We went to Stonehenge on our last full day in London. We took a day trip which started at 1PM and we didn't get back to London until about 10PM. This included a trip to Avebury and stops at a burial mound as well. We went in a small 'bus' or van that held 14 passengers. There were two such buses, so the total number of people was 27 on the trip. This was important to us, because of picture taking at Stonehenge.
Stonehenge has become the most popular tourist attraction in England. It is also the oldest. It is estimated that Stonehenge was possibly started as early as 2950 B.C. and may have taken 1500 years to complete. If this is true then the site is as old or older than the pyramids. If you are interested in a brief history of the site check this link:
Due to it's popularity visitors are no longer allowed complete access to the stones. Instead visitors have to stay on a path some yards away from the circle. That is, unless you are on a special tour such as ours. The main reason for the "fence" is the great number of tourists, you couldn't get pictures of the stones, just people, if all were allowed full access. Our tour was scheduled to arrive after closing, about 7:30PM and we were allowed "up close and personal". Since it doesn't get dark in England this time of year until about 10PM, we had lots of time to take pictures. We were able to get lots of shots with few people in them, some with no one.
Before we went to Stonehenge, we visited Avebury. This is also a stone circle (England has 130 of them, of which Stonehenge is the best known). The circle at Avebury is much larger than Stonehenge, but the stones are smaller. And a small village was built right in the middle of the stone circle, to say nothing of the road running through it.
Glenda actually got in some trouble on this tour with our bus driver. We were not warned to take food with us on the tour and there was little opportunity to stop for dinner. So at Avebury, right before we left, we hurried into the small cafe and bought scones and water. Our driver admonished us to be careful eating on the bus since he was fined if he brought it back trashy. Glenda was a bit messy eating the crumbly scone, and the driver actually called us back and showed us the crumbs on the floor and shamed us. But he was good natured about it. He also was very interested in 'crop circles' and talked a lot about them. If you have seen the movie Signs you will know about crop circles. They appear often in this region of England.
And then to Stonehenge.
We entered and we were requested to take some pictures before going inside the stone circle so that everyone could get pictures without people in them. I snapped several and walked around the circle snapping pictures, as did Glenda. Then we entered the inner circle and spent at least an hour right in the heart of Stonehenge. It was a highlight of our vacation. We could touch the stones and stand beside them and take pictures amongst them.
Yes that is Glenda standing beneath two of the Trilithons
After a bit we stopped taking pictures and just look in awe and wonder (at one point there were tears in Glenda's eyes). As I said, it was a spiritual experience. Here is a monument - possibly religious in nature (it is unclear why it was built) - that is almost 5000 years old. If you ever get a chance to visit London, be sure and check on day trips that allow you to go into the stones of Stonehenge. It is an experience not to be missed.
Next - To Ireland