Summer Solstice is celebrated at Stonehenge this year on Friday the 21st June.

The sun is due to rise at 4.52 am, but you can get into the site from 19.00 on the previous evening

English Heritage have a couple of pages of information here:

I’ve got a small amount of information to add, which might, or might not be useful.

Getting from Salisbury to Stonehenge….and back

The solstice bus

Salisbury to Stonehenge busWilts and Dorset are running buses especially for solstice night. There are details on the English Heritage website.

It says that you get dropped 1.5 miles from the Henge. I’m not quite sure where that would be – perhaps it’s at Airman’s Corner, where the new Visitor Centre is being built. I’ll try to find out.

I don’t know how much the bus costs – but there are probably details somewhere on the Wilts and Dorset website

Walk from Salisbury

Stonehenge at sun riseI’ve walked from Salisbury to Stonehenge a few times. It’s about 12 miles. It’s lovely walking out through the Avon Valley, but it’s tricky and dangerous getting across the A303.

Walking from Amesbury

Stonehenge Winter Solstice between trilithonsA better option is to get the bus to Amesbury and walk from there. There is currently a bus called the activ8 (or just number 8) that runs from Salisbury bus station to Amesbury bus station. The last one leaves at 23.25, getting to Amesbury at 23.45. [1].

You can then cross the A303 through the Countess Roundabout subway and walk across country. You would probably get to Stonehenge around 1.30am, assuming you don’t get lost too badly or too often[2]. You definitely need a good-ish map for this – it’s off-road, and unless you go early it will be dark. The map below gives some idea of the route.

Stonehenge from Amesbury Walking Map

Driving

People do drive and park along tracks in the rough vicinity of Stonehenge. I don’t drive, but I really wouldn’t recommend it.

I don’t think you appreciate the experience as much if you arrive at Stonehenge in a car, and you may end up parking some distance away anyway. Personally, I’d leave the car at Amesbury and walk as per the map above.

Taxi to Stonehenge

You could also get a taxi (about £30 each way from Salisbury – you’d need to book and agree the price in advance). I’m not sure how keen cab drivers would be to get to close to Stonehenge at the solstice, because of the traffic.

Getting from London to Stonehenge

You can get National Express coaches from London to Salisbury, or get the train from Waterloo.

The train takes about 1 hour 40 minutes. Train fares very enormously depending on when you book and when your travel. If I’ve got the code right there should be a click-able advert for South West Trains below[3]

It’s an interesting journey – I started describing some of the stuff you see on the way from Waterloo to Salisbury here:

From London to Salisbury by Train – part one « Salisbury, Wiltshire and Stonehenge

Other stuff about Stonehenge

Hopefully it will be warm and clear at Stonehenge for the Solstice, but it might be worth stating:

  • there’s no shelter at Stonehenge. If it rains you will get wet and muddy
  • it typically feels colder in Salisbury than it does in London, and it feels colder at Stonehenge than it does in Salisbury. It’s not going to be winter-solstice-cold but you might want to bring an extra layer or two
  • the English Heritage info is worth reading
  • be careful of your personal safety – it’s easy to assume Stonehenge will be full of mystics and gentle hippies. It’s not.

If you are going, I hope you have a wonderful, dry and safe time.

Footnotes

  1. Timetable is here – don’t trust me, please check it! []
  2. I’ve done the Amesbury to Stonehenge walk for the solstice twice now. Still not quite got it right. []
  3. South West Trains run the trains from Waterloo to Salisbury. If you book a ticket through the advert I’ll get a commission. Soon I’ll be rich enough to buy Stonehenge. []

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