Stonehenge for the Equinox
|Everyone wants a photo of themselves at Stonehenge, don't they?|
We got on a bus tour with Golden Tours, the same outfit we used to see Warner Bros. Studios for the Harry Potter Tour. They have a variety of tours which include Stonehenge, but we chose the 11 hour tour, which included stops at Windsor Castle and Bath as well. It was a long day but with stops and time for snacks, walking around and sightseeing, it went incredibly well.
Stonehenge was our second stop of the day, and we arrived about 1:00. Coaches and private cars are only allowed to park about a quarter mile from the visitor center. Everyone then walks to the visitor center where you take one of the park buses another mile out to the circle of stones, which is roped off. They made this change about 18 months ago because of conservation efforts. In my opinion, this is much better than what I heard existed before. You can't actually get up close to the stones, but then neither can anyone else. This allows you to take better photos and to see it in its entirety from a short distance. The use of buses ensures it is never so crowded you can't see the stones. There is a walkway around the entire area so you can see it from different vantage points. In the early days of tourism, it was a parking nightmare and people were allowed between the stones. Sometimes there was graffiti and that's when preservation plans took over.
The surrounding land is managed by the National Trust and it's public land, which means anyone can walk there. On this special date, there were some people in colorful costumes dancing in the adjoining fields (some called them hippies), I'm assuming to celebrate the equinox. They had tents set up there. I was told the crowds are huge for the summer solstice.
|Stonehenge- an ancient temple aligned on the movements of the sun|
|Some of the Solstice dancers|
|Cafe inside the visitors center|
|You could hike to Old Sarum|
|New visitors center|