Stylish self-catering holidays and short breaks in Somerset

Sally's Useful Guide to Visiting Stonehenge

Approximately 40 minutes drive time away from By the Byre is the world renowned stone circle, Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the UK's most popular attractions.

To help others either visiting or staying on their self catering holidays in Somerset we've provided more details below plus some of Sally's own "insider" top tips when it comes to visiting Stonehenge!

When is the Best Time to Visit Stonehenge?

If you’re looking to visit Stonehenge and experience its ancient mysteries during your stay then we say the best time to visit is during the week; typically Mondays to Thursdays. In our experience Stonehenge is much busier on a Summer afternoon, Fridays and Saturdays with weekend visitors and during the school holidays. If the weather forecast looks poor - typically strong winds and heavy rain - then you may find you have the stones pretty much to yourself.

The best time to visit Stonehenge during the day is generally before 11am - the number of people arriving from further afield, some driving down from London, increases after this time and by mid afternoon the place can be heaving.

Stonehenge Opening Times

If you're visiting Stonehenge it might be best to know the hours Stonehenge opens and closes to help you make the most of your trip:

  • Till the 27th May 2023 Stonehenge is open to visitors from 9.30am to 5pm
  • From 28th May till the 3rd September 2023 the site opens from 9.30am to 7pm and then reverts back to Winter Opening Times
  • Last Entry to Stonehenge is 2 hours before closing so we recommend not arriving late!
  • Stonehenge is open every day except Christmas Day

How much are Ticket Prices for Stonehenge?

Let’s just say it costs more than you might think to gain admission to Stonehenge! The entrance fee can vary dependent on the time of day and month you visit (off peak/standard/peak), your age, whether you booked online or showed up at the visitor centre and if you’re part of a larger group taking advantage of a family ticket.

Each ticket gives the holder access to Stonehenge itself, the shuttle over to it and the amazing Visitor Centre too.

Prices for tickets to Stonehenge are as follows (correct as at 2024):


Peak: £29 each

Standard: £24 each

Off-Peak: £22 each


Child 5 to 17 Years

Peak: £18.80 each

Standard: £14.40 each

Off-Peak: £13.20 each


Child under 5:




Peak: £26 each

Standard: £21.60 each

Off-Peak: £19.80 each


Family Ticket - 2 Adults, 3 Children:

Peak: £76 per family

Standard: £62.40 per family

Off-Peak: £57.80 per family


Family Ticket 2 - 1 Adult, 3 Children:

Peak: £47 per family

Standard: £38.40 per family

Off-Peak: £35.20 per family


How to Visit Stonehenge?

Visiting Stonehenge can be an incredibly unique experience so here's some tips on how to make your visit to Stonehenge ajust that bit more special:

Timing: Consider visiting during off-peak hours or seasons to avoid the crowds, it makes a real difference.

Guided Tours: Opt for a personal tour that offer unique insights into the history and mysteries surrounding Stonehenge. Some tours even allow exclusive access outside regular opening hours.

Special Events: Check if there are any special events or ceremonies happening during your visit. Occasional gatherings or rituals - such as solstices - can add a unique cultural perspective to your experience.

Picnics or Nearby Attractions: Consider having a picnic nearby or exploring other local attractions like Avebury, Old Sarum, or Salisbury Cathedral, which can help complement your Stonehenge visit and add more to your day.

Remember, what will make your visit to Stonehenge truly unique is the personal connection you establish with the place and its history. Take the time to immerse yourself in the atmosphere and and you'll get so much more from your visit to Stonehenge.

Can you See Stonehenge for Free?

You can gain access to the café, museum and gift shop at Stonehenge for free if you’re not worried about seeing the standing stones up close. We’d really recommend against this though!

If you want to get near the Stonehenge circle “for free” then you’ll have to be a paid up member of English Heritage, who happen to be the owners of Stonehenge. You will need to book a time slot to visit and ensure you have your membership card with you. 

There are public footpaths you can use that bring you to Stonehenge and allow you closer for free - more details here though do note you'll have to walk across a number of open fields so wearing stout footwear is a must.

Stonehenge Car Parking

Unless you’re parking in off-peak or standard time periods, you’ll find you have to pay for parking your car in Peak times. Happily you can get a full refund on your parking if you purchase tickets to gain entry to Stonehenge.

The stones are a mile or so away from the car park and the visitor centre, but don’t fret you’ll find a free and convenient shuttle bus running throughout the day to take the strain for you, but it is possible to walk up to them too.

What is Traffic like at Stonehenge?

It can get pretty busy on the A303 that runs alongside Stonehenge and traffic can end up crawling in both directions so we’d recommend getting into the area fairly early and avoiding the worst of it.

Local roads and the A303 on Friday afternoons – certainly in the summer months – can easilky get snarled up so leave plenty of time to get to Stonehenge just in case there are traffic problems.

What's a Typical Weather Forecast for Stonehenge?

Stonehenge sits 331 feet above sea level but occupies an exposed open spot so can be subject to the vagaries of the great British weather and wind, lowering the average temperature. We’d recommend – unless it’s a particularly hot summer day – you take some clothing layers to help keep out the cold. Don’t forget to take a spare waterproof jacket just in case it rains too.

Stonehenge Weather Forecast

If you want more precise weather forecasts at Stonehenge then we suggest trying the following websites to help you:

10 Stonehenge Facts for kids!

Here’s 10 fun facts about Stonehenge you might like to know about before you go, especially if you're a kid heading there on a school trip:

  1. Some might see it as just a simple circle of stones but for its time Stonehenge would have been the most sophisticated prehistoric stone circle ever to be constructed
  2. It was built so long ago there are no written records of it from ancient history
  3. Remains of 63 skeletons have been excavated from Stonehenge and carbon dated as far back as 3000BC – over 5000 years ago
  4. The stones extend underground, we only see three quarters of the stones exposed – the largest stone stands nearly 22 feet above ground, with 7 foot submerged in the earth below
  5. You might be surprised that it took over 1000 years for the ancient tribes to build Stonehenge and it’s a project that was likely never completed
  6. Stonehenge may have very likely been an ancient calendar as it allowed people to record the passage of the Sun between the longest and shortest days of the year (the Summer and Winter Solstice)
  7. The stone circle was only raised in 2500 BC and it’s not actually a true “henge” as its ditch is outside the raised earthwork – it needs to be inside to be considered a true “henge”.
  8. You might not realise but Stonehenge was started 500 years before the first Pyramids were built (though only as a simple earthwork enclosure)
  9. The two biggest stones weigh more than 22 tons each and somehow Stone Age people, equipped only with stone and bone tools, moved them huge distances across heavily wooded terrain
  10. In 1915 the land was sold at auction for £6600 which is around £890,000 in today’s money

Frequently Asked Questions about Stonehenge

We've attempted to answer the frequently asked questions our visitors ask us about Stonehenge. If you have a question that needs answering and it isn't below do get in touch and we will do our best to help you. 

Why is Stonehenge so Important?

You wouldn’t think a “pile of stones” would hold such significance but they have helped us understand how ceremonies and burials took place in Neolithic and Bronze Age times. Being likely the world’s most famous prehistoric monument, it also offers insights into how Stone Age technology and tools may have been used.

When was Stonehenge Discovered?

It would probably be better to ask when Stonehenge was first “officially” excavated AND findings recorded as its lintelled stone circle has stood out on the Wiltshire landscape since at least 2500 BC.

Records show Stonehenge was excavated in the 1620s on the instructions of King James I, followed by further excavations in the 18th and 19th century (which corrected the belief that Stonehenge was built by the Romans!)

It does always surprise me that no ancient (or not so ancient!) locals ever came along and hacked the stones to pieces to use to create walls or buildings of their own, as seems to have befallen many other British ancient antiquities.

Can you Touch the Stones at Stonehenge?

No, you cannot and must not.

Due to concerns of erosion a rope barrier encircles the henge keeping the majority of visitors away and out of reach of the megaliths. Some visitors are lucky enough to gain special access within the inner circle on certain days – like Summer and Winter Solstice - but you are asked to not touch, sit or stand on the stones.

Outer access allows you to come as close as a few feet to the stones but with inner access you are right next to them – both experiences though are completely awe inspiring.

Why was Stonehenge Built?

Due to Mesolithic hunter gatherers not keeping records we can’t say for certain what purpose Stonehenge was built for. It is likely the Wiltshire Chalk Downs it sits on would have had far less trees, when the rest of the British Isles was covered in dense forest. This would have allowed people to get a better view of the sun, the stars and the moon, so it’s main purpose – it is thought - would have been as an astronomical calendar to help mark the seasons. Stonehenge is also orientated with sunrise at the Summer Solstice and sunset at the Winter Solstice which further serves to back up this theory.

Where is Stonehenge Located?

Stonehenge can be found on the southern edge of Salisbury Plain in the county of Wiltshire. Easily seen from the main A303 road, you’ll find it located west of the town of Amesbury and north of the City of Salisbury. The iconic circle is easily reachable from Bath, Frome or London though vehicle traffic can be heavy in peak periods.

How Old is Stonehenge?

It’s old. Very, very old, that’s for sure!

The first evidence of human history at Stonehenge goes as far back as 7000BC (9000 years ago, not long after the end of the Ice Age) with evidence showing 3 wooden tree trunks were raised close to where the original stones were ultimately positioned.

Around 5000 years ago the first stones – called Bluestone boulders - were brought to the site, having been quarried and then dragged from the Preseli Hills, 210 miles away in South West Wales.

Around 2500 years, larger stones – called Sarsen stones – were brought in from the Marlborough Downs which is around 22 miles to the north. Each stone is likely to have needed a minimum of 200 people to move them and historians believe it would have taken many years to clear a route and bring them to the area. These “sarsen stones” are what gives Stonehenge its world-famous silhouette.

How was it Built?

Due to the complexities of constructing Stonehenge, it had to be built and repositioned in several stages over a period of a thousand years. Even in modern times it would be a serious understanding, so for Stone Age hunters to achieve this without modern machinery or tools makes it even more of a magnificent undertaking. Awe inspiring really!

Stones would have been dragged across land for many miles, probably via wooden logs or on sleds greased to allow easier manoeuvring over rough ground.

Once on site, stone age engineers would have had to use counter-weights and dig pits, levering the stones up a bank and drop inside and then backfill with rubble. Someone at that time sat down and worked this out without being able to record their thoughts. An incredible achievement.

For more information on how we think Stonehenge was constructed this page below takes some beating!

Who Built Stonehenge?

During the medieval period through to the Victorian era many people assumed it was the Romans that had constructed Stonehenge. With the marvels of modern technology, archaeologists now know it was constructed by early Mesolithic hunter gatherers who, due to their nomadic ways, left very little trace of their activities. It just adds to the mystery of it all…

What makes Stonehenge World-Famous?

Regarded around the world as one of the most famous of British icons, Stonehenge is recognised as one of the most sophisticated prehistory masterpieces in the world. To this today it is the only surviving example of a lintelled stone circle.

Not only that, it has also given up evidence that shows it was one of the largest cremation cemeteries ever in Neolithic Britain, placing it at the very leading edge of modern archaeology techniques.

How Tall are the Stones?

The inner circle stones are around 20 feet tall, though one is about 30 feet tall. The outer stones are slightly smaller at 13 feet tall.

Something to note is that the standing stones were made slightly wider at the top which alters their appearance when viewed from below.

Stonehenge Map

To make things easier we've provided a couple of maps below for people to look at before visiting Stonehenge. Zoom in on the map below to get more detail. 


You can virtually explore Stonehenge via Google Earth too - Google also helpfully offers a highly immersive look via its Art and Culture section.

Once you're physically at this historical landmark we'd say it's best to use maps from the Visitor Centre to help you get around (though its fairly simple to be honest). 

Places to Eat After Your Visit to Stonehenge

After all that walking - certainly if you decline to take the bus you might want to find a pub or restaurant near Stonehenge to help you refuel. A few you might like to check out are as follows:

If you're heading back north after your trip then why not check out Country Pubs near Frome blog post? We've got a good dozen for you to check out.

Sally's Top Tips on Visiting Stonehenge

Living fairly close by I've taken the kids and visiting friends and family to Stonehenge on a good number of occasions and along the way I've picked up some "insider" tips that you might find quite useful:

  • The walk to the stones takes around 30 minutes and is along the 1.5 mile long road which the buses use which ferry people back and forth, these leave every 5 minutes from the visitor centre
  • On busy days the free buses can get a little overcrowded
  • If you are walking I suggest you take a drink with you - there aren't any refreshments served up by the stones
  • Stonehenge sits in an exposed position and can get really windy, take a jacket, you'll be glad you did!
  • The trail around the stones allows you on one side to get closer, the rest of the trail tends to keep you further away but this allows for different perspectives to view the stones
  • Prices for entry to Stonehenge can be somewhat steep, I recommend better value by purchasing membership to English Heritage which gives you unlimited access to well over 400 other historic places in the UK
  • There is a superb audio tour which you can download as an app onto your phone
  • The car park is large but in summer months it can get incredibly busy so I strongly recommend getting there early and leave by lunchtime when Stonehenge starts to get crowded
  • Don't turn up late for your booked time slot, certainly in the afternoon, or you may find you are refused entry
  • Take your time at the interactive museum and do check out the replica neolithic houses to see how Stone Age people would have lived
  • Do try to look for a guide or attendant up by the stones, they are usually easy to spot and can provide much more detail making your trip to Stonehenge even more memorable
  • Take your time, so many people rush up to the stones and then quickly leave, I say take it all in slowly and you'll enjoy it far more
  • If you're keen to take photos of the stones without people in front of them then you have to be patient, there's a lot of selfie taking going on and people sometimes don't notice if you're trying to take a decent photo

Stonehenge Videos on YouTube

To find out more why not watch this fascinating 360 video from English Heritage and find out more about this awe inspiring ancient monument?


Dan Snow also presents an hour long episode on the mysteries of Stonehenge, it's worth a watch.

Check Out Stonehenge on Instagram

With over 1 million visitors a year and it being one of the most popular attractions in the UK it comes as no surprise Stonehenge has its own Instgram page!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Stonehenge (@stonehenge)

Hopefully my detailed visitors guide to Stonehenge has given you enough details to make the trip (it's worth it) but if you think there is something missing do let me know and I'll look to add it.

If ancient history is your thing then Somerset has plenty of ancient Iron Age sites too for you to explore. 

After all that you might just want to rest and relax, over the county border, in some of the best country pubs in Somerset or feel free to stay a few nights in our Somerset holiday cottages!