We spent last weekend down in Wiltshire and whilst we were there, we decided to make the most of our time and pay a little visit to Stonehenge, as the wedding we'd been attending was not very far away. I booked tickets online, because I'd read a lot of reviews online that if you haven't pre-booked, you might be turned away when you get there, depending on the number of visitors.
We'd opted for the first available slot, which was 2pm when we looked on Sunday morning to book for later that day (I hadn't wanted to book in advance as it was going to depend on the weather and what else we'd planned to do in the town we'd been staying in, but as it happened there was a half marathon in Devizes on Sunday so it looked as though various parts of the town were going to be closed, so we opted to be on our way as soon as possible...)
Upon arrival, we navigated the confusing parking system (you pay £5 to park but then you get it back when you buy your tickets, unless you've booked online in which case you don't...like, what on Earth is that?!) and headed for the pre-booked tickets line. As well as the parking faff, when I gave the booking reference on my email, it didn't seem to match up with my name or booking information. To be honest, the whole entrance system had me less than impressed by this point. Ugh.
Due to the weather, which was grey and rainy and misty, we opted not to hire the audio tours (which would have cost another £9 each), as they had lots of stops where you'd have to wait and listen. We decided to head for the shuttle bus (which takes you from the entrance to the stones themselves) and didn't have to wait long to get onto the next bus. It looked as though these run pretty much constantly back and forth.
Navigating our way around tourists and low-flying selfie sticks, we joined the masses in shuffling around the roped off stones of Stonehenge, stopping to read the information boards which are located around the stones and to take some photos. They are quite impressive, particularly when you think about the effort people must have gone to to move them into position: quite the feat of engineering, but it seemed a shame that we were kept so far from them.
Once we'd passed the Heel Stone and made it back to the bus stop, we decided not to do any of the walks which were signposted from the stones as the weather was looking worse. We caught the bus back to the Visitor Centre, which directs you through the gift shop (where you can buy just about anything one can imagine with the word Stonehenge printed on it!) and then went to the exhibition, which was really interesting
Outside, there was a little village made up of mock wattle and daub huts, to give an indication of what life woudl have been like for the people who built the formation (although most of these were padlocked up so you that visitors couldn't actually access them) and a replica stone on a wooden sledge with a sign telling you to test your strength to see how many more people you'd need to be able to move one of the stones. Again, this would have been pretty good to try, but it was broken.
All in all, I'm glad that I can say I've visited Stonehenge, but it's probably not something I'd bother visiting again. Have you been?