Visiting Stonehenge with Kids

Stonehenge has been on our days out wishlist for a long time and now we are English Heritage members we decided to take the hours drive north to visit.

Luckily we managed to dodge the Dorset Steam Fair traffic, as it was going in the opposite direction, but did get to see a couple of steam engines trundling along on route to the event.

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in Amesbury, near Salisbury and is somewhere we have driven past many times and you can see the stones from the busy main road.

We arrived to find a small queue to get into the carpark, as during peak times a £5 refundable parking charge is collected on arrival. This is refunded at the admissions point when purchasing your ticket, but English Heritage and National Trust members are exempt from this charge.

Stonehenge Visitor Centre

Unsurprisingly, being the height of the school holidays in August, there was a queue to get in; one for English Heritage members and the other for tickets on the gate and it took us about 20 minutes to finally get inside.

Stonehenge Shuttle

We picked up our audio guides and made the decision to see the stones first and hopped straight on the visitor shuttle which takes you 1.5 miles up to the stones. You can walk from the visitor centre if you prefer and the shuttle also stops halfway up, so you can walk through the woods and through the ancient landscape, which is what we did.

Woods

If you are able to make this 15 minute walk to the stones, I highly recommend you do it as you are able to view some information tables with points of interest along the route and it’s a fascinating walk.

Stonehenge Curcus

We have never really given a second thought to the landscape as we whizz past it in the car, but along this walk you get to see several round barrows – earth mounds, usually covering one or more graves or burials and surrounded by a circular ditch.

Information Point

It was here the audio guide really caught the kids attention as the kids version gave them all the information I read in a Horrible Histories style. Sebby excitedly pointed to the round barrow and told me “there are dead bodies in there”.

Round Barrow

The kids then spotted Stonehenge itself on the horizon and started running towards it.

Stonehenge Fields

I have to admit that my heart sank a little when we arrived at the stones as it was packed and I was worried that we wouldn’t get to appreciate the stones.

Stonehenge Kids

What we found, however, was a well thought out, wide concrete path that circled around the stones, with a grassy area where people could sit and enjoy a picnic.

Stonehenge

The stones and the circular ditch, which is part of the original low earthworks are all roped off at knee level, giving you an uninterupted view of the stones. There are also boxes with numbers positioned at intervals, telling which section of the audio tour to listen to.

Audio Tour

Eliza loved the fact that the audio tour told her “secrets” that adults were not allowed to hear.

Stonehenge Sarsens

We learned that there are of two types of stones, the larger sarsens and the smaller bluestones.

Stonehenge bluestones

The Sarsens are found locally on Salisbury Plain and Marlborough Downs, but the Bluestones were brought in all the way from Wales.

Kids at Stonehenge

What impressed us the most, is that the Stone Circle is a real masterpiece of engineering, and building it would have taken huge effort from hundreds of well-organised people using only simple tools and technologies, plus the monument is aligned to the movements of the sun.

Midwinter Sunset

The stones were shaped and set up to frame at least two important events in the annual solar cycle – the midwinter sunset at the winter solstice (21st December) and the midsummer sunrise at the summer solstice (21st June).

stonehenge heel stone

We spent a good 90 minutes exploring the site, before catching the shuttle bus back to the visitor centre, where we wandered around the Neolithic houses which have been laid out to show how the people who built Stonehenge would have lived.

Neolithic House

The kids all declared that the beds were very uncomfortable.

Wicker Bed

Also outside the visitor centre is a replica Sarsens stone, set on top of an example of how they would have tried to move the stones, which weigh on average 25 tons each.

Sarsens Stone Replica

Lets just say we didn’t manage to move it!

Replica Sarsens Stone

Inside the Visitor Centre is a huge shop, cafe and a museum. As you enter the museum you watch the seasons pass and take a trip through time with an incredible audio-visual 360 degree view from inside the stones.

Stonehenge 360

The museum then takes you through the history of the site, with models of how it would have looked in different periods of its history, plus 250 archaeological objects and treasures discovered in the landscape surrounding Stonehenge.

Bronze Pot

Stonehenge is a fascinating day out for kids and adults alike and we were there for around 3 hours. The kids preferred the outdoor activities to the museum and I strongly recommend you get the audio tour to get the most out of your day.

Museum

A family ticket to Stonehenge is £50.70 (with Gift Aid £55.90 ), however it is included in an English Heritage annual pass which costs £99 for the year and gives you entry to over 400 historic places. Use code PART16 for 20% off plus Top Cashback to get 5.25% cashback too.

 

25 thoughts on “Visiting Stonehenge with Kids

  1. Gorgeous photos! I havent been to Stonehenge in years but I remember going as a child and finding it such a magical place! I;d love to take the children when we are next down that way!

  2. There is so much there now to help explain the history. Last time I visited you just parked along the A303 and walked right up to the stones, there was nothing else there. To be fair that has to be 40+ years ago!

  3. Admittedly ruined by Stone Circles in Scotland, but Stonehenge is one of the best so it’s definitely on the bucket list. So intriguing. And after its star appearance on GoJetters the kids are hooked!

  4. Visiting Stonehenge is on my to do list – my two are probably too little to appreciate the experience but hopefully in a few years’ time we can pay a visit.

  5. I have visited Stonehenge a few years ago and I did enjoy it. I think the audio guides are the ones that make the entire site interesting and make you stay there for at least an hour.

  6. Totally enjoyed reading your review as Stonehenge has been on our visit list for a long time but we were unsure of what was there and how our kids would react, so thank you for the informative share. Its so helpful for families like us who are heading there for the first time.

  7. Brilliant day out. We have driven past here a few times and thought is there really any point visiting to see up close…..however after reading your post I want to visit now! I love the audio idea, my kids would love that too

  8. I love Stonehenge have been many time sbut not in recent years, will have to add it to next years kids to-do list as we are pretty full for the rest of 2018.

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