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No ancient structure in England arouses more controversy than Stonehenge, a mysterious ring of monoliths ten miles north of Salisbury. While archeologists argue over whether it was a place of ritual sacrifice or run worship, an astronomical calculator or a royal palace, the guardians of the site struggle to accommodate its year-round crowds.

Built in several stages from about 3000 BC, Stonehenge is Europe’s most famous prehistoric monument, a masterpiece of Neolithic engineering and building. No trip to Great Britain is complete without visiting the vast, awe-inspiring stone circle.

We can only guess at the rituals that took place at Stonehenge, but the alignment of the stones leaves little doubt that the circle is connected with the sun and the passing of the seasons, and that its builders possessed an understanding of arithmetic and astronomy.

Despite popular belief, the circle was not built by Druids , an Iron Age priestly cult in Britain from around 250 BC- Stonehenge was abandoned more than 1000 years before this time. Its monumental scale is all the more impressive given that the only tools available were made of stone, wood and bone. Its builders must have been able to command immense resources and vast numbers of people to transport and erect the stones.

Ringing the horizon around Stonehenge are scores of prehistoric circular barrows, or burial mounds, where members of the ruling class were honored with burial close to the temple site. Ceremonial bronze weapons and other finds excavated around Stonehenge and other local prehistoric sites can be seen in the visitor centre at Stonehenge or Salisbury museum.

If you are planning to visit Stonehenge, please be informed: entry is by timed tickets, visitors can get up close to the stone circle itself only on a pre-booked self-guided tour- for this you have to request a Stone Circle Access visit online at least 2 months in advance.

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At a glance

  • Activity

    Culture, Sightseeing
  • Address

    Wiltshire, 10 miles north of Salisbury
  • Opening hours

    Opening hours. Daily : April, May& Sept to mid-Oct 9:30am-7pm; June-Aug 9am-8pm; mid-Oct to March 9.30am-5pm; last admission 2hr before closing.

"No ancient structure in England arouses more controversy than Stonehenge"

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