Stongehenge as the sun is going down

Stonehenge ()

No one is quite sure how the circle of stones that make up Stonehenge was created or for what purpose. However, we do know that Stonehenge dates back to 2500 BCE and that theories for its purpose range from a druids’ temple to having something to do with the sun’s movements. It was one of the first sites in the U.K. to be made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. No matter how the stones got here or why they were placed there, Stonehenge and the surrounding area are still great places to visit.

Visiting Stonehenge: Stonehenge is open every day of the year except Christmas Day. Book in advance to ensure that you get in, and trust me on this one, get there as close to opening as possible to avoid massive crowds. We arrived by car about thirty minutes after opening and there were still parking spots available, but when we left about two hours later, there was almost no parking available. Upon arrival, you can buy tickets at the entrance. There is a small exhibit about Stonehenge and an exhibit outdoors recreating a village near the time of the creation of Stonehenge. You can then either walk about thirty minutes up the path to Stonehenge (my choice) or take the free shuttle bus for a quick ride. We took about forty-five minutes to walk around the stones and take pictures. There was an optional free audio guide as well. You cannot walk inside the stones without a special reservation; these tickets are limited and available outside of opening hours at the starting price of 59 pounds for adults.

*Tip: Buy your souvenirs before you go out to the stones. We didn’t, and the store, with its adjoining café, was packed to the brim with visitors when we returned. So much so that we just decided to skip souvenir shopping and be happy with our pictures.

Salisbury Cathedral: While Stonehenge is great, it is, at the end of the day, a group of cool historical rocks that do not take an entire day to visit. We ended up getting a hotel about twenty minutes down the road from Stonehenge in Salisbury. Salisbury is a quaint little town that is home to a beautiful cathedral that houses one of four remaining original copies of the Magna Carta, a human rights document was first enacted in England in the 13th century. It has been the basis for other documents such as the American Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. The cathedral is also home to many famous burial sites, beautiful stained-glass windows and the world’s oldest operating mechanical clock.

Exterior of Salisbury Cathedral; white cloud behind Cathdral tower

Exterior of Salisbury Cathedral ()

The Town of Salisbury: The town also features a museum featuring local art and history with artifacts dating back thousands of years. Salisbury has a fantastic town center filled with pubs, restaurants and shops. My favorite little store was the My Comic Soda Bar which had tons of pop culture items, toys, comics and a place to enjoy sodas and snacks. I picked up a Sailor Moon soda that would have cost me twice as much in Germany. The Bridge Tap features a great lunch and drink deal where you can combine a pizza, burger or sandwich with a drink of your choice for as little as 10 pounds. Wagamama, one of my favorite chain Asian restaurants, featured fantastic drinks and udon. My spouse especially loved the bao buns; he ate eight of them.

Row of older looking buildings in downtown Salisbury

Downtown Salisbury ()

This two-spot stop makes for a great weekend away in the U.K.

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Tamala Malerk is a writer and editor with Stars and Stripes Europe. She has been with SSE since April 2022 writing articles all about travel, lifestyle, community news, military life and more. In May 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in History and promises it is much more relevant to this job than one might think.

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