Stonehenge Prehistoric World Heritage Site
Stonehenge Prehistoric Monument World Heritage Site is run by English Heritage. If you are visiting the New Forest, I would recommend this world class wonder of the world as a day out you'll thoroughly enjoy. I want to give you a good overview of what you will see, discover and experience. The new Visitor Centre, certainly gave me a greater understanding and feel for this wonderful prehistoric monument.
Stonehenge 360 degree Experience
I took all the photos I've used from the
"virtual 360-degree experience which lets visitors ‘stand in the stones’". I hope they give you a feel of just how fantastic a visit to Stonehenge can be for you and what the new Visitor Centre has to offer.
We visited recently with my Mum who was celebrating her 90th birthday. The weather was absolutely foul - very English with lashing, gale-ridden rain.
Did it stop us enjoying our visit? Not in the least, mainly due to the warm, knowledgeable and passionate staff we met from the minute we walked into the entrance to Stonehenge.
My Stonehenge Tips for an enjoyable visit
When should you visit and what should you see first?
- Book your per-booked timed ticket before you visit. If you're an English Heritage member it is free to visit Stonehenge but please book to avoid busy times of the day. It ensures you match the time you have available for your visit in the most effective way
- Plan your visit breaks your available time into 2 hrs, half or full day visits and suggests how to plan your day
- Before you go has itinerary tips and advice
What will you see?
- The Stones! Obvious but true; they are spectacular. There are two types of stone you'll see - the larger sarsen stones and the smaller 'bluestones'. How were they constructed with such limited tools? How did they get to where we see them today?
- Decide where you're going to go first. If you head for the stones first you can use the shuttle bus which is included in your entrance fee or decide to discover the landscape on the way and walk to the stones. The front shuttle is designed for any disabled visitors so just make your needs known to the friendly and welcoming staff.
The Exhibition Area of the Visitor Centre
- Once entering the exhibition room you can discover and really get the feel of the stones through the seasons. It was such a wet day all the photos on this review were taken in this area. It is totally stunning! Here's the description and what you can expect. This really works!
virtual 360-degree experience which lets visitors ‘stand in the stones’
before they enter the gallery. This three-minute film, based on
state-of-the-art laser scan images of the stone circle, transports the
viewer back in time through the millennia and enables them to experience
the summer and winter solstices. Credit Clare Kendall/English Heritage."
- A forensically reconstructed face of an Early Neolithic 5,500 yr old man by a facial reconstruction expert is fascinating and brings home to the visitor what our ancestors looked like. Look out for the sign of damage to his right leg from his skeletal remains on display
- Over 250 objects of international importance are on display - we loved the exhibition which showed research and books showing the changing understanding of Stonehenge, some dating back to the 14th century and Godfrey of Monmouth and the Arthurian legend. This will be displayed for 6 months and is in the area of the Visitor Centre which will change as different displays are featured. (Also the only area photography is not allowed due to the sensitivity and age of the exhibits)
- Objects and tools from Neolithic and Bronze Age men and women, depicting their lives, their rituals and daily struggles are fascinating. The use of flint, deer antlers, bone and wood used in the construction of the site are on loan from local museums
Other Facilities in the Visitor Centre
- Cafe serving hot drinks, salads, pastries, soup and hot snacks.
- State of the art toilets
- This is a future project which will bring me back to visit later this year
- An outdoor gallery including several reconstructed Neolithic houses will be constructed. Using
archaeological evidence and authentic materials, these buildings will
provide a glimpse of the lifestyles and technology of the Neolithic
- The houses will be built between February and May 2014
There was adverse publicity when the new Visitor Centre opened in late December 2013.
The main criticism was crowds. The Visitor Centre was so popular it attracted more people than was envisaged, which made a visit less fulfilling. You need time to absorb both the atmosphere of Stonehenge and also the information which is so beautifully exhibited.
I believe the problem has now been solved by the pre booked ticket service so suggest, like us on our visit, you make use of the service.
I hope you enjoy your visit to Stonehenge Prehistoric Monument and World Heritage Site as much as we did on the day we decided to explore and discover this unique part of our English heritage.