Today was our four year wedding anniversary and we wanted to mark the occasion by doing something special, but also affordable. We’re saving the last of our spending money this month for U.K. Vegan Campout, so we’re very aware that every penny we spend right now is less spending money on amazing vegan junk food in a couple of weeks!
In this blog post I will share my honest review of Stonehenge and lots of photos. ￼
Our first visit to Stonehenge
Visit Stonehenge for free with National Trust or English Heritage membership
We were actually pretty shocked at the Stonehenge entry prices. It was going to be over £40 as a family of four, so we signed up as members to the National Trust instead!
It’s something we’ve been considering for a while and seemed much better value at £10.50 per month for an annual membership. Plus I was able to get cashback here which makes it even cheaper!
We’ll get free entry and parking at around 500 locations throughout the UK.
We received some temporary National Trust membership cards and a parking pass via email which meant we could visit Stonehenge as part of our membership.
It’s actually an English Heritage site, with the surrounding fields managed by National Trust so you can enter for free on either membership.
I spent an evening researching both and they both look like great memberships, so we plan to do NT for at least a year and then swap to EH.
It should save us a small fortune on days out as a family as well as giving us plenty of inspiration for places to visit 🙂
You could of course simply pay for entry once you arrive at Stonehenge, or another great way to visit is via an organised tour.
If you’re staying in London then check out tour operators who not only offer tours of Stonehenge, but other nearby historical towns and attractions too, so you can fill a day and explore more than Stonehenge for a great price.
By booking a tour you will find out some great information about the history of Stonehenge which I’ll explore below. It’s really fascinating and something that baffles people globally! How did they move such enormous rocks?!
Stonehenge is an ancient wonder of the world
I’ve always known about Stonehenge, but this was my first visit. To me it was a place that had to be seen at least once in a lifetime. Ben remembers going as a youngster, but maybe age 12 with his family and so luckily he was keen to go again.
It’s a wonder of the world that’s surrounded by theory and mystery. This prehistoric monument of strategically placed gigantic rocks is probably the most famous landmark in England.
It’s up to 5000 years old and seeing the size of the stones in person makes it even more incredible.
How did they get the rocks to Stonehenge?
Without machinery just how did they manage to bring rocks of such humongous proportions to this site, let alone get the giant boulders to lay across the top?! It’s very impressive.
Ben and the kids attempted to pull one of the huge sarsen stones (a type of sandstone), but it would have required 100 strong men to pull this along. They weigh 25 tons each and came from around 30km away. Crazy!
Even crazier is the smaller bluestone rocks (2-5 tons each) that were from 190km away in Preseli Hills, SW Wales! What a distance to transport rocks of this size with their limited tools and lack of machinery!
I also now understand why the holiday resort is called Bluestone in Wales!
My review of Stonehenge
When we pulled into the Stonehenge visitor centre we were really amazed at the number of cars! I knew it would be busy, but wow!
We’d had to book a half hour slot when pre-booking our tickets which signalled how popular the site is, but you can also buy tickets on the door too!
Whether we visited on a particularly busy day I don’t know, but there were signs to say it was very busy and to expect long waiting times.
There were also signs to pay £5 for parking, but we weren’t charged or we totally missed the pay machines! It did say it was refunded at the ticket office.
We managed to skip the long queue at the ticket office as we had printed prepaid tickets so someone scanned us in and gave us wristbands.
We explored the museum for a short while until the kids were yanking our arms to get outside!
Outside the visitor centre we were greeted by replica Neolithic Houses which the kids loved!
Based on remains found in archaeological digs, these are the type of houses they believe the workers of Stonehenge lived in.
I’d not looked at anything about Stonehenge before visiting and didn’t know if it was literally just the rocks to see, so the visitor centre and houses were a great treat.
Sometimes I prefer to travel ‘blind’ and have no expectations!
The car park and visitor centre are out of view of Stonehenge which is around a 20 minute walk, but there’s also a shuttle bus. I’d definitely recommend walking, but with the kids in tow we got the bus to the stones and walked back (with lots of whinging from our four year old!!)
It definitely would have been more magical ascending upon the stones by foot. It also really makes you imagine being a person all those thousands of years ago and how wondrous this site must have been.
It was super busy with other visitors, like hundreds, maybe even one thousand as they get up to 9000 visitors a day during peak periods. I thought it might ruin the experience, but it was actually fine.
We managed to get some great photos and there was plenty of space, both paths and grassland, all around the stones for everyone to have a good look and take numerous photos.
Everyone was very mindful of each other taking photos and gave plenty of space.
We were free to explore the stones (from the boundary) at our own pace.
Stonehenge is a must-see destination in my opinion. Although we may never know it’s true purpose, it’s so incredible to see the sheer size of the stones in person and be in awe of how it was constructed 5000 years ago. Wow!