Results 11-20of 34 Reviews
by The Breeze
April 16, 2006
From journal London Side-trips
Cary, North Carolina
August 3, 2005
I learned that the current Stonehenge is not the first "henge" to be built on this site. I also learned how the pieces were crafted to fit together, which must have taken a long time. The audio tour also included some optional information to listen to, including myths and legends around Stonehenge.
I learned some of the theories about how Stonehenge was actually put in place and some of the mysterious things surrounding it.
But what really caught my attention were the clouds. Stonehenge isn’t exactly far above sea level, but it felt as if we were up close to the heavens. The clouds looked as if they were mere inches from the tops of the stones in the center circle. I captured some of the effect in my pictures, but it doesn’t do complete justice to the feeling of actually being there.
From journal The Celtic Adventure
August 1, 2005
Stonehenge is often viewed as the mystical centre of England and has been a revered site since 3000 BC, when it is speculated that ancient man indulged in sun worshipping. The original site was much larger than the remaining stones, and aerial photographs and excavations have shown that the layout, despite the monstrous size of the stones, has changed over the millennia.
From the roadside, the whole site looks inconsequential, and it’s only when you’ve paid your money and are approaching the stone configuration that you’ll realise how vast these monoliths are (the largest is over 20 feet high). It’s really hard to imagine how ancient man managed to get the rock into position. Not only did the stone come from over 200 miles away (southwest Wales), but also the massive lintels had to be put in place. They were so well placed that they remained there! In the centre is the altar stone, and although this is a pagan site, there is nothing to indicate that ritual killings took place here. It does seem as if sun worshipping was its raison d’être, with the stones mathematically so well placed that the so-called heelstone is the point from which the summer sun rises on the longest day (21st June). The whole thing must have been a major feat of construction in days when the only source of construction power was manpower.
I imagine the view from the centre of Stonehenge has been subject to minimal changes over the centuries, as the area, other than the roads, has, incredibly, not been subjected to either residential or industrial development. What is not easy to see from the ground is the extent of the site. There are the 56 "Aubrey" holes (named after the 17th-century diarist who discovered them) that make up the perimeter and the realisation that the stones positions had been changed in the earlier part of its life - as if the first construction wasn’t difficult enough, but perhaps the earlier "engineers" got their calculations wrong! This would be perfectly feasible, because there is a strong view that Stonehenge was built as an elaborate timepiece. Not accurate for the time of day, but a competent way of dividing the year into seasons or key time "zones."
So, while you’re there, consider the vast scale of the work involved and the reasons for its construction – a key meeting place for local councils, a place of worship, or an a elaborate calendar.
From journal A Leisurely Weekend Break in Wiltshire
July 25, 2005
From journal A Midsummer Night's London
June 4, 2005
Our second day of touring saw just four of us (grandparents and great-grandparents decided to take a rest day) going to the mystic and ancient Stonehenge and City of Bath. Again, we had pre-booked this tour through Viator before we left home (see RCI Activities). This is one of the most popular tours around and is consistently sold out. I’d definitely recommend booking this one in advance.
It took about an hour and a half to get to Stonehenge, but the time passed quickly, as our guide, Alan (another Blue Badge guide), was an excellent source of information. He pointed out various sights along the way, such as Windsor Castle, and patiently answered many, many questions about the horse chestnut trees and bright yellow fields of canola.
When we arrived at Stonehenge, it was misty and slightly on the cool side… perfect weather! Audio guides are free with the cost of admission, and I’d recommend that everyone in your party gets one to get the most out of your visit. There are markers along the path where you can stop and listen to commentary about that section of the circle. You can no longer get into the circle of stones, but you can walk around the marked path very comfortably. Although not everyone is fascinated by Stonehenge and its varied history dating back 5,000 years, it is awesome to look at the sheer magnitude of each stone and marvel at how it could have been constructed so many years ago.
Afterwards, we went to the City of Bath -- famous for its Bath stone that fronts every building in the city -- where we took a quick tour of the various streets, including the famous Pulteney Bridge that crosses the River Avon. Since the sides of the bridge are lined by shops, you wouldn’t ever know that you’re crossing a bridge, until you take a closer look! There’s also the Georgian Crescent, which lays claim to the most perfectly circular street in the world and the Jane Austen museum.
The most interesting part of Bath has got to be the Roman baths, a World Heritage archeological site that was discovered in the late 1800s. This massive complex included several pools and the temple of Sulis Minerva, built by the Romans some 2,000 years ago. The pools are usually 5 feet deep and heated by natural hot mineral springs. Here, again, audio guides are free, and the kids found them incredibly informative. A wooden scale model helped them to see the sheer magnitude of the whole place!
There are so many things to see and do in Bath, not the least of which is the incredible array of shops, the Bath Abbey, and the Georgian Pump Room -- where you could try a glass of spa water. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have time to see everything. Bath is definitely worthy of a second visit. Another exhausting but incredibly fun day!!!
From journal London UK in Spring
Madison Heights, Michigan
April 12, 2005
I personally loved Stonehenge. Many people have views that seem to sway one of two ways. Either they love it, or they think it is just a bunch of rocks. In the quietness, I can see the spiritual side. I think that if you have the opportunity to go, you should. If you are a history buff or nature lover, this should be one site to add to your to-do list.
From journal Quick Easter Holiday in London England
Los Gatos, California
February 19, 2005
They give each person a wand to carry on their walk around the monuments. The wand picks up signals as you progress and broadcasts information about the history of Stonehenge. By the time you have circled the monuments, you have heard a great deal of information. There are different theories about the origin and purpose of Stonehenge, but no one can say with certainty what the truth is. Not all of the original stones are still present. Some were taken away and put to other uses over time. Stonehenge is managed by English Heritage and is surrounded by 1,500 acres of land owned by the National Trust. For 5,000 years, people have been drawn to Stonehenge, where they marvel over this amazing feat of engineering. Even after you witness it with your own eyes, it will still seem impossible that people of a simple farming culture accomplished something so incredible. We spent about an hour and a half there, including a visit to the gift shop on-site.
We took the bus back to Salisbury, boarded the train to London's Waterloo station, switched trains to Canterbury West station, and sat down to dinner at Nando's Restaurant before 8pm. We spent five times as much time getting to and from Stonehenge as we spent at Stonehenge, but it was worth every minute. It was a day we'll always remember.
For more information, go to:
From journal Travelling back in time in merry olde England
by GB from Devizes
Devizes, United Kingdom
February 7, 2005
Plans are afoot to construct a road tunnel that will hide the A303 and pretty much return the location to how it would’ve been in ancient times. Needless to say, some are for this, some against. Some say that Stonehenge should be viewed in peace and tranquility; others decry the effect the tunnel may have on wildlife in the area. According to current plans, a 1.5-mile tunnel will be built approximately 1 mile to the south of the site and the A360 will be diverted north to avoid Stonehenge by at least half a mile
However, it seems certain that the project will proceed with construction likely to commence within the next couple of years. This will also involve building a brand-new, modern visitor centre a couple of miles from Stonehenge with regular "mini-train" connections to the site itself, thus relieving the need for a car park on site, along with all the associated noise and fumes.
So, if you plan a trip to our fair isle to see Stonehenge, I’d politely suggest you wait for a few years until all construction is finished, then take your trip in peace and quiet and see Stonehenge as it begs to be seen - as a majestic tribute to man’s ingenuity and his ability to conquer seemingly insurmountable obstacles to fulfill a dream.
From journal The Silent Secrets of Stonehenge
But in the last few years, increasing visitor numbers have seen a general improvement in facilities, although compared to other European countries, you could still be forgiven for thinking this was just another run-of-the-mill historic landmark.
The car park is free (plus point), and entry to the site will cost you £5.20 (a bit expensive, I feel). For this, you can tarry for as long as you wish, but unless you wish to "connect" to the stones in some ancient ritual, it is unlikely you would need to stay for more than an hour.
These days, there is a proper entrance to the site, along with a gift shop that can offer good-quality guides and maps of the surrounding area, which is full of prehistoric antiquities. There is an audiovisual presentation which, again, is free; this serves to give you a better insight into what you will be looking at.
Once across the road (via a path beneath that road), you can see the stones in all their glory. Unfortunately, a rope cordon is in place to prevent you getting too close to them. In previous years, certain idiots thought it "cool" to carve their initials or spray their "tags" into the sandstone, which was starting to make the stones resemble a New York subway train rather than the UK’s premier ancient site.
But you don’t really need to get any closer than you can; the stones are so large as to present a stunning spectacle irrespective of your vantage point.
Be warned: it gets busy in summer. I went there today (February 7th), and I had a job to get a space in the carpark, although admittedly, it was a lovely bright day.
This stage witnessed the arrival of the gigantic Sarsen stones, used both as upright standing stones and as lintels across the tops of certain upright Sarsens.
It is thought beyond reasonable doubt that these massive stones originated at a site somewhere on the Marlborough Downs, about 25 miles east of Stonehenge. Indeed, modern methods have determined marked similarities between the Sarsen stones of Stonehenge and the standing stones at Avebury, Wiltshire’s other prehistoric circle. The Sarsens all weighed in at around the 50-ton mark, and again, we can only marvel at the strength and determination of these ancient folk.
The terrain to be crossed here from Marlborough had no rivers to facilitate "easy" transportation, so each Sarsen stone was manhandled across these 25 miles, using the drag-and-roll technique. Calculations show that in excess of 500 men would have been required to pull such a massive cargo, with around another 100 needed in front of the stone to lay down the huge rollers for the sledges to run over.
All of the Sarsens were erected in an outer circle, all originally with lintels across the tops joining the stones together into a continuous circle. This is more than likely the familiar picture of Stonehenge that we know, although of course, many of the massive Sarsens have fallen over the millennia, and rather strangely, are not to be found anywhere by or close to the site.
Finally, five equally large Trilithons were erected right in the centre of the Sarsens in a horseshoe configuration, most of these still being here today.
As a postscript, although not a fully fledged "fourth stage" of construction, around 1,500 BC, some of the bluestones were rearranged. There were originally about 60 of these that comprised the circle, but like some of the giant Sarsens, they have fallen over the countless centuries, been removed, or were simply broken up. Many now only remain as stumps beneath the surface.