Getting up close and personal with the inner circle of Stonehenge is no mean feat. Despite ongoing campaigns by Druids to open up the henge completely, the iconic Wiltshire monument is fenced off most of the year, and while access during the spring equinox and the summer and winter solstices might be much more free and easy, its so busy its difficult to get properly acquainted with the great and mysterious standing stones in any meaningful way.
But fear not there are a raft of Stonehenge tours to choose from, each of them offering something a little different.
Whether youre a stargazer eager to understand the ancient monument in its astrological context, a mystic keen to get in touch with your spiritual side beneath the triliths, or a denizen of Heritage VX looking to wander between the bluestones at your virtual reality leisure, theres an option here for everyone.
Perfect for the Stonehenge fanatic with more than a few quid in their pocket, Tour Stonehenge offer private tours of the standing stones and the surrounding historical landscape led by specially-trained Blue Badge driver-guides, in your choice of private vehicle. They’ll pick you up from your accomodation locally or in London and be knowledgeable and flexible enough to create a bespoke experience catered specifically for you be it investigating burial chambers, learning about the building of Stonehenge or discovering the culture of the enigmatic people who erected the megaliths so many centuries ago.
You’ll cruise the Wiltshire countryside in a Mercedes limousine, sedan, people carrier or mini-van depending on the size of your party and stop-off at your own choice of destinations from Avebury and its surrounding ancient burial chambers to Salisbury Cathedral and Bath or Winchester and Corfe Castle. Most importantly, you’ll get beyond the rope and past the bouncers into a VIP area where anybody who’s anybody in the world of ancient history wants to go the Stonehenge inner circle.
Cost: You need to contact for a quote, but a guide price for two people is 595.
Set off from: Pick-up from your accomodation, locally or in London.
We like: VIP treatment.
Not sure: A bit lazy, isn’t it?
Book it: Tour Stonehenge
Tours for Astronomers
Astronomer and Stonehenge expert David Rowan offers a limited number of lucky punters (maximum 24 per group) all-day lecture tours that incorporate not just one but two visits to the henge first at sunset, then after nightfall a couple of hours later. Also included in the package is a guided yomp down the ley line and around the historic landscape that surrounds the site on Salisbury Plain, plus a two-course pub meal. It’s a long day at 13 hours, but Rowan’s tour promises to be a unique experience brimming with both useful information and eccentric personality.
As the sun dips behind the massive megaliths, Stonehenge is transformed into what Rowan describes as an enigmatic temple. Hell explain theories of how the ancients built the massive structure in accordance with events taking place in the heavens. It’s well known that Stonehenge has lunar alignments but there are important solar alignments too, and Rowan will highlight both. On a clear night its possible to see Venus setting behind an ancient trilithon definitely not an experience you have every day.
Cost: 150 pp.
Set off from: Avebury.
We like: Great chance to get photos of the stones by starlight.
Not sure: Thirteen hours?
Book it: David Rowan’s website
Tours for Mystics
If you really want to connect with Stonehenge then you need Peter Knight‘s help. Hes a speaker and author specialising in earth mysteries, earth energies, ley lines and astronomical alignments, and he offers a package experience that promises to bring you spiritually closer to the ancient, enigmatic megaliths, and with it nature, man.
Knight’s tour shares some broad similarities with David Rowan’s (above), but it would appear to differ in the fact that it’s an experience for body and soul, as well as the mind. Knight will encourage participants to touch and feel the stones, experience natural energy forces and ley lines and really get into the mindset of our ancestors who over 3,000 years ago were creating this astounding environment. He even
threatens promises optional meditations and drumming inside a 5,500-year-old tomb. Both hardened skeptics and enthusiastic spiritualists alike will by the end, believes Knight, be forced to admit to the merit of this hands-on close encounter with ancient history and Mother Earth .
Cost: 100 per group (max three per group).
Set off from: Salisbury train station.
We like: Small tours with a personal touch.
Not sure: May contain bongo drums.
Book it:Stone Seeker Tours
Tours for Archaeology Buffs
Maybe you think all this astrological and mystical stuff is mumbo-jumbo? In that case, you need a privately-guided sojourn around the Stonehenge landscape with Expert Tours who promose a level of expertise no other tour company can match. There’s no stone-touching or stargazing on this trip, no sir. Youll be led by a pro-archaeologist, who will give a sober and authoritative account of the latest cold, hard facts about the monument, plus a definitive description of who dug what, wear and when.
There has been lots of archaeological activity at Stonehenge and the surrounding historic landscape over the last few years, with major excavations by the Stonehenge Riverside Project at Durrington Walls representing the latest big dig. So theres always loads of new information to discover and plenty of fresh holes in the ground to see. The tours are totally bespoke, so you can do as little or as much walking as you fancy.
Cost: From 39 pp.
Set off from: Pick-up from your local accomodation or arrival point.
We like: A great chance to sort Stonehenge myths from facts.
Not sure: Possibly not as much fun as other tours.
Book it:Expert Tours
Tours for Avatars
If you havent done so already, get set-up for access to Heritage Key VX, and you can travel to Stonehenge at your virtual leisure. There, our trusty bot Owain in his natty white robes will be your guide on a unique tour that allows you to visit the monument throughout the ages, from 2400 BC to the present day.
Stonehenge has changed dramatically over its 4,500 year history. A virtual visit illustrates its shifting make-up, by showing how the Salisbury Plain landscape might have looked before a single stone was raised. Next jump forward through the ages to 2300 BC when the Sarsen stone was put in place then 1500 BC, when Stonehenge was at its peak. By the final stop in the 21st century, youll be able to appreciate how the megaliths have decayed dramatically, yet remain a striking sight.
Set off from: Your desktop.
We like: See Stonehenge through the ages, interact, undertake challenges what’s not to like?
Not sure: Doesn’t quite beat seeing the real thing.
Book it:Heritage Key VX