Saturday 17 October 2020

Visiting Stonehenge with Kids

Stonehenge is one of the most recognisable locations in the world and features on many people's bucket lists. Thought to be around 5000 years old, Stonehenge is a Unesco World Heritage Site. 

Despite living in the neighbouring county to Wiltshire, we've never visited! This Summer we travelled to Wales on a roadtrip so it was the perfect excuse to make a little detour and finally see the stones. 

We pre-booked our tickets on the English Heritage Website - EH members get in for free, but also National Trust members too which was fab for us!  If you're not NT or EH members, you can expect to pay around £55 for a family ticket. 

Tickets need to be booked in half hour time slots and visitor numbers have been limited to keep everyone safe. The tickets are emailed to your phone so no need to take any print outs but don't forget to take your membership cards!

Our timed slot was 9:30am and we had no trouble finding somewhere to park. Parking is free with pre-booked tickets and there plenty of room for lots of visitors, even ones in motorhomes like us. 

Once we had shown our ticket confirmations at the Visitor Centre entrance , we decided to look at the museum first. (You can also find a cafe, toilets and large gift shop here) Due to Covid, they are restricting numbers in here but we only queued for around 15 minutes. One of us stayed in the queue whilst the other took the children to see the Neolithic Houses. Really interesting to see what life was like back then.  You can also get up close to a replica Sarsens stone and see just how huge they were. 

As you enter the museum you will find yourself in the middle of the stones, in a fantastic audio visual 360 degree view where you can watch the seasons pass, the kids loved it when the snow fell! 

I found the museum really interesting and I loved reading about the stones and how they were bought across from Wales. It's hard to get your head around how long this would have taken given the size of the stones. I find it fascinating that Stonehenge is still such a mystery after all these years. 

Stonehenge has various special exhibitions throughout the year and we were lucky enough to see the latest one, a collection of photos sent in entirely from visitors. It was brilliant seeing the different fashions over time and how photography has evolved into the selfies of today! 

Viewing the Stones

There are two ways to reach the stones, there is a shuttle bus that runs frequently from the visitors centre although currently they are prioritising for those who need it most. You will also need a face covering. 

We decided to walk to the stones, it's an off road path which is around 1.5miles long - it was quite bumpy so you might struggle if you were thinking of taking a stroller. It's a lovely walk across to the stones and the scenery is really pretty - although it really surprised me how far it is from the visitors centre. Having not visited before, I fully expected to see them right away! You'll see ancient burial mounds along the route and if you have the audio guide (this can be downloaded directly onto your smartphone), this will give you lots of information alongside the information boards. 

Once you reach the stones, it is roped off but you can walk the entire way round with plenty of vantage spots for photos. We visited on a weekday so it was definitely quieter, and the restricted visitor numbers are definitely a bonus. 

It was really impressive to see the stones up close and in real life, I can imagine how amazing it would be to be able to watch the sun rise there on Summer Solstice. 

It's worth remembering that there aren't any toilet facilities or places to eat/drink once you are down at the stones but there are plenty of spots for picnics. 

We hopped on the shuttle for the trip back and we didn't have to wait longer than 5 minutes for a bus. It was certainly a lot quicker and there were no complaints of tired legs! 

Overall we spent around 3.5 hours at Stonehenge and I think it's well worth a trip, everyone should visit at least once. I was a little apprehensive if the kids would find it enjoyable but here's what Elliot had to say "I liked seeing the skeleton in the museum and it was fun to get so close to the stones!"

For more information and tickets, visit the English Heritage website

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