Stonehenge and Avebury

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The sites of Avebury and Stonehenge are World Heritage Sites and have to be on 'the must see' list for anyone travelling in the Wiltshire area (whether or not you have a liking for Pre-history).

As you approach the village of Avebury, the fields are littered with Stones as far as the eye can see. In one field alone we counted in excess of fifty stones of varying heights and sizes. You are allowed to walk around the fields unaccompanied and usually unrestricted (and unlike Stonehenge you are allowed to touch the Stones). However, when we visited in March, one of the fields was 'off limits' due to excessive rain in the preceeding week.

Parking is in the village pub car park and if you spend £3 in the pub, parking there is free. On leaving the car park, if you cross the road there is a walk that will take you up to a ridge where you then have an unrestricted view of the entire area.

Well, what can I say about Stonehenge? Magnificent, awesome, a very special spine tingling place.

If you mention Stonehenge to most people they will say, 'You can't go up close to the Stones anymore'. This is not true because you can. You have to book direct with English Heritage the 'Inner Circle Access' Visit. These take place three times a day during certain months of the year outside the normal visiting hours for the general public. This visit is suited to large groups – 26 people is the maximum and the cost was £100 this year. I visited in March and had booked the 4.30pm visit (you are allowed to spend an hour there). I was accompanied by a group of twenty 9-10 year olds.

When we arrived at Stonehenge, it was deserted – no cars in the car park and the only people there were security guards. A bit different to how it usually is when it is open to everybody. We were escorted by security onto the site; the ropes were lifted and we were allowed to go up close to the Stones. We all felt very goosebumpy – this really is a very special place.

There was an excellent programme on tv earlier this year 'The History Of Ancient Britain' narrated by Neil Oliver which is now available on DVD. If you are contemplating visiting, I would suggest purchasing it as it will give you all the background information about the Sites.

Would I visit again? You bet! 

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