- Sunrise at Avebury Stone Circle
West Kennet Long Barrow
Traditional Pub Lunch
English Heritage Stonehenge visitor centre
Visit Stonehenge and witness the solstice sunset
Durrington Walls and Woodhenge
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A sight you can't see every day, the winter solstice at Stonehenge is a great bucket list experience and will take you back to basics when it comes to human spirituality and belief.
Avebury Stone Circle dwarves Stonehenge and some parts of the complex are older than Stonehenge itself. First, we visit a 6000-year old tomb, the West Kennet Long Barrow, and enter the tomb itself. Back outside take in the wonderful views across the countryside to the world’s largest man-made prehistoric hill, Silbury Hill. West Kennet Long Barrow is a Neolithic tomb or barrow, located near Silbury Hill close to Avebury in Wiltshire. It was built over five and a half thousand years ago and and important pilgrimidge site on the solstice.
Visit Avebury Stone Circle on the Winter Solstice
Avebury Henge is one of the Wonders of Ancient Britain. Originally, the megalithic complex consisted of over 700 standing stones and contained the world’s largest stone circle. Long and meandering stone avenues coursed for one and a half miles which led to the inner circles and the heart of the stone temple. Walk amongst the Stones with the Druids and Pagans absorbing the magic of the largest Stone Circle in the world at one of the most important times of year. Take time to reflect upon its powerful, mysterious presence and the ancient engineering and design.
We then take the scenic historic route using the country lanes. As we meander through the countryside to Stonehenge, we pass famous white horses carved into the chalk hillsides and picturesque, tucked away villages. We stop at a traditional country Pub for lunch (included in price). Enjoy a local pint of ale or cider before our onward journey.
Then we will visit key archaeology sites including Durrington Walls, Woodhenge and The Cursus and learn more about the archaeological landscape and investigative work that has taken place in recent years.
“The big skies, striking views of the stone circle and sense of ancientness make the Stonehenge landscape a fine place for a truly magical guided tour”
Finally we arrive at the Stonehenge visitor centre. We allow time to explore the exhibition centre before a guided walking tour of the monument itself. Stonehenge is carefully aligned on a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset on December 21st. Witness the sun setting at Stonehenge from the ceremonial Avenue on the most important day of the Celtic Calander. We will be there for sunset!
The Winter SolsticeSolstice
Stonehenge has been carefully aligned for thousands of years on a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset (opposed to New Grange, which points to the winter solstice sunrise, and the Goseck circle, which is aligned to both the sunset and sunrise). It is even thought that the Winter Solstice was actually more important to the people who constructed Stonehenge than the Summer Solstice. When you see the primeval light strike the stones on this crisp winter morning it’s easy to see why.
Celebrate amongst the megaliths and connect to a tradition, to a celebration, older than our very society. Ancients believed the winter solstice was a time of death and rebirth, where spirits roamed the lands. Deep in the midwinter our ancestors rejoiced in the rebirth of the sun as the days once again began to elongate, looking forward to the spring and the promise of bounty which the new sun promised.
‘Solstice’ roughly translates to ‘sun stands still’- as it was believed the sun was suspended in the sky on these occasions. Today we know that this effect is caused by the earth's tilt, at this point it reaches its maximum tilt away from the sun. The perceived suspension of the sun shed light and energy into the ancient rituals and that energy has been retained to this day. The celebrations are as vibrant as they have been for centuries- supported by an ancient continuity which you can be a part of. The winter solstice was a time to celebrate the fermentation of the wine and beer and to sacrifice cattle to support the community through the harsh winter.
The winter solstice amongst the stones is the perfect place to start feeling festive. The celebrations of the winter solstice have been called by many names, including jul in Scandinavia, or Yule in Britain. The 12 day Scandinavian festival which centred around the solstice has given us many of our modern traditions including the Christmas tree, the Yule log and the Christmas wreath. So join the revellers at Stonehenge this year to tap into a seasonal joy older than and in an idyllic setting more beautiful than the very concept of Christmas.
This tour is designed for people staying in London without their own transport and offers great value. Visiting Stonehenge for the Solstice from London would be virtually impossible by public transport.*Entrance to Salisbury Cathedral is optional and is not included in the tour price