The most famous prehistoric monument in the world, and now a world heritage site, Stonehenge stands alone in the vast empty tract of Salisbury plain. Its origins date back nearly 5,000 years, and it has been home to pagan religion and spiritual worship, not to be mention public debate ever since. What was this vast collection of stones intended for? Was it an observatory of the moon, a temple to the sun, or an elaborate cemetery? Who were the people who carried and carved these 40 ton rocks? Come and unlock the secrets for yourself and marvel at this remarkable and mysterious feat of ancient engineering and design, as we enjoy the wonderful celebrations that take place to mark the summer solstice.
Sunset Tour (20 June) - 13 hrs
Tour departs London at 12 noon and heads west towards the site, taking the time to enjoy the ancient stones at Avebury, before heading to picturesque Lacock for an early evening supper, included in the price. From here we journey to Stonehenge itself arriving at roughly 19:00pm, as it begins it’s annual celebration of the summer solstice. Huge crowds gather and there will be plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere of this historic event, walk amongst the stones, and observe the pagan rituals and ceremonies that take place at varying intervals throughout the evening. Please note there are two twenty to thirty-minute walks involved during the day to see the celebrations at Avebury and Stonehenge.
Sunrise Tour (21 June) - 8 hrs
Tour departs London at 1am on the 21st June and heads directly to Stonehenge arriving at roughly 3 am. The annual celebration of the summer solstice will be well under way by then as the atmosphere builds towards the sunrise and the climax of the event. Huge crowds gather and there will be plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere of this historic morning, walk amongst the stones, and observe the pagan rituals and ceremonies that take place at varying intervals throughout the evening. Please note there is a twenty to thirty-minute walk involved to get from the coach park to the event.
The solstice itself is an astronomical event that occurs twice each year as the Sun reaches its highest or lowest excursion relative to the celestial equator, with the sun appearing to have reached its highest or lowest annual altitude in the sky above the horizon.
The word solstice comes from the Latin sol (sun) and sister (to stand still), because, at the solstices, the Sun, as seen from earth stands still in declination before reversing it’s direction. Thus after the summer solstice, the sun does not appear as high in the sky and daylight reduces. The solstice is therefore seen as the midpoint of summer in many cultures and is cause for celebration.
Like other religious groups, Pagans are in awe of the strength of the sun and the divine powers that create life. For many pagans, they believe that the Goddess took over the earth from the horned God at the beginning of spring and she is now at the height of her power and fertility. The summer solstice marks the marriage of the God and Goddess and sees their union as the force that creates the harvest's fruits. To celebrate many Pagans and non-Pagans head to ancient religious sites including Avebury and Stonehenge, to conduct fascinating and colourful ceremonies throughout the night enjoying the last sunset and sunrise before the sun alters it’s direction once more.
Please note that as a responsible tour operator we have a duty of care towards the places we visit and in this case, we ask you to take great care when visiting the historic site. It is important that Stonehenge and its surrounding Monuments are preserved for future generations, and we ask you not to touch the stones, and not to leave any litter at the site.
Visitors are requested to dispose of their rubbish carefully at the designated recycling and rubbish points located in the Solstice Car Park and at Stonehenge. Clear recycling bags will also be handed out on arrival. Please do not drop litter - bag and bin your rubbish so the recycling team can gather them up. It is a very sensitive landscape and still used by local farmers, so please respect their crops and livestock.
There are authorised catering facilities on the site, and some personal food and drink are allowed to be brought onto the site. Please bring them in a small bag – large rucksacks are not permitted. Glass is not permitted and will be confiscated – many people walk barefoot, and the livestock graze in the area throughout the year. Due to the large numbers of people who attend the event, naked flames are strictly forbidden. Small ground sheets and blankets are allowed.
The tour will return to London around midnight terminating at Victoria Station. We will make a few drop-offs including Gloucester Road Underground Station, Hyde Park Corner, and Trafalgar Square. Trafalgar Square is the central hub of London's excellent night bus service that will have a frequent service to your Central London hotel district if you miss the last Underground train. Finally, tour ends at Victoria Station.