School holidays, warm weather, not being at work… visiting Stonehenge in August just screams crowds, stress and hassle. But it doesn’t have to be that way. An August weekend may pretty much be the busiest time of the year to visit Stonehenge, but it is also probably the time that you are going to want to visit because, well it is relatively warm and you aren’t at work.
For a stress-free visit follow my five tips, and you will not only survive your August weekend trip to Stonehenge, but you may actually enjoy it.
- Book ahead. This is an absolute must as when I arrived at Stonehenge the queue for tickets was about twice as long as the queue for the ladies toilets… and that’s saying something! As I had pre-booked, I smugly walked past the masses who were waiting patiently in line, collected my tickets and headed straight on over to the bus. Tickets are £14.50 for adults and £8.70 for children when pre-booked online on the English Heritage website.
- Avoid peak traffic times. Stonehenge is located just off the A303, which in August can get chock a block with traffic as people are not only going to see the stones, but also heading down to Devon and Cornwall for their summer holidays. Therefore if you can avoid travelling at peak times do so – it may also be quieter once you get to Stonehenge. I did not take this piece of advice myself, as I arrived at 12pm on a Saturday – about as peak as you can get – and we sat in stop-start traffic for about an hour… not the fun start that I was hoping for.
- Take a packed lunch. It’s August, it’s a weekend, as you can imagine the cafe at Stonehenge is pretty busy. Bring your own food or hold off and visit the gorgeous city of Bath (about an hour’s drive from Stonehenge) to eat; there will be a lot more choice.
- Read up before hand. Stonehenge is one of the world’s most famous prehistoric monuments. It is thought to be over 5,000 years old and just thinking about how the stones were transported and arranged without the use of a crane or even a van is baffling. To avoid getting that “this is just a pile of old stones” feeling, read up on the history of Stonehenge before you get there as the experience will be much more impressive if you do.
- Wrap up. It may be August, but remember we are also in the UK. The stones are located around a mile away from the visitors centre and the car park. Oddly, once I arrived at the stones it seemed colder and windier than it did at the visitors centre – possibly because it is slightly up hill. But anyway I didn’t take a jumper and I regretted it, so I suggest you take some layers with you so you can admire the view without goosebumps.