Stonehenge is one of the UK’s most popular archaeological attractions. Planning to visit this amazing site, however, can get a little overwhelming. If it’s on your bucket list, we’ll make things a lot easier for you! In this guide, find out how to visit Stonehenge from how to get tickets to traveling to the site, tours to take, and a brief history.
Pro Tip: Planning what to do on your trip to London? Bookmark this post in your browser so you can easily find it when you’re in the city. Check out our Stonehenge guide for more planning resources, our best Stonehenge tours for a memorable trip, and the top things to do in London.
Visiting Stonehenge: What We’ll Cover
Stonehenge is an iconic ancient landmark on the Salisbury Plain in England. The mystifying stone circle has baffled experts for many years. Attracting droves of visitors every year, you are not alone in wanting to tick this site off your bucket list. However, getting there isn’t straightforward. In this guide, find out what you need to know to visit Stonehenge. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Opening hours and tickets
- How much time to budget for your visit
- How to get there
- What to see in Stonehenge
- Guided tour options
- Facts and history of Stonehenge
- Places to eat nearby
Stonehenge Opening Hours and Tickets
Stonehenge is open seven days a week, 9.30 am to 5 pm (9.30 am to 7 pm in June, July, August). You can gain entry every day throughout the year apart from Christmas Day.
There is different pricing for peak, off-peak, and standard tickets. As you’d expect, peak time is the most popular time, so it’s the most expensive. Therefore, off-peak (Monday to Friday) has the cheapest tickets because of the lower demand during the working week.
Off-peak: Adults £21.50, Concessions £19.40, Children £12.90 Family Admission £55.90.
Typically, the weekends are standard-priced: Adults £23, Concessions £21, Children £14, and Family Admission £60.60.
And finally, advance booking is not a necessity. However, you are more likely to get a cheaper price and guaranteed entry if you do so. Note: the prices given above are the cheaper online prices. The last time to buy tickets at the Stonehenge site is 4:30 pm during the summer season (June, July, and August) and 2:30 pm in autumn, winter, and spring.
Pro Tip: Stonehenge can get very busy between 11 am and 2 pm and on bank holidays. So those who want some peaceful time for reflection at the historic monuments should visit at other times.
Not ready to book a tour? Check out our best Stonehenge tours to take and why.
How Long To Spend at Stonehenge
Short Answer: about 5.5 hours
Stonehenge is 90 miles away from London and it takes 1.5 – 3 hours to travel from London to Stonehenge, depending on your method of transport. You’ll also need 2.5 hours to spend on the archaeological site.
How To Get To Stonehenge
A bus/coach can take up to 3 hours to get to Stonehenge and they leave from Victoria Coach Station (London) any time after 6 am. Alternatively, we offer an attractive tour option with transportation included along with stops at Windsor Castle and the city of Bath.
There’ll be no visitor queues for you during this day trip, and you’ll have an expert guide at hand. You get to learn about the historic castle residence of the British royals and also the Roman baths that gave Bath its name.
There is no direct bus or train to Stonehenge, so our Stonehenge tour options will cut out a lot of the travel hassle that you’d experience with trains or rented cars. If you still wish to travel by train, Stonehenge is on Salisbury Plain in the county of Wiltshire, so you can take a direct train from London Waterloo to Salisbury station.
Regarding train frequency, expect two to three an hour and the journey takes 1 hour 30 minutes. However, Salisbury station is 9 miles away from Stonehenge so you must factor in an additional cab or bus to the site.
Those who want to travel by rented car must consider London’s heavy traffic and its congestion charges which may make that option less attractive. Also, in England cars are right-hand drive and move on the opposite side of the road to many countries, so that may also be a little confusing.
We’d only advise renting a car if you are going to explore the English countryside for several days, then it will be quite handy and cost-effective. The journey to Stonehenge can be as fast as 1 hour 40 minutes or as long as 2 hours 30 minutes depending on traffic.
Getting there from the Visitors’ Center:
On arriving at the Visitors Center on your own, your booking details will be checked at the admissions point. You can then view the center’s interactive exhibits and artifacts and then visit Stonehenge or vice versa. You then need to catch a shuttle bus to the site. They are quite regular and the journey takes 5-10 minutes.
Alternatively, you can walk from the Visitor Centre and explore the National Trust’s ancient landscapes. Along the way, you will see other amazing prehistoric monuments including Bronze Age burial mounds. Also, there are information panels with further details about the monuments and sites that lie ahead.
Moreover, you can obtain a Stonehenge walkers’ map from the Visitors Centre with info on the walking routes and key points along the way. The walking distance from the Visitor Centre is 2 kilometers (1.3 miles) and will take you 20-40 minutes.
Pro Tip: You are advised to travel lightly, without much luggage. This is because once you get to the Stonehenge site there isn’t a cloakroom or anywhere to keep luggage. And remember, you can stay as long as you like at the site but have to return to the Visitors Centre by the 5 pm closing time.
What To See at Stonehenge
You could easily describe Stonehenge as a “bunch of rocks in a field” because that is what they are, but the experience is actually surreal. This is especially the case when you know what to see and the story behind them. Here are some of the things you should look out for while visiting:
- Stonehenge Stone Circle
- Stonehenge Exhibition (Visitor Centre)
- The Landscape Walking Trail
- Bronze Age Burial Mounds
- The Cuckoo Stone
- Durrington Walls (Henge Monument)
- The Cursus
Stonehenge Tour Options
If you’re planning a trip to Stonehenge, our guided tours are an attractive option. You can learn more about these prehistoric monuments and their World Heritage Site status from our knowledgeable local guide. It will certainly make your Stonehenge experience that much more special. Here are some of our most popular Stonehenge tours.
A trip down ancient history is just what you need while in London for a few days. Let us take the hassle of arranging transportation and tickets while you sit back and relax on this day trip from London.
You’ll hit up the top sites for British, Druid, and Roman history within a few hours of the city, thanks to your driver-guide who loves sharing these sites with travelers. A visit inside Windsor Castle, time to explore Stonehenge, and free time in the city of Bath where you can choose your activity will round out your full-day trip.
Early birds, unite! This early morning trip to Stonehenge from London is ideal for those who want to see these ancient ruins under the soft light of dawn. Leave the driving to a local guide who can also provide your early access tickets to see this monument before the general public. Also included is a stop at the Salisbury Cathedral where you’ll find the tallest spire in the United Kingdom and an original Magna Carta.
If you’re interested in more ancient ruins outside of London than just Stonehenge, then check out this tour! You’ll start your day trip from London with a local driver-guide who’ll take you to the manmade mound called Silbury Hill and the nearby 5,000-year-old burial grounds. Stops at Avebury to see a mini Stonehenge and the supposedly haunted Red Lion Pub are up next before heading to Stonehenge at sunset.
Not ready to book a tour? Check out our best Stonehenge tours to take and why.
Facts and History of Stonehenge
- It was first built over 5,000 years ago during the late Neolithic Age. The structure we see today is the result of additional henge structures erected over thousands of years with the last stone added in 1,500 B.C. (early Bronze Age).
- The stone circle in the middle of the henge landscape was built in 2500 B.C.
- Stonehenge has an unusually high number of prehistoric monuments.
- The stone circle is made of very large sarsen stones (weighing 25 tonnes) and smaller bluestones (2 to 5 tonnes). Because of the size of these stones, it is regarded as an unbelievable feat of engineering that prehistoric Britons were able to erect a structure such as this.
- Archaeologists believe the sarsen stones were transported on wooden sleds from a rocky area 32km away. However, the nearest bluestones are in Wales, a country in the U.K. that’s 225km away from Stonehenge.
- There are many theories about its function. English Heritage claim the structure marks the movements of the sun, perhaps for farmers to map the cycle of the seasons. But many leading British archaeologists say it was a place of healing—an early ceremonial stone hospital. Furthermore, it’s been proven that during the Bronze Age it was used for funeral ceremonies.
- In 1986, Stonehenge was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Places To Eat Nearby
Stonehenge is set in a secluded rural heritage site on Salisbury Plain, so there are few restaurants and cafés in the immediate area. However, you will inevitably need to eat, so here are a few places nearby to get something to eat. For more options, see our article on the best restaurants near Stonehenge.
Stonehenge Visitor Centre Café: ££ | Quick Snacks—As you’d expect, this is the closest eatery to the stone circle site. Their food is locally produced and includes many light snack options such as soups, hotspots, sandwiches, sausage rolls, and salads. Vegetarians are also catered for.
Stonehenge Inn: ££ | Pub—The Stonehenge Inn is a good choice because it offers greater food variety and a better atmosphere than the other restaurants and cafés closer to the site. Also, you get to see their delightful mini replica of Stonehenge. They have a pub food menu for both adults and children. Some dishes have henge-themed names like The Dunken Druid, Messy Mesolithic, and Messy Druids Burger.
Larkhill Café: ££ | Breakfast—Great place for breakfast or brunch with lots of both sweet and savoury options. They have good coffee too.