Is Stonehenge worth seeing? It was one of the first destinations I ticked off my bucket list. Although I’ve heard some people are disappointed, I was amazed when I finally got to see Stonehenge for real during my gap year in England in 2009. Let me explain why…
I come from Brittany, the western area of France, where it is not surprising to find stones rising from the ground. The Celtic culture is very strong there. Although I know that Stonehenge was built from -2,800BC, long before the Iron Age Celts arrived in Britain, it is still highly associated with the Druids and the Celtic culture I love.
Since I am a kid, I’ve loved to play the video game Civilization. Stonehenge is one of the first wonders available in the game. I would always try to build it to earn the bonus power to help my civilisation get more culture from early on, as I was often aiming to win with the culture strategy (that’s the domain for which French are powerful in the game…!).
The mystery around Stonehenge is fascinating.
Who built it? How? Why? I’ve read many theories and debates. Will we ever be sure we have the right answer?
Considering the tools they had at that time, it is a wonder of engineering. The monument is huge. A lot more impressive than I thought. And when you take a moment to think about the size of the rock that needs to be buried for these stones to stand like this… It’s unbelievable.
What to expect when you visit Stonehenge
When I visited it back in 2009, access to Stonehenge was fenced. You could see the monument from a distance outside but to get closer to the rocks, you’d have to pay a fee. As my aim was to have a look at the henge as a whole, I didn’t mind being far away so I chose not to pay at all. If you are touring England, have a look at the English Heritage Pass: the access to Stonehenge is included in the pass and can be a great deal if you plan to visit other attractions.
I know the visitor centre has changed since my visit. You can check the latest TripAdvisor reviews* if you want to get a better idea of what to expect. It seems that you are no longer allowed to go around the rocks, and you now need to pay to see them from far away. It’s unfortunate to remove the human scale next to them; it was a great way to enhance the impressive size of the monument. I understand the disappointment of some visitors when they get there. Still, I believe it is necessary to make hard decisions to protect these very touristy monuments.
There are many other sites – not as impressive I agree – where we can still play around the rocks. Let’s preserve the beauty of the biggest and most popular ones!
Stonehenge is worth seeing if you combine your visit with other places
I wouldn’t recommend driving all the way from London just to see Stonehenge. There are other sites that you can visit while you are in the area. For those fascinated by the Celtic culture and henge monuments, or for those who want a closer experience, I recommend checking out Avebury, which is
For those fascinated by the Celtic culture and henge monuments, or for those who want a closer experience, I recommend checking out Avebury, which is only a 40min drive from Stonehenge. There are a few day tours from London* that can take you there in addition to Stonehenge, or to other beautiful cities such as Oxford, Bath or Salisbury.
Do you think Stonehenge is worth seeing? Share your experience in the comments below!
Where is Stonehenge?
Stonehenge is located in the South of England. From London, it will take you about 2 hours to get there. Trains bring you to the nearby Salisbury and buses will take you all the way to Amesbury, which is then just a short walk from the monument. If you don’t book a tour, driving is the easiest option. But keep in mind you’ll need to pay a fee to park your car (£3 when I went there). Find more details on how to get there here.
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