After touring in our Quirky Camper, Hector, for over 2 weeks now we have visited and lived in a number of incredible little spots! Including one of the wonders of the world, aka. the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe, aka. STONEHENGE.
We were told that it was best to purchase tickets online beforehand (as you save about $5 per ticket), but we had also read that it was a waste because you are roped off from being able to get up close and personal to those stone giants, which is why many preferred Avebury. We were hesitant to purchase, since they’re about $30 a pop, and so decided to wing it and see what we thought for ourselves.Let us say a bit before we continue: We have gladly paid entry to numerous historical sites – The Roman Baths, Salisbury Cathedral, Corfe Castle, Westminster Abbey, the list goes on – posts coming soon 🙂 The difference is that we feel the entry to the stones was a bit steep and being that there is alternative option for experiencing such an incredible world wonder, why not walk a few extra steps and save a few extra dollars to put towards experiencing another site, ultimately allowing you to make even more beautiful memories! On with the post. We were welcomed by a beautiful visitor’s center and a hefty line up of tour buses. After approaching the ticketing booth we realized that many people were just walking the road/trail to the stones… for free?… We didn’t know how far this would take us but we decided to give it a whirl.
We arrived early that morning (around 10am) and the trail was still covered in frost!:
It was about a 2.5-mile walk from the visitor’s center, but being that it was such a beautiful day, it was quite enjoyable. When we finally approached the final hill that would reveal the famous stone giants, we noticed there was someone checking tickets and just when we thought it was the end of the road for us, we noticed a biker going up a side road, along with a few other cars that had parked where he was going. Naturally, we decided to check it out, and this is what we discovered:
It was absolutely gorgeous, stunning, awe-inspiring. On top of having a clear-shot of the stones, we had the added bonus of getting to watch all the sheep (see “Pano View” in the map below)! Though they weren’t as friendly as the sheep in Iceland, or as round as the sheep in Maine, they had their own unique personality and look to them. Just look at those fuzzy little faces!:
This one was especially popular with the birds:
As we took our time admiring the view and feeling the power of such a special place, we were approached by a kind, old farmer (he literally came out of nowhere) who told us (and we later noticed him standing by the ticketing counter telling everyone he could) about another (free) trail we could take to get even CLOSER to the stones (see “Close up view” in the map below)! We couldn’t quite figure out why he was doing this except maybe his family used to own the land the stones are on? With unanswered questions and an adventure to be had, we packed up our gear and onto discover the new trail we went:
Directions (see map below for illustration): On the opposite side of road to Stonehenge there is grassy field, beyond the 1st fence there is gate. Go through that gate and walk forward until you see a path that goes to the right. This path takes you face-to-face with the giant Heel Stone!:
Here’s a little video clip we took when we arrived to that very spot:
And here’s an awesome time lapse we took of our trek up to that heel stone – you gotta love those sheep!
And here’s our detailed map and guide to help you along your adventure in discovering this epic world wonder for yourself!:
In conclusion, if you have a bit more time and are up for an adventure (Tip: wear boots, it’s muddy), there truly is no need to purchase tickets. The biggest benefit of taking the road less traveled is that it felt like we had the entire place to ourselves! We hardly had to deal with any tourists, at all. Though you are not granted access to the Visitor’s Center without a ticket, it really is no bother. You can still download the Stonehenge Guide app on your smart phone and browse the gift shop! That Stonehenge snow globe was reallyyyy tempting 😉