VISITING STONEHENGE 2023: YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
There is a lot of misinformation out there about visiting this top tourist site - I've seen gems such as 'the visit is free if you buy a ticket' or 'you can walk amongst the stones on a regular ticket' or even 'there's no way to see this site other than pony up some cash'. This is all nonsense. I have lived near Stonehenge for about 40 years and have visited it countless times - my parents once had season tickets and we would walk there what felt like nearly every weekend with house guests who all wanted to see it and I feel well placed to answer these most common questions in internet searches on the stones. So ignore the advice from the out-of-town bloggers who have visited just once to tick it off their bucket list - here we have the definitive answers.
Getting to Stonehenge:
What is the best way to visit Stonehenge?
This obviously depends on where you are coming from and how much time you have, but there is really no need to take one of those hideously expensive tours - I've seem some advertised for £600 and you still have to pay entrance to the stones! The most enjoyable and flexible way, in my opinion, is to do it independently. Take the train to Salisbury and then the bus to the stones, as it gives you the option of exploring Salisbury too, which is a great place to spend an afternoon. I would say Stonehenge in the morning (free or with tickets), lunch in Salisbury, afternoon at the Cathedral and the medieval town centre, before catching a train back. Salisbury train station is very central and there will be minimal walking involved if you don't fancy it. If you're driving, there is a car park on site at Stonehenge, and it is just a short drive to Salisbury. Plan and book your train journey >> Plan and book the Stonehenge bus >>
Can you get the train to Stonehenge?
The nearest train station to Stonehenge is Salisbury, which is on the direct line from London Waterloo, and Bath, amongst other places. When you get to Salisbury you can then catch the Stonehenge Hop-On-Hop-Off bus from right outside the train station which will take you straight there. Plan and book your train journey >> Plan and book the Stonehenge bus >>
How do you get from London To Stonehenge?
You really don't have to do one of the expensive tours. Get the train from London Waterloo, there are two every hour, and it is a 90 minute journey direct to Salisbury. If you book in advance, you can get a return for £12 - £18. When you leave Salisbury train station (there is only one way out) turn left as soon as you exit and walk a few paces down the pavement to the Stonehenge bus stop. You can pre-book your tickets online: choose from -
bus + Stonehenge
bus + Stonehenge + Salisbury Cathedral.
Hop on the bus and they will take you straight there. Plan and book your train journey >> Plan and book the Stonehenge bus >>
How much does it cost to visit Stonehenge?
A visit to the stones with a ticket, is not cheap. It can cost £22.80 per adult at peak times, and that's without the donation they encourage you to pay. A child is £13.70, a family of 2 adults and 3 children is £60. Tickets are a few pounds less outside peak season. With prices like that, you have to be really sure you want to go. The ticket price includes access to the visitor centre and to the recreated Neolithic huts.
Can you see Stonehenge for free?
Yes you can. There are several ways to see it for free -
Park in the car park (£5) then take the free footpath which runs just behind the path for people who have paid
Park at Woodhenge (free) and do the 5 mile circular walk which also takes in other important places in the Stonehenge landscape
Park at Fargo Road (free) and walk about half a mile to the stones
Get the bus (pay for bus ticket) but then take the free footpath
You get free entrance with National Trust membership (not NT Scotland or overseas visitor passes)
You get free entrance with English Heritage membership
I recommend the Woodhenge to Stonehenge walk as it gives you a really good idea of the wider context of the stones and it includes Woodhenge, the Cuckoo Stone, Durrington Walls Superhenge, King Barrow Ridge and Old King Barrow, as well as part of the 4000 year old Avenue.
Can you walk amongst the stones?
You can, but only on one of the VIP tours, otherwise known as the Stone Circle Experience. These take place outside regular visiting times at sunrise and sunset. They cost £47 per adult and £29 for a child and you get an hour inside the stones with a small group and a guide. You are still not allowed to touch the stones. Book in advance as they sell out quickly. Book the Stone Circle Experience >>
Can you see Stonehenge from the road?
Yes you can, but there is nowhere to pull over so you are at the mercy of the speed of the traffic. Slowing down to look at it will be very unpopular with your fellow motorists and is part of the reason why the government feel compelled to dig a huge tunnel underneath and destroy the landscape in the process. Please don't encourage them further.
Can you touch the stones?
No. Not even on the VIP tour. If you want to touch a stone that’s the same age and type as the Stonehenge stones, find the Cuckoo Stone near Woodhenge. Just don’t damage it.
How long do you need at Stonehenge?
1 - 2.5 hours. English Heritage say to allow about 2.5 hours, but they allow time for use of an audio guide, buying souvenirs in the shop, having a coffee and fighting through the crowds if it's peak season. A visit can be done in an hour if you forgo all the frills.
What is the best time to visit Stonehenge?
If you are doing a visit with a ticket, then choose the early morning or late afternoon slots to have fewer crowds. If you are visiting it the free way and want no crowds at all, visit before it opens or after it closes and you won't have people in the way of your photos.
Is parking free at Stonehenge?
Most of the time it is, but in peak season they charge £5 per car which is deducted from your ticket if you buy one. You can of course pay the £5 and then walk on the free path to look at the stones - it is still far cheaper than paying for entrance tickets. If you park at Woodhenge or Fargo Road, then parking is free but there is more walking involved.
Can you walk around Stonehenge?
You can walk around it behind the ropes and do a full circle, but you cannot get inside the stones without paying for the VIP access tour.
Is it worth it to see Stonehenge?
It depends how badly you want to see it. If you are fascinated by pre-history then you will probably love it, but when it comes down to it, it is just some rocks in a field. If you are in two minds about visiting, then probably best not to bother. There are other, far more impressive sites to see in the area such as Avebury, West Kennet Longbarrow and Salisbury Cathedral.
Can you take photos of Stonehenge?
Yes you can. If you want photos without other people in then choose your visiting time carefully (see above).
Can you visit Stonehenge at night?
You can visit it on one of the VIP tours at sunset on selected days, but if you want to see it late at night then you will have to park at either Fargo Road or Woodhenge and walk there. Take a torch as there is no street lighting.
What else is there to do near Stonehenge?
Salisbury is a medieval city which is packed with historical sites, restaurants, shops and walks. Old Sarum is the original city of Salisbury and is a beautiful place to visit. The Army Flying Museum is a short drive away. Avebury has standing stones that you can walk amongst for free.