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Stonehenge is a mystical masterpiece that has stood the test of time. It is a prehistoric monument nestled amidst the rolling plains of Wiltshire, England, with origins dating back over 4,500 years. Stonehenge was built at roughly the same time as the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Sphinx, however, researchers know almost nothing about this structure.
Its purpose remains a mystery, subject of scholarly debate and folklore – from a celestial observatory or ancient burial site to enchanted ties to Merlin, the wizard of Arthurian legend, who magically transported the stones built by giants from Ireland.
In the 1960s and 1970s especially, Stonehenge was thought to be magical and enticed a large hippie crowd, even bringing several open-air festivals to the site. While visiting today, the same crowd remains, with campervans lining the dirt road overlooking the site with a strong smell of marijuana and even pet crows. Definitely … interesting!
Typical Price to Enter Stonehenge
To visit Stonehenge in 2023, it’ll cost between £20.90 – £29.00 for an adult ticket depending on the time of year and day of the week. Stonehenge offers 3 different ticket classes – off-peak, peak, and standard with weekdays being the cheapest day to go IF you were to purchase entry. To be completely honest, my first reaction when seeing the price of entry was, people pay this much to look at some stones? Why?? For a family of four, 2 adults and 2 children, a paid visit here would cost £94 or upwards of $115 during peak season. I can tell you that this hefty price is absolutely NOT worth it.
The great thing is you can visit Stonehenge completely free by walking a public footpath that leads right next to the site.
Visiting Stonehenge for Free
The easiest and quickest way to visit Stonehenge without paying for admission is by visiting the surrounding National Trust land, on a public footpath that is open to anyone. While you won’t be able to step too close to the stone circle without a ticket, the footpath’s free viewing areas provide excellent opportunities to take in the site’s grandeur from just a short distance away. The majestic presence of Stonehenge is not diminished from this free viewpoint. Below is a map of where to go to see Stonehenge for free. To view in Google Maps, click here.
To start, you’ll park along Willoughby Road, near the intersection of Fargo Road, which is completely free. To make it easy, the coordinates of this location are 51°11’36.3″N 1°49’22.6″W which you can pop into Google Maps for easy directions. When coming up to this road, it’s likely that you’ll see several other cars already parked on the left side of the road in the grass. This is where you’ll park.
You’ll then head out on foot, following the road south. This pathway brings you right up to Stonehenge and takes about 20 to 25 minutes to walk.
When arriving at the south end of Willoughby Road, you’ll come across a few gates and paths to your left and right. Continue straight.
The path transitions to a dirt walkway with little shade, so be sure to take water with you. You’ll be walking between farmland with mainly open fields of sheep on either side of you.
Remember that brief mention of hippies with pet crows? Well, we have arrived at that section of the short walk, located just before Stonehenge.
Now you have arrived at the entrance of Stonehenge! Paid visitors are dropped off at this area by bus. There are two pathways, one for paid visitors and the other for free visitors. Take the path to the left for free entry. If you aren’t sure where to go once you get to this point, don’t worry. There are Stonehenge employees that are happy to point to you the free gate.
Walk through the free gate and follow the path for an additional 2 to 3 minutes to get the perfect view of Stonehenge. It’s that easy!
Steeped in mystery and history, Stonehenge remains an enigmatic marvel. While the paid entry is extremely steep for merely viewing a cluster of stones, the free path not only provides a frugal alternative but also offers an awe-inspiring view. Pictures simply do not do the site justice, and it’s only in person that you realize how large the stones actually are. A visit to this iconic site is a journey through time, evoking questions about its origins and the allure of the unknown.
Where to stay: Stonehenge is located a short 50-minute drive from the city of Bath. I drove from London Gatwick to Stonehenge (1.5 hours) then continued north to Bath to explore more of England. The wonderful thing about this is you can choose to stay in the city of Bath or in the countryside just outside of the city limits – it is the perfect area for every type of traveler.
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