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Questions on Stonehenge

by Dee125 Online Now May 13, 2005 at 10:13 PM

Hi
We are planning to visit London and places in Scotland in July. We were looking into visiting Stonehenge via Salisbury and spend one night in Salisbury. We dont have a car and will be using the train/bus service.
1. I have been reading in some online forums that Stonehenge is crowded during summer season and not worth it. Please provide your perspective on this.
2. I have also read about the special pass you need in order to get close to the stones. Would you recommend taking this or is it still enjoyable if you do the regular pass and only get to see it from a distance?
3. How does one get to Stonehenge from Salisbury. I believe it is about 9 miles. Are there local buses? If yes, where do these start from? I am not interested in guided tours.
Thanks for all your replies

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10 Answers
  • maverick-mw's Profile Photo

    RE: Questions on Stonehenge

    by maverick-mw Online Now May 14, 2005 at 4:10 AM

    1. Yes it can be very crowded, but decide for yourself whether you think it is worth it. Unlike most tourist sites, it is more corwded in the early morning and late afternoon, as the rush-hour traffic passes right past it, and can make travelling a nightmare. So aim to get there 10am - 4pm.

    2. You need to buy a pass to get "inside" so to speak. The stones themselves are situated between a fork in the roads, and the pass lets you inside the forked area where you follow a marked path around the stones. If you're a bit of a tightwad it is perfectly possible to get a reasonable view through the fence on the side of the road for free, although be prepared to wrestle your way through the other hordes of tightwads in the summer, and watch out for the cars. I would recommend buying the pass though. It was about £5 if I remember correctly, and includes an audio tour.

    3. There are local buses from Salisbury, yes. The "Wilts and Dorset" bus, its red and black. Afraid I don't know the number of timetable, but they start from the city centre bus stop.

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    RE: Questions on Stonehenge

    by leics Online Now May 15, 2005 at 2:12 PM

    Stonehenge is World Heritage site, massively important and probably the worst-presented archaeological monument in the UK. This will, hopefully, change in the future but, for now, you can expect crowds (go as early as you can) and super-tacky giftshop/ food outlets at the entrance. You will not be able to go inside the stones (rightly, imo)so it's your decision whether to view throught the fence or not. But I suggest you read a bit about the area before you come (my archaeology pages [at the bottom of my homepage] might help) because Stonehenge is the most obvious monument in a massive prehistoric ritual landscape. If you know a bit about it, you might be better off walking along the cursus (processional ways) and amongst the barrows (tombs) that surround the stones. You might also like to know that an enormous ring of tree-trunks pre-dated Stonehenge, some their sites being marked with white circles in the car park (and ignored by nearly all visitors, because the presentation is so poor). Whether you pay to go in or not, I think it's worth visiting if only for the view you get as you crest the hill from Amesbury and see the stones in their magnificent setting.

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  • CardboardCockney's Profile Photo

    RE: Questions on Stonehenge

    by CardboardCockney Online Now Jun 28, 2005 at 11:44 AM

    1. Its a waste of time and effort
    2. Plenty of tacky gifts to buy and unlikely to get near the stones.... you'll find plenty of smelly pseudo-hippy dropouts around though.
    3. Stay in Salisbury.....it has more enjoyment and value for time than Stonehenge.

    Sorry to sound negative but I live nearby and it really is over-rated.

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  • garethNZ's Profile Photo

    Re: Questions on Stonehenge

    by garethNZ Online Now May 11, 2007 at 3:00 PM

    Hey, I checked out stonehenge 3 days ago.
    I took the train to Salisbury (which is a nice town, should spend some time there) and then the #3 local bus which leaves from outside the train station and stops in the Stonehenge carpark, it's 6.30pound! to go through the underground tunnel and walk around the stones, we just crossed the road for free and got a great view of the stones, there is only about 2 meters between the footpath and the walking track on the otherside of the fence, I don't think paying 6.30pound is worth it.
    The cost of the bus was 6.99pound, it was a day pass, we also went to Avebury and Swindon on it.

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  • kiwi's Profile Photo

    Questions on Stonehenge

    by kiwi Online Now May 11, 2007 at 3:21 PM

    As for seeing Stonehenge being a "waste of time" - that is often the opinion of a national of such places. But what that "advice" is not taking into account, is that when you live in another land, and have heard often about a place, there is certain desire and satisfaction to actually view it with one's own eyes, and actually BE there.
    The key to making it worthwhile, is as already said, to do some research so you know what you are looking at, and to ignore the 'tacky' souvenir shops etc. However I might add that I have purchased small items at such places and thought myself crazy, but when I return to the opposite side of the world, my little souvenirs are no longer tacky but rather meaningful. In a tacky stall, with zillions of small figurines the same, they are surely tacky. At the bottom of the planet, surrounded by the largest body of water, and far from any land with sustantial human history, my tacky little souvenir on my kitchen sill, takes on a whole new significance. Stonehenge is a must, purely for it's historic significance.

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  • kiwi's Profile Photo

    Questions on Stonehenge

    by kiwi Online Now May 11, 2007 at 3:22 PM

    Go Gareth! 3 day old information - this is VT at it's best!!!!

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  • kiwi's Profile Photo

    Questions on Stonehenge

    by kiwi Online Now May 11, 2007 at 3:42 PM

    Oh sorry, I wasn't meaning most Brits think like that, rather than often that kind of opinion is made by locals (as in from that country). I have seen it often. Just an observation and I was putting up another perspective to help that person see that their opinion is possible misguided, certainly misguiding.

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: Questions on Stonehenge

    by leics Online Now May 12, 2007 at 5:16 AM

    The issue is really one of understanding and perception, I think. If one has little comprehension of the importance of Stonehenge & its landscape in the historical context of human 'development', nor appreciation of the skill demonstrated in its building, then it might well not seem worthwhile. However, I wouldn't necessarily advise anyone to go into the stones, because I think it is very badly presented at present; better to view it through the fence and explore the surrounding sacred landscape instead, imo (with more time spent at Silbury/West Kennet/ Avebury if at all possible).

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  • garethNZ's Profile Photo

    Re: Questions on Stonehenge

    by garethNZ Online Now Jun 3, 2007 at 12:36 PM

    I didn't realise this topic was so old when I posted. Anyway, yeah it's worth a visit, but you can see everything thru the fence, so don't bother with the admission fee (I know it probably goes to maintaining the stones, but it's so over priced).
    And yay Kiwi! I miss Dunedin!

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  • kiwi's Profile Photo

    Questions on Stonehenge

    by kiwi Online Now Jun 3, 2007 at 2:35 PM

    LOL I meant your 3day old information was top stuff!! Very relevant and very fresh :-))

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