Welcome to Britain’s most iconic archaeological site. This compelling ring of monolithic stones has been attracting a steady stream of pilgrims, poets and philosophers for the last 5000 years and is still a mystical, ethereal place – a haunting echo from Britain's forgotten past, and a reminder of those who once walked the ceremonial avenues across Salisbury Plain.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Stonehenge.
An ultramodern makeover at ancient Stonehenge has brought an impressive visitor centre and the closure of an intrusive road (now restored to grassland). The result is a strong sense of historical context, with dignity and mystery returned to an archaeological gem. A pathway frames the ring of massive stones. Although you can't walk in the circle, unless on a recommended Stone Circle Experience tour, you can get fairly close. Admission is through timed tickets – secure a place well in advance.
The highlight here is a 360-degree projection of Stonehenge through the ages and seasons – complete with midsummer sunrise and swirling star-scape. Engaging audiovisual displays detail the transportation of the stones and the building stages, while 300 finds include flint chippings, bone pins and arrowheads. There's also a strikingly lifelike model of the face of a Neolithic man whose body was found nearby. Outside you can step into recreations of Stone Age houses and watch rope-making and flint-knapping demonstrations.
Woodhenge is a series of six concentric rings that would once have been staked out by wooden posts (today, concrete markers do the job), and may have supported a building. Excavations in the 1970s revealed the skeleton of a child with a cloven skull buried near the centre. Woodhenge is some 1.5 miles east of Stonehenge, near Amesbury.