket Price: Adult £7.80. Children £4.70
- Visit stonehenge.co.uk for more information
Not far from Stonehenge is the pretty little town of Avebury. But this town’s beauty is not the reason to visit. The town itself was actually built right in the middle of a monument that makes Stonehenge look like a small toy. Originally it had over 400 huge stones placed in rings over a 30 acre area. In the centre a huge raised chalk platform. It’s believed to have been built long some 4000 years ago, a few hundred after Stonehenge and was used as a religious temple and celebrated the cycle of birth, life and death.
The town itself sits inside one of the rings with the most important rings to the south-east. A small and very pretty high street is here with some great home craft shops and cafes. There’s also some great museums in the town explaining more about this mysterious monument.
Unlike Stonehenge this monument is open to the public for free at all times of year. You can wander around the many stones that still stand and some even contain small carvings too. The Alex Keiller museum in the town is well worth a visit and contains hundreds of artefacts from archeological digs that have taken place here over the past 100 years or so. If Stonehenge excites you then Avebury is a destination not to be missed.
- Museum opening times: 10am – 6pm
- Ticket price: Adult £4.40. Children £2.20. Families £12.20
- Go to visitwiltshire.co.uk
Other monuments nearby
There’s a whole host of amazing ancient monuments in this region of England. Here’s a few more worth checking out