Review: A visit to Stonehenge


Though I won’t always make a habit of blogging about destinations I visit it was mentioned to me by fellow Bloggers, BRUGESVEGAN.COM (written by two people and whose blog I recommend), that they would be interested in my thoughts on Stonehenge having visited there themself/ves in the 70’s and once again in 2008.

I had never been to Stonehenge before today but I have begun, as I’ve grown older, to become as fascinated with history as I am with science fiction. I never thought this would be the case as, when I was at school, both the Geography teacher and History teacher were devoid of any genuine interest in their subjects and this in turn inspired disinterest in me. But, as I mentioned, I have become more interested in where we came from, what brought us to this moment in time and, in England, one of the best sites to see this in action and also just to see one of our great historical achievements…is at Stonehenge.

There is adequate access to the site and generous parking, though it should be noted that we did not visit in peak season so this might prove to be less generous than I’m assuming.

NEOLITHIC HOUSES

One of the first things you’ll come across on your tour of the monument is a small collection of mock Neolithic houses from around 4,500 years ago. Here you can look inside to see how basic and bare people’s homes were back then. Also there are scheduled times when tour guides will give talks about the buildings or will even demonstrate old crafts.

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EXHIBITION

At the well laid out exhibition centre projected displays, physical exhibits and audio commentaries give much more detail on the probable origins of Stonehenge and, using CGI and other graphical displays, explains how it might have once been built and eventually have looked once fully constructed.

On display are jewellery, pottery, tools and human remains all discovered during earlier excavations. There is also a forensically guided reconstruction of a mans’ face who’s bones were found at the site dating back around 5,500 years.

The displays and the reconstruction are all really interesting and are of a very high quality. They really do demonstrate the care and attention that the English Heritage has put into its’ work on this site.

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Inside the exhibition centre is a 360 degree projected view of the stones in which you can stand and watch as the stone circle cycles through the winter and summer solstice. This is a really nicely developed exhibit and gives a great feeling of connection somehow. I know it’s a modern computer graphic of an ancient site but once standing there with all the sights and sounds and whilst watching almost ghostly figures walking around the stones, it was very easy to feel somehow more connected to the experience.

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CAFÉ

Whilst in the Café my wife and I ate a Cheese ploughman’s lunch, a Sweet Chilli Noodle meal, tea, coffee and, of course, what else would you eat at Stonehenge but Rock cakes?

This all came to £20 and though this isn’t the cheapest, it’s certainly not a rip off in any way and any profits will go back into English Heritage so what’s not to like?

The food itself was of a good standard though the stand out moment was definitely the rock cake!

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SHOP

The shop was very well stocked with everything from T shirts, jewelry, mugs, pens, fridge magnets and, of course, Stonehenge Monopoly.

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STONE CIRCLE

The stone circle itself stands in a huge site within Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. The site of the stone circle is impressive but to fully appreciate its’ importance it is worth imagining what it took to accomplish such an incredibly arduous engineering feat.

Access is via either foot or by a shuttle service that runs very regularly. Once at the site you have free access around the stones but, obviously due to wear and tear, you are restricted from touching the stones themselves. This however is not needed as the mere sight of the structure is impressive and if you take the time to absorb the moment it’s quite easy to take that imaginative step back in time to when these would have been the focal point that it once was.

For anyone wanting to listen to STONEHENGE AUDIO TOUR whilst there, audio devices are available in several different languages whilst the tour is also available as a free download on either Apple iStore or on Android’s Play service.

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I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the site and, though our admission was included within our English Heritage memberships, I still thought that the normal admission fee was reasonably priced.

The exhibition is really impressive and the stones themselves, and the history that they reveal to us, is staggering. I highly recommend taking the time to go and visit the site if you can and I have included links below to The English Heritage Site.

English Heritage

Stonehenge

Thanks to Brugesvegan whose link I also include here: BRUGESVEGAN.COM

As ever, if you have any questions please feel free to leave comments or contact me at

http://ned@thewayofthesquirrelbooks.com/