On my last trip to England, Shaun and I extensively debated if Stonehenge was worth a visit. The rocks sit just off the A303 and can be seen fairly well from the road. So why pay £21.50 per person?
The place itself is a World Heritage Site, if that matters to you. There are information placards, a mini exhibition museum and a gift shop. There is also an audio guide linked to numbers posted along the path to give you information about the exact spot in which you are standing.
The rocks are about a mile away from the visitor’s centre; you can either walk 35 minutes or take a shuttle (the path is the road pictured below). The land around the stones also has historical significance so if you walk, you can hear about that along the way.
What you’re really paying £21.50 for however, is your proximity to the monument. The path forms a circle around the stones, giving you a full 360° view. As you near Stonehenge, the path first circles behind at a distance, but gets closer and closer as you continue around. This means that by the time you complete the circle, you’re right in front of it. You can’t enter the circle on a regular day ticket, but the proximity still allows for some lovely pictures.
With the mile walk and the audio guide, the whole process takes significantly longer than I expected, which also helped justify the cost.
Keep in mind that the last entry is 2 30PM, so plan accordingly.
As Shaun continues to point out, you are basically paying £21.50 to stare at a bunch of rocks you can see from the road. If your goal is to catch a glimpse and move on, the A303 might be your best bet (though there didn’t seem to be a good place to pull over; you might literally be driving by).
Plus, the audio guide is actually an app you download on your phone. So, you can still get all the information even though you wouldn’t be seeing the topic in question.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?
I personally believe it comes down to two questions. Can you really say you visited Stonehenge if you glimpsed it from your car as you tried not to swerve into oncoming traffic? And how many of your tourist dollars are you willing to spend to get close to a historical monument?
I wanted to get a good picture and I generally find that type of stuff interesting, so I was glad I went. I would also never listen to the audio guide unless I was there, seeing it in person.
Would I go again? Probably not. But I’m glad I saw it once and learnt its mysterious history. If that is of value to you, I recommend you do the same!