Sunday 5th February 2023

Salisbury, UK

I received a surprise holiday to Stone Henge for Christmas! I always imagined this trip would be far in the future for me; I’d probably have to get a car, book a few days off work and endure a gruelling journey down south. While our journey wasn’t exactly pleasant, we still managed to pull it off!

We planned our stay beforehand, including trains, an air BnB and a day trip to the ancient site. However, train strikes meant we had to travel by coach instead.

We left on Friday evening from Manchester Chorlton street bus station, and journeyed to Birmingham. Another coach took us to Bristol, and finally a local bus service delivered us to Bath. After around 7 hours of travel, we got a midnight snack at the nearest Subway, and passed out in our very charming air BnB room.

We didn’t book the Stone Henge trip too early, which allowed us to lie in the next day. A very cute breakfast set up was included with the room, so after eating we headed out to the pickup point. We got into a bright purple ten seater people carrier, driven by a friendly Scarper Tours guide. Tickets to the visitors centre and the main attraction were included. Once we arrived at the site, yet another bus got us to the stones. We weren’t able to touch them, but followed a circular route to view the monument at all angles. There were a few walking trails in the area, but we were given two hours to explore before being taken back to Bath. 

While this may sound cliché, the stones were much bigger than expected! After taking many photos, we went back to the visitors centre. I loved the recreation of the stone age huts, and couldn’t resist posing in front of them. We had a bite in the cafe before meeting our guide for the return journey.

Once back in Bath, we had a quick power nap at the air BnB before going out for tea. We spent a lot of money on some very tasty mezze dishes at Opa Bath. Over the course of the evening they appeared to make the transition from fancy restaurant to nightclub, and also provided a traditional Greek plate smashing experience for their customers! Stay tuned to hear how we spent the rest of our time in Bath.

Part of the appeal of Stone Henge is that it’s shrouded in mystery. There is so much we don’t know due to lack of records, and over time the site has deteriorated naturally and deliberately. What we do know is that the monument was constructed over a period of many years, but generally dated to 2500 BC. It is made up of sarsen stones and bluestones, the latter of which has an unusual acoustic quality. Bluestones are lithophonic rocks, meaning they make a ringing sound when hit. It’s easy to speculate that these stones were chosen for their properties to fulfil some unknown function, and they were apparently sourced from Wales!

There are many theories surrounding the purpose of Stone Henge. One is that it was a healing centre, because human remains have been found on the site with varying degrees of trauma, and there is DNA evidence that travellers visited from mainland Europe. Another theory is that it was a place to honour ancestors and the dead, as the remains found are consistent with burials. Finally, there is the theory of a lunar and solar calendar, because those who built Stone Henge took into careful consideration the placement of the sun during the Winter and Summer solstices. While we will never truly know the role this construction played in the lives ancient locals, it is accepted that the Henge may have been multifunctional, so all of these theories could be simultaneously correct.

Happy walking!

Stone Henge