In December 2015 we went down to one of the most visited attractions in the UK - Stonehenge - to see one of the most eagerly awaited events of the year - the Winter Solstice.
What is the Winter Solstice?
But why come to Stonehenge on the Winter Solstice?
And it wasn't just nearby folks, from recently found evidence, we know that people were coming from as far north as Scotland(!) Don't forget, this was way way before Megabus was invented. There would be no cheapy bus there. You'd have to walk, or maybe take a horse.
So, why come to Stonehenge for the Winter Solstice? Because it's something our ancestors did thousands and thousands of years ago AND it's the reason Stonehenge was built.
What it's like to visit Stonehenge on the Winter Solstice
Nevertheless, the relaxed vibe was still there and then the moon came out!
Stonehenge was used not only as a calendar to map the sun's progress (i.e. to tell when a year had gone by). It was also used to map the moon's progress (i.e. months)! This was pretty unusually for this time - most stone monuments either mapped the moon OR the sun, not both.
The inoffensive rope
Whilst we didn't witness the sunset, we did witness a few pagans (and their dog) jump the Stonehenge rope and run inside the circle.
They respected the rocks and didn't touch them, so it wasn't really a bad thing to do, BUT if everyone jumps that rope, soon it will turn into a concrete wall (think Berlin Wall) and no one will ever be allowed near the stones again. Which would be sad. What else can you do near Stonehenge?
Seeing the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge truly was magical, but the adventures didn't stop there, and they don't have to for you either:
Last time we went to Stonehenge, we visited nearby Salisbury. This time we did it again and even stayed with my lovely Godmother and her lovely son (thanks Polly and Zak)!
We definitely recommend visiting Salisbury, read all about it on our Stonehenge and Salisbury post!
If you'd like to touch some super ancient stones but don't want to jump a rope and get told off by Stonehenge security, head to Avebury! Avebury is actually older than Stonehenge, and you can touch the stones!
Weasels recommend: in the centre of the stones is an old British pub which is actually super cute, has great food, isn't too expensive, and isn't a Wetherspoons!!
Between Stonehenge and Avebury is the infamous Silbury Hill. This one reminded us of the volcanic hills on the Azores, but it is actually 100% human made.
It's a whopping 30 m/98 ft tall! And the tallest prehistoric human-made mound in Europe (haha ours is taller than yours).
Where to stay when you visit all these ancient things
We think Avebury, Silbury Hill and Stonehenge can be done in a day, if you stay somewhere close. We of course recommend Salisbury. Here are a few ideas of places to stay:
Prices are usually around £100 for a night's stay, but if you book with Agoda you can usually get around 20% off!
For a really good deal, try booking Hotel Qudos through Agoda, prices will then be about £50.
To find more good hotels in Salisbury have a browse here.
We're Laura and Tanbay, a British/German couple who have successfully weaselled our way out of the rat-race and want you to do the same! We also want to make it clear that we sometimes use “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.