Each year on the 21st December visitors from around the world gather at Stonehenge early in the morning to mark the Winter solstice and to see the sunrise above the stones. At dawn the central Altar stone aligns with the Slaughter stone, Heel stone and the rising sun to the northeast.
The Winter Solstice is the most important day of the year at Stonehenge and a truly magical time to be there. It's an ad hoc celebration that brings together England's New Age Tribes (neo-druids, neo-pagans, Wiccans) with ordinary families, tourists, travelers and party people - 100's of them!
For many the impulse to arrive at Stonehenge in time for the Solstice is a little like all those people drawn to the strange rock in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It's akin to a spiritual experience. Anyone who has witnessed the crowd become silent as the sky begins to brighten can attest to that.
Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2012
Stonehenge is carefully aligned 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 thought that the Winter Solstice was actually more important to the people who constructed Stonehenge than the Summer Solstice. The Winter Solstice was a time when most cattle were slaughtered (so they would not have to be fed during the winter) and the majority of wine and beer was finally fermented.The exact time for the Winter Solstice is December 21st, 11.39pm (UK time). The sunset on the 21th is at 3.53pm and the sunrise on the 21st of December at 8.04am
The small group nature of this tour means you can have a real personal experience.
Depart central London at approx 6am* December 21st 2012. Midi Coach Travel to Stonehenge with guide and spend 1 - 2 hours inside the circle and witness the sun rising, Druid Ceremony and festivities. Back to London at 12pm
* This time may vary depending on the access time granted by English Heritage
This is not like our traditional guided 'Private Access' tour. Although this tour is guided it does not visit other attractions and is not everyone's cup of tea, however those who do participate will never forget it and will surely 'tell the tale' for many years to come...... Please take the time to view our images / video of previous 'Solstice Tours'.
For those of you who have not visited this sacred site, we should mention that the complex is roped off. Visitors observe the stones from a distance and are not permitted within the temple complex..........our 'Winter Solstice' tours allow you to be amongst the stones before the site is open to the general public.
N.B. With this exception English Heritage do not allow any other 'private access' tours between 19th December and 25th December
English Heritage did not confirm the date for Open Access for Stonehenge for the Winter Solstice yet, but most likely this will be dawn on the 22th of December. (The sunrise on the 22nd is closer to the actual solstice than that on the 21st of December.) Expect a short period of access, from approximately 7.30 to 9.00am. They work works closely with agencies, and people from all sectors of the community, in order to create a peaceful occasion - ensuring an event that can be safely enjoyed by all and protects Stonehenge and its surrounding Monuments.
Due to the nature of this 'special access' tour and the strict entry conditions that English Heritage impose please register your interest for this tour on the form below and we will contact you with booking details and terms and conditions. This is on a first come first serve' basis.