Stonehenge. It’s a landmark that’s gone down in the history books for its iconic mythology. At approximately 5,000 years old, it’s one of Britain’s earliest icons, and how Stonehenge came to be is a mystery. No-one knows for sure how such large stones could have possibly been moved by humans, though legend has it that Merlin brought the stones to England from a giant’s monument in Ireland. Whatever happened, it’s no wonder that this UNESCO World Heritage site is one of Britain’s most popular days out, with 1.6 million visitors each year.
With great public transport links, Stonehenge is a fantastic choice for a day trip. Enjoy a tour of the mysterious stones, which tower over human heads at around four meters high or attend one of the solstice events that take place. You might even catch sight of a bride and groom celebrating their big day on the site – yes, you can even get married at Stonehenge!
Ready to unravel the mystery of these world-famous rocks? Find out everything you need to know about visiting this landmark with our handy guide, including trains to Stonehenge, how to get there, what to do, booking tickets and more.
Where is Stonehenge?
Stonehenge is located in the county of Wiltshire in South West England. The monument is in the charming parish of Amesbury and there are several other prehistoric sites within three miles of the stone circle. It lies approximately nine miles north of the nearest city, Salisbury.
How to get to Stonehenge?
You might think that a historical site of this grandeur would be hard to get to. Thankfully, there are plenty of great transport options to choose from. As parking is limited on site, it’s a good idea to choose one of the public transport options available. This will help to avoid queues in traffic and long waits for parking, particularly on the weekend.
Travelling by train
One of the easiest ways to get to Stonehenge is to take the train to Salisbury, where there are plenty of local transport options to the site.
Once you’re at Salisbury station, the most common option is to take the Stonehenge Tour bus which runs directly from the station. You can choose either a Bus Only or Tour Included fare, and the trip takes around 35 minutes each way.
You could also choose to take a taxi, which takes around 15 minutes, or if it’s particularly nice weather, keen cyclists can even take their bike on the train and cycle the rest of the way.
Of course, the first stop for anyone visiting Stonehenge is the stone circle itself. Get the most out of your visit by downloading an audio tour on your phone ahead of your visit, so that you can learn more about the site and its history.
Your ticket includes entry to the Stonehenge Exhibition Centre, where you can find out even more about the myths and legends, and if you want to go inside the stone circle itself then you can opt for the VIP Stone Circle Experience.
The landmark’s official website has sample itineraries suitable for all time frames and desires, from a two-hour tour to a whole day exploring the historic sites and museums of Wiltshire. Whatever you’re looking for, you’re sure to find plenty of fantastic things to do in Stonehenge.
Tickets for Stonehenge
You can buy tickets online from several different sellers, including English Heritage, where you’ll also find the latest prices and opening times. There are various opening times and certain rules that apply when visiting Stonehenge, so check before you go.
If you’re visiting more than one English Heritage site in Britain, you might want to become a member. That way, you can enjoy unlimited access to hundreds of historic places for yourself and up to 6 children for one low annual cost. From majestic castles to historic houses, such as Osborne House, there’s so much to explore with your membership.
One of the most popular spectacles at Stonehenge is the summer solstice, where the sun rises behind the heel stone (the ancient entrance to the stone circle) and rays of sunlight are channelled into the centre of the monument. In 1971, the organisers of Glastonbury Festival even decided to time the start of their legendary weekend to coincide with this magical natural event.
The winter solstice sees the sun setting in a similar formation, and pagan druids lead a gathering of worship. Entry to these seasonal events must be bought separately to a regular entry ticket.
Also in the area
While you’re visiting Stonehenge, there’s plenty more to do in the beautiful parish of Amesbury and its surrounding areas. Bring your walking gear and take a stroll to the historical homes of Woodford, or visit Old Sarum, the Iron Age fort which is the oldest settlement site in Salisbury. The bus back to Salisbury station from Stonehenge stops at Old Sarum, so you can easily hop off and explore.
There are also several other prehistoric sites within two miles of Stonehenge, including Woodhenge (a similar circle made of short timber), the Neolithic settlements of Durrington Walls (or “Superhenge”) and Bluestonehenge, the Iron Age hillfort of Vespasian’s Camp, and the Bronze Age site of Bush Barrow.
Of course, the city of Salisbury is a great stop for shopping and a bite to eat before you hop on the train back home. If you’re taking the bus back from Stonehenge, get off at Salisbury New Canal Stand U, right in the heart of the city.
Food and drinks
There is just one café in the visitor centre at Stonehenge, which serves food in picnic style sustainable packaging and they operate a zero-waste policy. Guests are also welcome to bring their own picnic to Stonehenge to enjoy.
After your trip to the stone circle, enjoy dinner at one of the fantastic eateries in Salisbury. Try the traditional fare of the 14th century Bell & Crown pub on Catherine Street, or head to Anokaa for a modern take on classic Indian dishes.
Hotels near Stonehenge
You’ll find some fantastic places to stay in the heart of Salisbury. Just a 10-minute walk along the river you’ll find the Milford Hall Hotel & Spa on Castle Street. This luxurious accommodation is set in a Georgian mansion which combines historical charm with a modern twist.
For another stay steeped in history, try the Rose & Crown Hotel on the River Avon. This 13th-century inn has maintained all of its best Tudor features while providing a luxury modern charm. The Pembroke Arms in Wilton also has nine rooms, with fake-peeling woods and ornate bedsteads fit for royalty.
The team at Stonehenge has worked with a number of access groups to create a visitor experience that everyone can enjoy. In fact, the site was named the most accessible heritage site in the UK by UK Age Mobility in 2019.
You can find out more about access at Stonehenge, as well as what features are offered for people with mobility needs, older visitors, blind or visually impaired visitors, those who are deaf or hard of hearing, people with learning difficulties and people with specific culinary or dietary needs.
Now that you’ve chosen your destination, it’s time to plan your travel. Find cheap train tickets by travelling off-peak and enjoy further discounts with a Railcard. If you’re travelling in a group, you could benefit from GroupSave. And don’t forget to check out SWR Rewards hub for exclusive discounts on dining deals, theatre tickets, hotel stays, days out and much more.