Weekend trip to Stonehenge and Avebury
Stonehenge is one of the major tourist attractions in the UK, attracting over one million visitors each year. Dating back to 3100 BC and said to have taken 300 million hours to build, this prehistoric monument is steeped in history. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with Avebury, Stonehenge consists of a group of stone monuments that form an impressive circular pattern. Believed to have been a burial site, in its early stages, the site is steeped in folklore and is still used for sunrise ceremonies.
There is lot to see and learn about at the site itself, with a world class visitor center that features an information kiosk, exhibitions and guided tours. Learn about the construction of the stones themselves, the people that built them and how they would have lived their lives in the Neolithic period. There is a good cafe and shop in the visitor centre, with full amenities that allow for a comfortable day out. The site is busy all year round but you may like to go outside of school summer holidays, if you want a slightly quieter experience.
Neighboring Avebury is listed under the same World Heritage status and is home to, less famous, but larger prehistoric stone. Owned and managed by the National Trust, Avebury also has an excellent visitor center, where you can explore the history of both the sites.
If you are feeling energetic and are looking for a challenge, why not take a super trek between the 2 sites. If you are looking for a history fix beyond Stonehenge and Avebury, head into the center of Salisbury to visit its impressive cathedral and the original Magna Carta. Salisbury is also home to a vibrant art scene, with the Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival a popular annual event in May/June. During the festival, you can enjoy local food at its best, with many independent restaurants and regular farmers’ markets to be found. Carter 1227 is a hidden gem and a great choice for dinner and for lunch head to The Walnut Tree Gallery, for a nice spot of lunch with an added art fix.
How to Reach
Stonehenge is a 2.5 hour drive from London, along the M3 and A303. If you are taking the train, a direct service runs from Waterloo to Salisbury. You can take a local bus or cab from Salisbury to the site. Road distances between Avebury and Stonehenge are 24 miles via Devizes, 29 m via Marlborough.
Where to Stay
Cricket Field House is a 4 star B&B in the heart of Salisbury, making it a great base to explore Stonehenge and the surrounding area. For a central hotel, The Pembroke Arms offers a traditional stay with an added bit of fancy. Howard’s House Hotel is also a great choice, if you want to explore the great Wiltshire countryside. The hotel offers great afternoon tea and will supply you with a picnic hamper, for your day trips.
Image source : Wikimedia Commons