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Ancient Marvel #5: Stonehenge - Mysteries Unearthed | England, United Kingdom | 100 Wonders of the World Series

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About The Wonder

Stonehenge is a giant circle made of large monuments standing upright in England, which is in the southern part of the country. It consists of a ring of standing stones, each around 13 feet high, seven feet wide, and weighing around 25 tons. It’s an astonishing feat of ancient engineering, and the mystification of its construction remains. It is an ancient stone circle, older than the pyramids of Giza. Stonehenge is presumably between 4,000 and 5,000 years old, and its construction was across hundreds, or indeed thousands, of years. Although no one knows exactly why Stonehenge was built and no one knows exactly who built it, some people think it was used for religious ceremonies, while others believe it served as an astronomical observatory site. There are different perspectives about its actuality, but no one knows for sure. The largest stones, known as sarsens, measure up to 30 feet tall and weigh an average of 25 tons. Certain stones in the ancient circle line up with the midsummer daylight and the winter solstice sunset, which mark the longest and shortest days of the year. Today, Stonehenge is a carefully protected World Heritage Site visited by about a million people each time. It's super popular, and lots of people visit it to see the cool ancient monuments and wonder about its history, which is a riddle!

 



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What factors contribute to Stonehenge being one of the 100 wonders of the world?

  • Mystery: Stonehenge’s unknown purpose is to capture people's curiosity. People wonder why it was built. Its enigmatic nature adds to its allure as a wonder of the world. Being there feels special and mysterious.
  • Unique Design: The arrangement of stones is unlike anything else. The design of the stone is fascinating because it’s made of really big stones arranged in a circle. The stones were moved from far away without modern tools, which is amazing, and the way they fit together is precise.
  • Iconic Symbol: Stonehenge has become an iconic symbol of ancient history and prehistoric monuments, recognized worldwide.
  • Geological Location: Stonehenge’s location in the picturesque countryside of Wiltshire adds to its appeal as a wonder of the world.
  • Archaeological Interest: Ongoing archaeological research at Stonehenge continues to uncover new insights into its history and purpose, adding to its wonder.

History or story of the wonder

Stone is an ancient monument in England. It consists of large stones arranged in a circular pattern and constructed thousands of years ago, and the purpose of its existence remains unknown. Some theories suggest it was used for ceremonies or astronomical observations, but others propose it served as a burial ground or a religious site. After falling into disrepair, Stonehenge was rediscovered in later centuries. Today, it is a popular tourist destination visited by millions each year.

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How to Get There? 

Train from Heathrow to London Paddington station:

 

  • Distance: Approximately 15 miles (24 kilometers)
  • Time: Around 15-20 minutes by Heathrow Express or Heathrow Connect trains.
  • Recommendation: Heathrow Express is the fastest option, with trains departing every 15 minutes. However, it's also the most expensive. Heathrow Connect is a cheaper alternative with slightly longer travel times.

Train from London Paddington to Salisbury:

  • Distance: Approximately 85 miles (137 kilometers)
  • Time: Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the train service.
  • Recommendation: Take a direct train from London Paddington to Salisbury. Check the schedule in advance for the most convenient departure times

Bus or Taxi to Stonehenge from Salisbury:

  • Distance: Approximately 9 miles (14.5 kilometers)
  • Time: Around 20 minutes by taxi or bus.
  • Recommendation: Taxis are readily available outside Salisbury train station and offer a convenient and quick option to reach Stonehenge. Alternatively, local buses also operate between Salisbury and Stonehenge, offering a more budget-friendly option.
  • Overall, the journey from London Heathrow Airport to Stonehenge can take around 2.5 to 3.5 hours, depending on transportation choices and waiting times. It's advisable to check transportation schedules and plan accordingly, especially if you have specific arrival times or preferences for certain modes of transport.

Visa Requirements

United States citizens do not require a visa to visit England or any other part of the United Kingdom for tourism purposes for stays of up to six months.However, if you are outside the USA, you may need a visa to enter the country, depending on the nationality and duration of your visit. However, it's always a good idea to consult before planning, and for travel purposes, check our Visa section.

Where to Stay?

  • Salisbury: Closest city to Stonehenge, about 9 miles away.Offers a variety of hotels, restaurants, and shops.Convenient for exploring Stonehenge and other attractions in the area.
  • Amesbury: Nearest town to Stonehenge, less than 2 miles away.Limited hotel options but very close to the monument.Good choice if you want quick access to Stonehenge.
  • Andover: About 18 miles from Stonehenge.Larger town with more hotel choices and amenities.Ideal if you prefer a wider selection of accommodations or plan to visit other nearby attractions. 
  • Warminster: About 11 miles from Stonehenge.Offers different types of places to stay, like hotels and bed and breakfasts.Provides a quiet setting with countryside views.
  • Shaftesbury: About 25 miles from Stonehenge.A pretty town known for its historic buildings.Good if you want a scenic and peaceful stay.
  • Bath: About 40 miles from Stonehenge.Famous for its Roman baths and Georgian architecture.Offers cultural attractions and spa experiences.
  • Bournemouth: About 40 miles from Stonehenge.A popular beach town with sandy beaches and entertainment.Great for a seaside holiday with various accommodation options.

Language:

People speak English, but you might hear other languages too, especially in big cities. 

Fun facts about England 

  • Harry Potter: The author of the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling is from England. You can visit places like Platform 9¾ in London.
  • Double-Decker Trains: Just like the buses, England also has double-decker trains in some cities. They have two levels for passengers.
  • The London Eye: The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel in London. It's a fun way to see the city from up high.
  • Cream Tea: Cream tea is another tasty treat in England. It's tea served with scones, jam, and clotted cream.
  • Black Cabs: London has special taxis called black cabs. They're big and roomy, and the drivers know all the streets.
  • Tube Stations: The London Underground, also known as the Tube, has over 270 stations. Some stations have funny names like Elephant & Castle and Cockfosters.
  • The Tower Bridge: The Tower Bridge in London is not just a bridge; it can open up in the middle to let big ships pass through.
  • Sherlock Holmes: Sherlock Holmes is a famous detective from England. He solves mysteries with his friend Dr. Watson.
  • Big Ben: Big Ben is a big clock tower in London, but it's the name of the bell inside, not the tower itself.

Currency:

The currency of England is the British Pound Sterling (£).

Other Unique Experiences Around England

  • Going on a Ghost Walk in London: Join a spooky walk in London where a guide tells scary stories about ghosts and haunted places.
  • Visiting the Jane Austen Centre: Learn about Jane Austen, a famous writer, at a museum in Bath. You can dress up in old-fashioned clothes and have tea.
  • Going to a Traditional English Pub Quiz: Join a pub quiz night at a local pub and test your knowledge while enjoying a pint of beer.
  • Visiting Bath's Roman Baths: See the ancient Roman baths in Bath, where people used to go for relaxation and healing.
  • Exploring the Tower of London: Visit the historic Tower of London, where you can see the Crown Jewels and learn about its fascinating history.
  • Riding a Vintage Steam Train: Take a ride on an old-fashioned steam train through the countryside, like the ones in the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
  • Watching Morris Dancing: See people in colorful costumes doing lively dances to traditional music in the countryside.
  • Taking a Boat Tour in the Lake District: Hop on a boat and cruise around the beautiful lakes in the Lake District, like Lake Windermere or Ullswater.
  • Hot air balloon rider: It's a memorable way to experience the city's beauty from a unique perspective.

 

Best time to visit England

  • Spring (March to May): Spring in England usually has temperatures ranging from 5°C to 15°C early in the season and gradually warming up to 10°C to 20°C by late May. Spring can be a popular time for tourists, especially in popular tourist destinations. However, crowds are generally lighter compared to summer.
  • Summer (June to August): Summer temperatures typically range from 15°C to 25°C, although heatwaves can occasionally bring temperatures above 30°C.Summer is the peak tourist season in England, especially in cities like London, Bath, and Edinburgh. Well-known attractions can be swarmed, and lodging may be more expensive.
  • Autumn (September to November): Autumn temperatures start to cool down, with averages ranging from 10°C to 15°C in September and dropping to 5°C to 10°C by November. Crowds tend to thin out in the autumn compared to summer, making it a good time to visit popular attractions without the crowds.
  • Winter (December to February): Winter temperatures in England can vary widely, with averages ranging from 0°C to 5°C  in December and January. Snowfall is possible, especially in northern regions. Crowds are generally lighter in winter compared to other seasons, except around Christmas and New Year's when tourist destinations and shopping areas can be busy.

Souvenirs to buy in Iceland

  • Tea: Get some English tea bags or loose tea to enjoy at home.
  • London-themed Gifts: Look for keychains, magnets, or mugs with London landmarks like Big Ben or red buses.
  • Chocolate and Candy: Buy some tasty British chocolate bars or traditional candies.
  • Royal Family Items: Find souvenirs featuring the British royal family, like postcards or bookmarks.
  • Scottish Tartan: If you visit Scotland, consider getting something made from their traditional tartan fabric, like a scarf or hat.
  • Harry Potter Merchandise: Fans of Harry Potter can pick up themed items like wands or scarves.
  • Gin: Try some locally-made gin from London distilleries.
  • Bath and Body Products: Treat yourself to luxurious bath products from famous British brands.

Did this excite you? Explore our flights and hotels and add this marvel to your completed wonder of the world. Leave a comment below, ask a question, or share your excitement with others. Your England adventure awaits!

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