Stonehenge – A Sophisticated Architecture that should not be missed.

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Stonehenge

A prehistoric monument & one of the wonders of the world – Stonehenge is 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.

English Heritage is reviving the Victorian tradition of falconry and hawking in the skies above Stonehenge. Go to Falconry at Stonehenge to learn more.

Stonehenge - A sophisticated architecture not to be missed! show
Stonehenge
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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 – a bucket list experience for sure.

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:

Travelling to Stonehenge during Covid-19 Safety Measures – What you need to know:

Update from English Heritage: Aug 2020

  1. For safety reasons, visitor numbers are limited;
  2. Visits MUST be booked in advance. You must have a booking confirmation to show for the chosen arrival time;
  3. Bring a face covering along – you can’t enter the cafe or the shop without face coverings;
  4. Safety and social distancing measures are in place for everyone’s safety;


Opening and closing times | Tickets

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. So, you Must book these tickets in advance.

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


Become a Member of English Heritage

English Heritage is guardian to some of the nation’s most treasured and iconic buildings and monuments, including Stonehenge, Tintagel Castle, Osborne, Hadrian’s Wall and Dover Castle. They ensure that our heritage is protected for future generations.

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From only £48 for a whole year, English Heritage members enjoy the following benefits:

  • Unlimited access to over 400 historic properties across the country;
  • A whole year’s worth of fun days out;
  • Free entry for up to six accompanying children per adult member;
  • Free or reduced-price entry to exclusive members’ events giving you access to our experts and a glimpse behind the scenes;
  • Exclusive Members’ Magazine four times a year with in-depth features about our properties and wider work, which also includes a nationwide events guide;
  • A free handbook to help plan your next exciting day out;
  • Special offers, discounts and competitions for a great variety of products and experiences; and
  • An English Heritage car sticker.

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

Become a Member of National Heritage today and enjoy all the membership benefits for a whole year!


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Get onboard and enjoy a Ride on the Royal Windsor Steam Express


Visiting Stonehenge from London | London to Stonehenge | Easy ways to get to 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.

Here’s how you can visit Stonehenge from London:

1 | From London to Stonehenge by train

The nearest train station to Stonehenge is Salisbury and the distance from Salisbury to Stonehenge is less than 15 kilometres (9 miles).

Leg 1: From London to Salisbury

Take the train from London Waterloo Station to Salisbury Station on the South Western Railway. There are trains every 30-40 minutes from 6:30 am to 23:40 pm with a slightly altered timetable at weekends. The journey from London to Stonehenge takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. The price of your train ticket only applies to this part of your journey.

Buy your Train tickets to Salisbury. Book and buy in advance for best price.

Note: There are Additional costs involved for transportation between Salisbury and Stonehenge

Leg 2: From Salisbury to Stonehenge

Upon arriving at Salisbury, there are taxis, private car hire, bus services serving the route to and from Stonehenge as well as the Stonehenge Bus Tour offering a hop on hop off service. Stonehenge Bus Tour operates every 30 minutes or so.


2 | From London to Stonehenge by coach

If you wish to visit Stonehenge by coach, you need to make your way from Salisbury to Stonehenge as described above.

As for a coach/bus from London to Salisbury, here’s how you can make that journey:

Take the National Express from Victoria coach station to Ringwood. This service runs from 6.30 am to 7.30 pm. There are around 4 coaches running throughout the day, every 3-4 hours.

When you reach Ringwood, you will then need to change at Ringwood and take the X3 to Salisbury. From Salisbury, your onward journey to Stonehenge will be via local buses, taxis, private car hire or the hop on hop off Salisbury Tour Bus.

For return journey to London, the first coach leaves Ringwood at 6.45 am and the last coach leaves at 6.40 pm. There are around 4-5 coaches throughout the day.

The X3 from Ringwood towards Salisbury and return is operated by the Salisbury Reds. This journey takes around 40 minutes. The service runs from 5.57 am to 11.32 pm Monday to Saturday and from 8.43 am until 8.43 pm on Sundays and public holidays. The X3 runs from Salisbury to Ringwood from 6.40 am to 9.45 pm Monday to Saturday and from 9.40 am until 9.40 pm on Sundays and public holidays.


Read next: Isle of Wight & the Victorian Love Affair



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.



Is this post valuable to you in planning your visit to Stonehenge? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you. Scroll all the way down for more ideas and inspiring travel stories. Subscribe to join us at My Timeless Footsteps to receive all the latest news and events. As always, I am contactable at ggdaniel166@gmail.com for any further info or to design your itinerary for you.

Happy adventures and have a splendid time exploring Stonehenge!

Georgina xx

August 2020, Update

Updated AUG 29, 2020


English Heritage

Visiting Stonehenge during Covid-19 Safety Measures:

  1. Visitor numbers are limited;
  2. Visits must be booked online prior to visiting this monument;
  3. Bring a face covering along.

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Georgina

Hello there! Welcome to mytimelessfootsteps – a travelogue of Georgina’s adventures and a space where she shares her insights into travel. Bringing you only the best, from her very many years of discovering this beautiful world, to support your independent travels and your well-being whilst travelling. Though Georgina’s focus is upper upscale and millennial lifestyle, the detailed travel guides and information herein are valuable for all travellers of any age. To learn more and her motivation for this blog, go to About Georgina.



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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. #englishheritage #bucketlistexperience #ancientmonument #UNESCOheritage #wonderoftheworld via @GGeorgina_mytimelessfootsteps/
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45 Responses

  1. […] Stonehenge – A Sophisticated Architecture that should not be missed. […]

  2. Georgina
    |

    Absolutely! It makes a fantastic trip no matter. Just being there is awesome. Thank you so much for sharing your aspirations and I sincerely hope that you will visit UK one day.

  3. Georgina
    |

    You are welcome, Matthew. Sure hope you get to visit Stonehenge on your next trip to England.

  4. Georgina
    |

    It is fascinating and I am so very interested in finding out more.

  5. Georgina
    |

    Stonehenge is a remarkable structure and yes, like many others around the world, one wonders how man could be so capable of such extraordinary monuments.

  6. Emma
    |

    What a beautiful post! Stone henge really is one of those phenomenon that I find so interesting! It was so great to read more about it. I hope I’m lucky enough to visit one day and experience it for myself! Even if you can’t go right up to it anymore I’m sure it would be a fantastic trip!

  7. Matthew
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    Im from England but never had the chance to go to stonehenge. It does sound very interesting. Ill have to make plans to visit next time im back in the UK. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Florin
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    ah the beautiful Stonehenge, I want to visit it one day. Your photos are amazing, great article.

  9. Melissa
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    Stonehenge is one destination that has always fascinated me. The fact that no one knows exactly what it was used for is even more fascinating. I love the different theories that you mentioned. It must be something to be able to watch the sunrise from the stones!

  10. Just One Passport
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    Seeing and reading about Stonehenge certainly transports you back in time. You do have to wonder how such beauty can be created by hand with no machinery.

  11. Georgina
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    Thank you! Visiting Stonehenge on your next trip to London sounds splendid! It is convenient and easily reached.

  12. Georgina
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    Haha.. that’s a question! I love reading all the history and the theories are fascinating. I do believe the human race to be tough, strong and skillful – capable of building anything. They may not have had machinery as we now know but I am certain they had other equipment. Glad you enjoyed reading the article on Stonehenge.

  13. Georgina
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    You are very welcome, Kat. I hope you will visit when you are in England next.

  14. Georgina
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    Isn’t summer beautiful at Stonehenge! There is something special about those “stones” for sure. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

  15. Georgina
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    Thank you so much Ramya. Stonehenge is a marvel. Yes, its true – we have designated paths to observe when we visit as tourists but there are no barricades during the solstices.

  16. Georgina
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    Thank you so much! I am glad that the article on Stonehenge is informative and helpful to you so you could plan your visit.

  17. Georgina
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    They are so many theories indeed! Theories aside, Stonehenge is a marvel in itself. Sincerely hope you will visit one day. It is an easy day trip from London.

  18. savannahrose1321
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    This is such a great post, I learned so much about Stonehenge! Definitely going to try to take a day trip here the next time I visit London!

  19. joefuf1
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    I’ve always wanted to see Stonehenge in person. Great post, I love how you included all the different theories as to how it came about. How do you think it was put together?

  20. Kat
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    I’ve been to England a few times, but never visited Stonehenge. Thanks for the info and beautiful pictures!

  21. Anuradha
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    I have always enjoyed visiting Stonehenge. What a mystical monument it it, and there’s so much history in it. I loved the picture with yellow flowers. Have never seen them that way.

  22. ramya
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    This is a well researched article. It is amazing to note that the people from gathering age were able to create such marvels. But then these marvels are the living proof. I believe we cannot go near them, as there are barricades in place. Is it true? or just a misinformation?

  23. Agnieszka
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    What an excellent guide, so informative and helpful! Stonehenge is still on my list. It is such a fascinating place, so mysterious. I had no idea that there are so many theories about these stone constructions. Hope to see it one day.

  24. […] Stonehenge – A Sophisticated Architecture that should not be missed. […]

  25. 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.

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

  27. Georgina
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    I know right! It is Cold!

  28. Georgina
    |

    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.

  29. Georgina
    |

    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.

  30. Tayler
    |

    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.

  31. Carrie Ann | Should Be Cruising
    |

    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).

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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. 🙂

  35. 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.

  36. 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!

  37. Jay Artale
    |

    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.

  38. 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.

  39. Sarah
    |

    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.

  40. Georgina
    |

    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.

  41. 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!

  42. Georgina
    |

    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.

  43. Joycee Smith
    |

    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. 🙂

  44. Georgina
    |

    Thank you! It is well worth a visit. 🙂

  45. daisy051958
    |

    Will definitely Stonehenge on my next visit.

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