Stonehenge, one of the wonders of the ancient world, a place of religious significance for some, a place of magic and mystery but, if you grew up locally, chances are you see it as that place you get stuck in traffic when going on holiday to Cornwall or Devon. Having been stuck there a few times themselves my children asked “Can we actually go in there one day?” so in Summer 2018 we did.
We pre-booked our tickets on their website, plus parking. The site is managed by English Heritage and the surrounding land is owned by National Trust England so those with these memberships can get in for free, (Free entry is not available to those with National Trust Scotland membership). Prices are quite high for those without membership (Details here) so it may be worth looking at getting it if you wish to visit. Walk in prices are higher so pre-booking is advised.
A short walk from the car park brought us to an impressive, modern visitor centre. From here we got a ticket to the bus that brings you to the Henge, you can walk but it was a really hot day. Whilst on the bus I felt a bit guilty, surrounded by people who had travelled thousands of miles to see the stones and I‘d never been bothered to pop in on the many occasions I had driven past. As we got off the bus the stones were very impressive but after a few initial wows my 7 year old and 4 year old were over them pretty quickly and almost had to be forced to walk the whole way around. We made our way back to the visitor centre and they quickly went from bored children, underwhelmed by one of the world’s most iconic sights, to children completely in love with the display of how those who built the Henges (there are lots of them, many within walking distance) used to live. Brought to life by the volunteers who give talks, the displays include replicas of the housing the builders lived in. The museum also makes use of different kinds of technology to really get them engaged with the history. Also, being surrounded by fields and several walks, there is plenty of room for children to work off excess energy.
We ate at the restaurant which was busy but manageable, even in August, and we found tables easily. The food was good but the price was what you would expect for a global tourist attraction, this goes for the gift shop too although there were some very cool items. All other facilities were really good. Pushchairs would be fine although at busier times you would struggle to take a pushchair on the bus so bring a sling or be prepared to walk.
We went on a sunny day but it would be doable on a day with some rain. I would recommend this as a day out for children, be prepared to spend more time in the visitor area than at the stones, but at just under £50 for a family ticket it is pricey so I would consider putting £50 towards one of the memberships that lets you in for free.
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