On our recent backpacking trip my husband was keen to incorporate a trip to Stonehenge near Salisbury. The trip turned out to be pretty hard going and to be honest I would’ve preferred to stay an extra night at our previous camp site than to travel by bus, train and another bus up to see these oversized stones in a field.
If I hadn’t already paid the £40 bus fare for the Stonehenge Bus Tour in advance I think we probably would’ve given it a miss, but I really dislike wasting money so we persevered and made the trip from Lyme Regis up to Salisbury.
The new visitors centre at the site of Stonehenge is really something in itself. With a shop, a cafe and some wonderfully recreated neolithic houses, we were already enjoying the day before we got to see the stone circle. The staff giving talks and demonstrations inside the neolithic houses were friendly and knowledgeable, and the children took great delight in handling some very old tools and aids found at the site.
There is great mystery surrounding the purpose of Stonehenge, and while I could delve into all the different theories, I am just going to say: see it for yourself. It’s astounding. As I said, I was ready to give this particular trip a miss but once I saw the stone circle for myself, listened to the brilliantly informative audio guide and soaked up the information in the visitors centre, I was very glad indeed that we’d made that trip.
The audio guide is a must – at several points throughout the short walk around the stone circle, you can stop and listen to the corresponding section of the audio guide, which then gives you the option to listen to more in-depth information about related subjects – it’s really very good. It costs an extra £2.00 per guide but it’s well worth the spend.
I was pleased – delighted actually – to discover that our National Trust membership granted us access to Stonehenge, which is an English Heritage site. From what I can gather, the two organisations offer members discounts on entry to many of the other one’s attractions. This little fact saved me around £40 so I’ll be doing a bit of detective work to find out what other English Heritage sites I can see with my National Trust membership.