We couldn’t believe that we had taken so long to visit Stonehenge. Especially as it is closer than many of the other places in the world we have visited. But we finally planned the trip and I have to admit, exploring Stonehenge is something we had put off for too long.
So, this ancient site is one of the most historic monuments in English history. It was built about 5,000 years ago and has meant different things to different people throughout the years. I think it is amazing that the engineering and precision to erect the stones was around so long ago.
The larger sarsens were put in place first and the smaller bluestones were originally laid as a horseshoe then re-arranged a few hundred years later! Stonehenge is “the most architecturally sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the world” according to English Heritage.
Exploring the Stones
From the visitor centre you can walk or take the bus which is included in the price. Being with our two-year-old we opted to take the bus journey. It only takes about five minutes to reach the stones and you can ask to get off earlier if you want a short walk to the monument. Exploring Stonehenge is easy on foot. Walk from the bus stop to the edge of the stone circle and enjoy the view. Then you walk around the entire circumference, within a designated roped-off area. Once you arrive at the stone circle you can spend as much time as you like here.
There are also interesting facts on the boards and members of English Heritage staff around to help with information if required.
As I walked around it was exceptional to see how different the place looked from alternative angles. I took so many pictures! I couldn’t help it, I saw it differently every few steps I took, it’s quite fascinating. One thing that I found strange was the lack of feeling I got. I’m not sure if anyone else feels the same but I get a feeling of history in some places I visit. In Machu Picchu and Chichen Itza, for example, I felt the presence of a deep history. But that didn’t happen here, maybe because I was expecting it.
We visited the Neolithic Houses when we got off the bus. Just imagine living in these houses. Our daughter tried out all the straw beds and it was interesting how through the ages they got more comfortable, especially when furs were used. The weapons and cooking exhibits were great too.
The Visitor Centre
I was really impressed with the exhibits in the centre especially the 360 video exhibit showing the stone circle through the seasons and the ages. It even impressed our two-year-old! She was memorised by the changing skies, seasons and years shown on the film.
Within the exhibition, there are over 250 objects on show which were discovered within the ancient landscape. I am always amazed at what is found intact from such a long time ago. And the skills people had, it seems we have always been quite creative as people.
There is also an excellent gift shop and a cafe on site too, so if you wish to stay and browse the shop and grab a bite to eat you can.
Exploring Stone Henge As A Family
I think Stone Henge is a great family friendly place to visit. There is plenty to see and do and of course lots of space for little ones to run around. Our girl has learned from an early age about the power of a “roped off area” being a no-go zone. But it is easy to keep children entertained here. The best thing is she tells us about the big stones at Stone Henge she has visited (just like Go Jetters..).