Ever since watching a documentary about Stonehenge when I was a kid, I was intrigued about the history surrounding Stonehenge. The World Heritage site is situated on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire where it is one of the world’s most well-known prehistoric monuments, with a history that spans over 5,000 years.
Some of the intrigue surrounding Stonehenge is why it was built, who built and how was it built. Even the stones themselves have mystery around them: the Sarsen sandstone slabs which make up the outer ring come quarries in the area, but the smaller bluestones which are situated in the inner ring come all the way from Preseli Hills in Wales, a massive distance away of about 200 miles from Stonehenge.
Stonehenge is made up of 100 enormous stones arranged in a circular standing position layout. It was created over several construction stages, first about 5,000 years ago massive circular ditches and banks dug with deer antlers into the plain. Next, around 2,500 BC, the massive Sarsen stones and smaller bluestones where brought to the area (moved likely using sledges and rollers made of tree logs) and shaped using hammer stones. Once the stones were shaped correctly, they could be erected using interlocking joints (much like lego pieces), likely with ramps and counter weights which assisted getting the stones upright. Horizontal Lintel stones were arrange at the top of the stones (likely moved in place with a system of platforms and levers). The erecting of the monument took about 800 years.
At Stonehenge with General Admission, you can walk up to the stones as far as the barrier along the path, or with the VIP tickets you can walk among the stones during a 1 hour visit with a small group of people for either a early morning or late evening visit outside of normal visiting hours. During your visit knowledgable staff can help provide information and answer your questions.
At Stonehenge, you can walk through a recreated Neolithic village and see the homes people lived in, and also see if you can push a Sarson stone!
There is a brilliant exhibition which will teach you all about Stonehenge, how it was built, the people of the time and its meaning. There are around 300 interesting archaeological artefacts at the exhibition found at Stonehenge or the surrounding area. At the exhibition you can also come face to face with a pre-historic man who lived 5,500 years ago where forensic reconstruction was done using his bones which were recovered at Stonehenge.
There is also a café available at Stonehenge which serves food, snacks and drinks. You can also pick up a souvenir at the gift store.
From the parking lot, there are visitor buses which shuttle visitors from the visitors centre to Stonehenge.