How to visit Stonehenge for free.
Ever since I was a kid Stonehenge has lived in my imagination as a kind of magical place, (in truth that’s probably more about human endeavour and brutality than humming and solstices). Despite this fascination, I have never seen it in the flesh (or stone).
With this in mind, it was on our list of places we would like to visit before leaving the UK. So, whilst I drove us from Windsor, Lottie booked us into a campsite near(ish) stonehenge.
When we arrived, we looked at the English Heritage website and found that it would cost us £40 for a family ticket. This is way more than our daily budget for EVERYTHING. That can’t be right. I’m all for helping protect our national heritage, but forty quid!
So instead of booking online we had a chat to a really helpful couple of fellow travellers (one from Australia and one from Canada I think). It turns out that our £40 would get us a bus transfer from the visitor centre parking to the stones and we would then be about 10 metres closer than if we just walked there from the parking and turned left at the final gate instead of right.
We opted for the NOT £40 option, and this is what we did:
- We parked in the visitor centre car park (there were no signs regarding charges)
- There doesn’t appear to be any motorhome or van parking at the visitor centre – so we just headed to the back of the car park out of everyones way and took up three spaces. By the time time we came back 5 other vans had joined us!
- We walked through the recreated neolithic village that is part of the visitor centre.
- We followed the well marked road and paths to the stones.
- We saw the stones in context with the landscape and barrows.
- We missed the interpretation (the kids researched online before we went though).
- Oh, and the bus ride, we swapped that for a nice walk.
Did we lose out? Here are some photos. You decide.
… I think English Heritage really need to sort this out. Make the options clear and the access affordable. Encourage people to contribute to the upkeep of the stones rather than try to trick them into paying extortionate amounts to see them.