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Near Amesbury Wiltshire SP4 7DE

Obscured by legend, mysticism – and, frequently, coach parties – no prehistoric site in Britain is as well-known or controversial for that matter, as the prehistoric stone circle of Stonehenge. Most academics agree it was created circa 3000–1600BC and is aligned with the sunrise and sunset of the solstice. But the purpose of its massive Welsh bluestones remains a mystery: a temple for sun worship, perhaps, or a healing centre, a burial site or a huge calendar? As hotly debated as this, is the issue of access. It’s a shame that visitors can’t now get up close to the stones; a pity too that the main road thunders past so close. But a visit remains essential – try to make yours either early or late in the day if possible.

The visitor centre is located 1.5 miles from the stone circle itself and floats above Wiltshire’s rolling plains, linked to the main site by a shuttle service which runs along what was until recently the busy A344, which is now closed to all other traffic. Visitors are also encouraged to walk to the site, passing through woodland and fields to reach the iconic stones. The centre features films of both the summer and winter solstice and displays more than 250 objects that tell the story of Stonehenge and what we understand about it – actually  very little, but visitors can still marvel at 4000-year-old coins and jewellery, 14th-century drawings of the stones, the earliest known to exist, and even the reconstructed face of a 5500-year-old man .The walk to the stones takes just long enough for it all to sink in.

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