Thursday, June 20, 2013

{Day Trip} Stone Henge and Summer Solstice

Stone Henge is on my mind today because it is the Summer Solstice! Of course, it will be crowded today so I will avoid it at all costs! Stone Henge is known for being a sacred site. There Stone Henge has special hours today to accommodate those visitors wishing to worship and celebrate on site during the Summer Solstice.
One of my favorite pictures we have taken of Stone Henge!

We live about a 30 minute drive from Stone Henge and have been there several times. Our annual membership with English Heritage gets us in as many times as we want, as well as entrance to other historic sites across the United Kingdom.

I am always amazed each time I pass by it. Gavin has always called them "rocks". It's adorable! Stone Henge is a nice place to let him run along the path and get some energy out, especially if I need to go there to buy some of my favorite English Heritage jam! I've learned the "sweet spots" to take photos and let visitors know where the best photo opportunities are!

This was our first trip to see the "rocks" in 2011. Gavin was 2 years old then!

Last year I had the opportunity to go into the inner circle! That was an unexpected treat! You can read about my experience here. The inner circle is usually roped off. Access is by appointment only before and after normal operating hours.

There are some HUGE changes happening with Stone Henge. They are closing off the main road that brings you to the car park for the entrance this year. A visitor center is in the process of being built that will include a café, shop, education space, exhibition galleries, membership area and toilets.  The visitor center will also include an outdoor gallery, complete with Neolithic houses. The gently rolling roof is meant to blend in with the "rolling hills of the Salisbury Plains", the surrounding landscape. From the visitor center you can either walk to the stones or take a shuttle. Lucky us, we will be here for the opening in December 2013!

The second phase of the project will be from January through June 2014. They will be closing the existing facilities and returning the car park to a grass area. It will take some time for the grass to grow in, but I think it will look great!

You can read more about Stone Henge by clicking this link that will direct you to the English Heritage website.

What?! An update to this post already?! Yep, keeping you informed! That's what its all about!

UPDATE from the English Heritage Facebook page on June 21, 2013: 21,000 people gathered at Stonehenge to celebrate the summer solstice today. Last night there was a beautiful sunset and the moon was clearly visible, however low cloud came in over night obscuring the sunrise. The atmosphere throughout the night was peaceful and good-natured with spontaneous drumming and cheering within the stone circle. English Heritage would like to thank everyone who made the solstice celebration possible.

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