I’ve set an intention to get out of the house and travel as much as possible this year, even if it’s within the UK. So of course I jumped at the chance of paying a visit to Stonehenge and Salisbury for a weekend getaway with my mom.
I’ve known about Stonehenge for as long as I can remember, I mean, it’s pretty famous! But I didn’t know much about it and sometimes that’s how I like to experience new things, to meet them without any prior info in my head and in this case, I was delighted when my first intuitive thought on walking up to the stones was that it was a church. I don’t know what kind of church, that’s just what came to me when I arrived there.
I’ve struggled to find ways to describe what it’s like to visit Stonehenge. Delight and also curiosity. They are still shrouded in so much mystery. I desperately wanted to see a model of what they would have looked like when they were first constructed and you can see such a model in the gift shop along with all manner of souvenirs and fascinating books on English history and locally made jewellery.
They really are just a pile of rocks in the middle of nowhere, with a road passing by and sheep grazing in the surrounding fields, but you can’t help wondering, “why here?” and “what were they for?” and “when did they stop being used?”.
You can pay to join a small private guided group and be taken to the “inner circle” as the general public are only allowed on a path built alongside them. Only at equinox celebrations are people allowed to be up close and personal with the stones. I certainly would like to return during a celebration and put my hands on them.
After weeks of very miserable, grey and wet weather, we were very lucky to visit on a beautiful clear day. We huddled up next to a few other photographers and impatiently waited for the sun to set behind the stones for that all important WOW! shot. We absolutely froze waiting for the slowly sinking sun, but I think you’ll agree, it was well worth it!
To get to Stonehenge, you are to park outside the museum and pay your entry fee and the catch a little shuttle bus which takes a couple minutes to drive you to the stones and back again when you’re done. We didn’t have time to visit the museum but the gift shop is well worth it and there is also a cafe where we grabbed some hot chocolates in order to thaw out!
It was the on to Salisbury where my mom is currently taking care of an elderly lady so I paid a visit to the famous Salisbury Cathedral that is the home to the best preserved copy of the Magna Carta. Completed in 1258, this is one of the finest medieval cathedrals in Britain, which features the tallest spire in England that rises 404 feet into the air. You can see a model of the making of the cathedral inside the cathedral itself.
Naughty iphone picture of the Magna Carta. Can you believe there are no mistakes in it!? Amazing!
I’m not sure if I’ve been spoiled by some of the cathedrals I’ve seen in Europe but I found the Salisbury Cathedral very gothic and quite creepy. Just look at this ominous pipe organ! There were two of them and someone was going blazes on them!
Salisbury itself is a great little town. It’s busy and there is a lot to do and if you want to have your hair cut, you will be spoiled for choice, I’ve never been in a town with so many hairdressers!
Have you ever been to Stonehenge during a festival? Been up close to them?