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Ultimate Guide To Visiting Stonehenge

Stonehenge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in the county of Wiltshire in England close to the cathedral city of Salisbury.

A trip to Stonehenge features high on many bucket lists for visitors to the UK (and with Brits themselves) and approximately 800,000 people choose to visit Stonehenge each year. 

Visiting Stonehenge from London takes approximately 2 1/2 hours making it an easy day trip from London by train. If you prefer a tour or are short on time you will find that Stonehenge is often combined with visits to other destinations such as Bath, Windsor and the Cotswolds.

If you prefer a private tour to Stonehenge we recommend My Tailored Tours which specialises in some of England’s top attractions, including Stonehenge, Bath, Windsor Castle, Salisbury and Glastonbury. Their Stonehenge experts will ensure you arrive at the stones before the large crowds so that you get the best possible experience for photos with your private tour guide.

Or if you like the idea of travelling to Stonehenge in the comfort of a London black cab we recommend Discover Real London which also offers a combined Stonehenge/Bath day tour.

To ensure you make the best of your visit you will find practical information, advice and tips in this article to help you plan your trip. This includes information about how to get to Stonehenge by car or train plus a curated list of the best day tour options to Stonehenge from London.


Stonehenge Entrance TicketCLICK TO BUYSkip the line
Private Driver Guided Tour with Discover Real LondonCLICK FOR INFOTravel in a London black cab
Private Driver Guided Tour with My Tailored ToursCLICK FOR INFOBeat the crowds + tour guide
From London: Stonehenge Express Half-Day TourCLICK FOR INFOPerfect for those with limited time
Stonehenge Special Access – Evening Tour from LondonCLICK FOR INFOAccess the inner circle
From London: Stonehenge Inner Circle & Windsor Day TripCLICK FOR INFOExclusive access to the stones + visit to Windsor
English Heritage Attractions PassCLICK FOR INFOExclusive to overseas visitors


Stonehenge is the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe. The stones were raised 4500 years ago as an ancient temple by prehistoric people.

2018 was the hundredth anniversary of the gifting of Stonehenge to the nation by local barrister Cecil Chubb and his wife Mary. Before this date the stones had fallen into disrepair with some of them even propped up by wooden poles. Since 1918 the stones have been cared for and are now looked after by English Heritage for the benefit of the nation.

An image of a lady Visiting Stonehenge.

Whilst the stones which comprise Stonehenge were set up around 2500 BC the actual monument complex dates back between 8500 and 7000 years BC.

It is believed that most of England was covered in trees and woodland while the area around Stonehenge was an open landscape and this is a possible reason why the area was chosen.


When you are visiting Stonehenge you will arrive at the visitor’s centre as your first port of call. The visitor’s centre is located 2.1 km (1.5 miles) from the Stone Circle, at Airman’s Corner.

The visitor centre at Stonehenge.

The visitor’s centre at Stonehenge consists of an exhibition, a café and a gift shop as well as an outdoor gallery where the reconstructed Neolithic houses can be found.  The exhibition is very good we spent quite some time reading and learning more about Stonehenge and the surrounding area.

Outside the centre are reconstructed Neolithic houses. You can enter the houses and gain some insight into how people lived 4500 years ago.

Neolithic village at Stonehenge.

There is also an example of the stones used to construct Stonehenge so you can get an idea of the sheer size. Can you imagine dragging this across the English countryside from Wales?

Example of a stone strapped to logs at Stonehenge.


To get to the stones you need to hop onto one of the free shuttle buses which leave from the visitor’s centre. The bus ride takes approximately 10 minutes. Buses leave every few minutes so don’t worry if you miss one as there will be another leaving soon after.

Download the free audio guide from the app store before you arrive or pick up an audio guide at the visitor’s centre for a small fee.

Visitor bus at Stonehenge.


The surrounding landscape is full of barrows – Bronze Age burial mounds. And standing at Stonehenge you really get a sense of how it looked during prehistoric times. During the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the heel stone and its rays shine into the heart of Stonehenge.

Stonehenge with the sunlight behind it.

The stones used in Stonehenge comprise of larger sarsens and smaller bluestones. While the sarsens make up an inner horseshoes and and outer circle the bluestones are set up between them and form a double arc.

The larger sarsen stones are made from hard silicified sandstone whilst the smaller bluestones are made from various types of rock all found in the Preseli Hills in south-west Wales.

The heel stone at Stonehenge.

The large upright stone which can be seen standing at the side of the Stone Circle is called the heel stone. Its significance becomes apparent during the summer solstice where it marks the position of the rising sun.

The heel stone and arrow pointing at Stonehenge.


How to purchase tickets for Stonehenge

I highly recommend that you plan your visit and book your tickets in advance.

Stonehenge is a major tourist attraction and is always busy whenever you visit even in winter. The stones are particularly busy during the summer solstice on June 20/21st and the winter solstice in December. At these times the stones are only open on a managed access basis. The alignment of the stones on the longest and shortest days attracts thousands of visitors and it is the only time you can go into the stone circle itself.

Entrance to Stonehenge is managed through timed tickets. If you want to guarantee entry on the day and time of your choice then you will have to pre-book tickets or book a tour.

Skip-the-queue tickets can be purchased through Get Your Guide (my tour operator of choice) and are highly recommended if you want to avoid crowds and queues.

Entry is free to members of English Heritage and members of the National Trust in England or those who hold a National Trust Touring Pass only though you still need to book your time slot.

If you are visiting from overseas and want to visit Stonehenge independently and are intending to visit more English Heritage owned properties I would recommend buying an English Heritage Attractions Pass.

This pass is only available to visitors from overseas. The pass entitles holders to free entry to over 100 English Heritage sites including Stonehenge, Dover Castle, Hadrian’s Wall and Tintagel Castle. 

Fields around Stonehenge and a marker stone showing the distance to London.

Common questions answered

When is the best time to visit Stonehenge?

I would recommend avoiding the solstices when Stonehenge is very busy. The summer months can also be a little challenging as those are peak holiday times for UK residents too (school holidays in England start mid July until the first week of September) Winter is darker, colder and quieter and you will need to wrap up warmly when you visit. 

When is the best time of day to visit Stonehenge?

I would recommend as early in the day as possible as the roads around Stonehenge can become gridlocked, particularly during the busy summer months. In winter it is dark around 4 pm so it is best to see the stones in the morning if you can.

Stonehenge visiting hours are 9:30 – 3:00 during the winter months and 9:30 – 5:00 over the spring/summer/autumn months. The last entry is 2 hours before closing time (so if you book a ticket for 3 pm in the winter Stonehenge closes at 5 pm)

How close can you get to the stones?

People often ask how close can you get to Stonehenge or if you can walk up to Stonehenge. The only time visitors are allowed in the circle is during the summer and winter solstice celebrations.

At all times visitors can walk around the stone circle. If you would rather walk up to Stonehenge from the visitor’s centre it is about a 40-minute walk.

Other essential tips to know before you visit Stonehenge

Wiltshire County Council also has a guide to travelling to Stonehenge which includes walking and cycling routes.

I would recommend checking out the weather forecast the day before your visit so you can dress appropriately.  Stonehenge is open air so wrap up warmly in winter and bring an umbrella if rain is on the horizon. If you are unsure of what to pack for your trip to the UK and Stonehenge you may like to read my packing list for the UK

Please note that dogs are not allowed in the Stone Circle Monument Field or on the shuttle bus (unless they are assistance dogs)

After viewing the stones catch the bus back to the visitor’s centre. If you are keen to purchase souvenirs of your visit you can find lots of Stonehenge gifts and merchandise in the Stonehenge gift shop in the centre.


There are several options available if you plan to visit Stonehenge from London.

Visiting Stonehenge by car 

Stonehenge is 145 km from London via the M3/A303 and A360. Come off the A360 at Airman’s Corner. 

If you are visiting during the summer allow plenty of time as the roads can become very busy around Stonehenge.

If you are visiting Stonehenge by car you will find parking is free for English Heritage members and Stonehenge ticket holders.

Use the postcode (zip code) SP4 7DE in your SATNAV/GPS.

Latitude: 51.1831565223

Longtitude : -1.85887471623

Visiting Stonehenge by train from London

The nearest train station to Stonehenge is Salisbury which is located 9 1.2 miles away. There is a tour bus which departs from the train station and connects with Stonehenge.

Click here for train prices and times to Salisbury.

Leaflet for Stonehenge and the tour bus for Stonehenge.
Stonehenge tour bus.

Visiting Stonehenge on a tour

If you are not planning to visit Stonehenge by car or take a day trip from London by train  I would recommend considering a tour. 

I have selected some of the best tours to Stonehenge for you including multi-centre tours.

There are many things to do between London and Stonehenge so I recommend adding other popular destinations such as Bath, the Cotswolds and Oxford into your trip.

London: Stonehenge Half-Day Morning or Afternoon Tour

This 6-hour tour from London includes transport, expert commentary with an audio guide and a scenic drive through Salisbury Plain. You will have 2 hours of free time to explore Stonehenge.


London: Stonehenge and Bath Full-Day Tour

Visit the iconic site of Stonehenge and uncover its mysteries with the aid of an informative audio guide tour and enjoy free time to explore the lovely city of Bath at your own leisure on this full-day tour departing from London. 


Windsor, Oxford and Stonehenge Day Tour from London

What better way to see the English countryside than with a day trip to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath from London? Discover the famous Roman Baths in Bath, look out for the Queen in Windsor, and see the world’s most famous stone circle.


Stonehenge, Stratford, Bath & Cotswolds Day Tour from London

Explore the region beyond London with a full-day excursion to sites of cultural and historical significance. Visit Stonehenge, see Shakespeare’s home at Stratford-upon-Avon, explore the gorgeous city of Bath and admire the picturesque Cotswolds hills.


Enjoy your trip to Stonehenge

To learn more about Stonehenge before your visit, look at the Stonehenge Skyscape website. It was created to let viewers see the skies above Stonehenge and learn how the stones aligned with the sun, moon and planets. It is an excellent website and you can see the stones in real time (day or night) 

Enjoy your visit to Stonehenge whether you travel there independently or take a tour it is worth including in your UK travel itinerary. 

Ultimate Guide to Visiting Stonehenge
Visiting Stonehenge A Guide