Stonehenge – A Sophisticated Architecture that should not be missed.

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Stonehenge

A prehistoric monument & one of the wonders of the world – just a day trip from London

England Travel Guide

Stonehenge, One of the wonders of the world is right at our doorstep! This pre-historic monument has wowed many and continues to intrigue all visitors here. It is definitely, an engineering masterpiece given that it was built with simple tools and technologies during the Neolithic times. It is another of those structures in the world that make visitors and scientists wonder to the theories behind its construction – Why it was constructed and by whom, to the extend that it could have been an alien creation or the much popularised legend of King Arthur by historian, Geoffrey of Monmouth. Anyways, here’s Stonehenge for you in a nutshell – pay us a visit – mystical or magical – you decide.

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1 | Stonehenge – A sophisticated architecture

The monument known as Stonehenge, was erected with precise interlocking joints, unseen at any other prehistoric monument. According to its history, it was built in several stages, with the first monument being constructed around 5,000 years ago.

Stonehenge - The Stone Circle
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Stonehenge – The Stone Circle

2 | Stonehenge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

This unique prehistoric masterpiece sits on a rich archaeological landscape and the area, Avebury and Stonehenge form a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stonehenge is the most architecturally sophisticated and unique places to visit.

3 | Where is Stonehenge exactly?

Stonehenge is located on Salisbury Plain, about 8 miles (13 km) north of Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. Its GPS coordinates are:

If you haven’t been to Stonehenge, click on the link to Google Earth and get a first hand, up close and personal experience of this mysterious wonderment. Watch the awesomeness of this majestic structure that has puzzled many historians and remains a mystery! It will sure to blow you away too!

4 | The Stone Circle

The Stone Circle at Stonehenge is an iconic symbol of Britain with each stone standing at 13 feet high, 7 feet wide and weighing around 25 tons. It is believed to have been constructed between 3000 BC and 2000 BC. This sophisticated architecture is the only surviving lintelled stone circle in the world.

Stonehenge - A closer look at the Stone Circle, an architectural masterpiece.
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Stonehenge – A closer look at the Stone Circle, an architectural masterpiece.

I was instantly wowed at the gigantic stones and intrigued at how cleverly it was “constructed”. I did feel a little “tiny” in the midst of all these and the vastness of the area. There is certainly a lot to discover here.

As mentioned earlier, this iconic sophisticated architecture throws more questions than answers as to the “Why’s” and “Who” – here’s what I found out but be rest assured that there are a lot more theories and opinions out there.

5 | Stonehenge – The theories

One of the most comprehensive hypothesis of Stonehenge’s origin and purpose can be found in Stonehenge Decoded by Gerald Hawkins.

5.1 | Stonehenge Decoded

According to Hawkins, the cluster of stones were constructed in phases between 3100 BC through 1600 BC and its purpose was to relate to an ancient astronomical observatory calendar, to predict movements of the sun and stars. His hypothesis identified 165 separate points on the construction, and he links them to the two solstices, equinoxes, lunar and solar eclipses. The stones are aligned in such a way that at dawn on the summer solstice the sun glides from behind the Heel Stone to above the stones and shine onto the centre of the circle – the sun and stones all aligning perfectly. Similarly, at the winter solstice on December 21, one can experience much the same at sunset. It would seem that Stonehenge was created to showcase the summer solstice.

Sunrise at Stonehenge
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Revellers watch the sunrise as they celebrate the pagan festival of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, southern England on June 21, 2018.GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images
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In this book, Hawkins decodes the mystery behind Stonehenge and illustrates his findings that gave rise to controversy on both sides of the Atlantic.

Stonehenge Decoded

Gerald S. Hawkins, 1965 (Hardcover)

However, Hawkins’ theory had been criticised by historians for it gave too much credit to ancient builders who did not have the sophistication or the tools necessary to predict astrological events. Despite its criticisms, Hawkins theory does lend more legitimacy than the 12th century legend associated with King Arthur by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his History of Kings of Britain

5.2 | History of Kings of Britain

According to Geoffrey, the massacre called the Night of the Long Knives in 449 A.D. occurred at a monastery on the Salisbury Plain. To honour the dead soldiers, the then King, Ambrosius Aurelianus consulted the wizard, Merlin to help him select an appropriate monument. The wizard suggested that the King’s Ring from Mount Killarus in Ireland be dismantled and brought to England. An expedition of soldiers were sent to bring the stones to Stonehenge where Merlin reconstructs with his magical powers, a monument on the Salisbury Plain honouring the dead in the monastery cemetery.

5.3 | A modern twist

A modern twist to this tale seems that it was aliens rather than Merlin who constructed the ingenious architecture. Some of these rocks weigh 50 tons and cannot be explained how ordinary humans could have moved such masses., hence aliens. In addition, Alfred Watkin in the 1920s suggested his theory of “ley lines” in his book “The Old Straight Track“, published in 1925. He suggested that Stonehenge connected with other sites which once served as landmarks or ancient sites in a given alignment between, and across the dense island but since vanished. Other theories surrounding this ancient monument relate to it being a healing ground because archaeologists have discovered skeletons with crude wounds, an indication of rudimentary surgery.

5.4 | Recent Discovery at Stonehenge

In recent years, archaeologists have discovered skeletal remains at Stonehenge which dated to a 500-year period beginning in 3000 B.C.. The discovery suggests that the remains belong to a select group of elite ancient people, hence providing the most solid evidence yet that the site was used as a burial ground. However, this does not preclude Stonehenge as an astrological calendar or as a religious site.

5.5 | The mystery continues…

So, a conclusive answer to the “Who” and “How” are yet to be found and the mystery of Stonehenge continues to puzzle archaeologists, historians and ordinary people alike. One thing for sure, that it will continue to attract thousands especially on another equinox when the sun rises and sets, for one to experience the magical or mystical vibes in this mysterious part of Salisbury, Wiltshire.

View post by National Geographic on 7 Ancient Sites Some People Think Were Built by Aliens

6 | Popularity of Stonehenge

Stonehenge is one of the popular destinations in UK for tourists with almost 1.5 million visitors a year. It is also a popular destination for the thousands who are drawn here during the summer and winter solstices, for whom it symbolises a sacred place. It invokes a great sense of awe and humility. Stonehenge is especially significant for members of the Druid and Pagan community, who perform rituals and celebrations at the summer and winter solstices.

6.1 Summer and Winter Solstices

Solstices have been celebrated here for centuries. People gather here to welcome the sunrise on the longest day of the year with cheering and revelling. On the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone, the ancient entrance to the stone circle, and sunlight is channelled into the centre of the monument. It is also a day when the English Heritage opens-up the stones to the public.

Revellers at Stonehenge watching the sunrise on summer solstice
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Revellers watch the sunrise as they celebrate the pagan festival of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, southern England on June 21, 2018. GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images





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Spiritual revellers celebrate the summer Solstice (mid-summer and longest day) at the ancient stones of Stonehenge, on 21st June 2017, in Wiltshire, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Revellers at the summer solstices
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Revelers gather for summer solstice celebrations on June 21, 2016, at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.
 Julio Etchart—Getty Images/Robert Harding Worl

Whatever the true story of this monument, anyone and everyone can enjoy the spectacular sunrise behind these stones at the solstices.

Mystical, magical – You decide!

When I visited Stonehenge in late summer, it was after a rain and before a storm. I witnessed these mystic clouds, which appeared above one of the Stone Circle, giving it a sense of solitude and magic. I thought the clouds were rather unusual.

It was after a rain and before a storm when I witnessed these mystic clouds, which appeared above the Stone Circle wonders of the world, giving it a sense of solitude and magic.
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It was after a rain and before a storm when I witnessed these mystic clouds, which appeared above the Stone Circle wonders of the world, giving it a sense of solitude and magic.

Just so you know, there are a few recorded experiences where one was overcome with feelings of sadness and loss, while some have felt coldness and isolation. Though none of these can be explained and I did not experience any of these feelings, I was totally amazed at the uniqueness of the structure. I would highly recommend that you visit this sophisticated architecture.

There is an Asian proverb that says, “Better to see something once, then to hear about it a thousand times.” So, if you haven’t been here, get it onto your itinerary and experience this iconic ancient achievement. Return and share your stories 😊

Travel tips and Useful information on Stonehenge:

Opening and Closing times:

Summer: 0900 – 2000

Winter: 0930 – 1700

Last entry is 2 hours before closing

Tickets:

Entrance to Stonehenge is through timed tickets. Advance booking is the only way to guarantee entry on the day and time of your choice.

By booking in advance you will also benefit from an advanced booking discount.

English Heritage and National Trust members must also book in advance for their FREE visit.

You can check https://www.english-heritage.org.uk for more information. 

Visiting Stonehenge from London

When visiting London, you may find Stonehenge makes a nice little day trip from London. You have a choice of either making your way to Salisbury by train or coach OR join one the value for money guided tours. There are a variety of guided tours to select from, from half-a-day to full day tours. There is a half a day tour to Stonehenge only and the full day tours are often combined with a tour to the Historic City of Bath and Windsor Castle. Personally, I prefer the full day tour that combines Stonehenge with Bath and the West Country. For more ways to experience this ancient wonder, click on link below and see what suits you.

Finally…

Whether this monument is mystical or magical, being present among this incredible, ingenious architecture will have you in awe and wonder! It is an experience that I strongly recommend.

Are you ready to book your trip?

Follow these 6 steps and you will enjoy a stress free vacation.


Is this post beneficial to you in planning your trip? If so, let me know in comments below or via Contact Form. I would love to hear from you.

Happy adventures!

Georgina

January 2020, Update

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A visit to this awe inspiring sophiticated prehistoric monument will have you captivated in more ways than one. A synopsis on its historical background and travel guide including options for day trips from London via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/
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21 Responses

  1. Georgina
    |

    There is something special about those stones, for sure, So nice that you were able to touch them, We can’t now except when it is summer solstice.

  2. Georgina
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    Indeed! This ancient architecture is mind blowing and they certainly knew what they were doing!

  3. Georgina
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    I know right! It is Cold!

  4. Georgina
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    Thank you so much. So glad you enjoyed reading this post on Stonehenge and found it to e thorough. It is an intriguing architecture indeed. Happy that you are planning a visit to Salisbury and Stonehenge. Look forward to your experiences.

  5. Georgina
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    There is something special about Stonehenge that cannot be explained – it is a site that must be experienced instead. Each have their own unique feelings about these huge stones, magical, mystical, strange or none of the above. totally in agreement with you, the ancient builders were remarkably sophisticated for their time.

  6. Tayler
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    Stonehenge is so fascinating! I think speculating about the “Who” and “How” as you said is part of the fun of Stonehenge. And on a nice day it’s such a great place to visit.

  7. Carrie Ann | Should Be Cruising
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    Stonehenge has fascinated me since I was a child and loved to read about such mysterious ancient structures. The place does have a certain mystical feeling to it! I love your pic of the unusual-looking cloud formation right above it (and that it didn’t seem as busy that day – I couldn’t imagine how crowded the solstice festivals must be).

  8. I visited Stonehenge as a teen and your post brought me back to the all the awesomeness I felt when first beholding this site. It must be magnificent to experience the solstices here, even with the throngs. Very much enjoyed reading through the theories of how Stonehenge came into being. Hawkins critics cracked me up with their supposition that ancient builders did not have the sophistication or tools necessary to predict astrological events. Given that these ancients erected Stonehenge, I’d say they were pretty sophisticated. Love your mystical cloud covered Stonehenge image.

  9. Georgina
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    I think Stonehenge will be the one structure/thing that will intrigue anyone of any age. it must have been fun to play chase around those gigantic rocks! Thank you for sharing your memories.

  10. Jan Banerjee
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    Enjoyed reading through your thorough article with so much information! Stonehenge is truly intriguing with its historical, astronomical and archaeological explanations. I may visit Salisbury this spring and hope to visit this place then. 🙂

  11. Marilyn
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    The marvels of history and the importance to the cultural of the time, honouring the Sun’s journey around the planet. I’ve also wanted to go, however the crowds of today are sadly a deterrent.

  12. nickymacke
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    We visited for the first time a few weeks ago, although I’ve driven past it many times. There’s definitely a vibe around it, which I struggled to explain. But the one thing I would urge all visitors to do is wrap up warm. When the wind blows across Salisbury Plain, it’s cold!

  13. Jay Artale
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    There’s so many conflicting ideas of who and why Stonehenge was built, but I think us not knowing adds to it’s mystery. Back then – before television – what else did ancient civilizations have to do at night except tell stories and watch the stars and moon. We shouldn’t underestimate how resourceful they were, and how clever.

  14. Angela
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    The last time I visited I could actually go up to the stones and touch them (showing my age now) and you know what there is a magic to them when you are connected by touch.

  15. Sarah
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    Very interesting post. I remember years and years ago, visiting Stonehenge. At that time, you could just walk up to the stones and as kids we just ran around them playing chase then having a picnic! It would be interesting to see it again now.

  16. Georgina
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    You are correct! Stonehenge is an amazing place, an absolute marvel. Wish we could get up close to the Stones…Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

  17. Heather Markel
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    I feel so lucky to have gone when I was a kid, at a time you could still walk up to the stones, and through them. An amazing place!

  18. Georgina
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    Thank you so much for your lovely comments, Joycee. Stonehenge is one of those places that intrigues you, fascinates you and you leave with some questions answered and some not. Glad that you enjoyed my post. Totally appreciate about “clocks on the wall” Lol.
    Apologies for my late response.

  19. Joycee Smith
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    I really enjoyed this post as I’ve visited Stone Henge 3 times over the years. Every time I return to England actually – and every time it’s freezing cold. 🙂 I’d really like to have a couple of these monoliths in my garden to tell the time by, at least they would be more accurate than my wall clocks! Well done, plus nice photos as well. 🙂

  20. Georgina
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    Thank you! It is well worth a visit. 🙂

  21. daisy051958
    |

    Will definitely Stonehenge on my next visit.

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