Over half-term, we visited Stonehenge for the first time since the visitors’ centre opened.
While some might say Wiltshire residents should be able to visit for free, our family had a really good time for our £36 ticket bought online.
For too long, Stonehenge has been globally recognised as important but has never been an experience. No one expects to visit the Roman Baths in Bath and not pay for the privilege. Yet it’s a brilliant day out.
It used to be a place locals drove by, with a wooden hut on the opposite side of the road which was a disgrace. There was nothing to make a family want to stay more than ten minutes.
Therefore, we’ve never captured the benefit of all of those visitors who want to see the site and are willing to spend their money in our county for more than a couple of hours.
Although the English Heritage centre is still in its infancy, I was impressed by what it has already.
My boy loved the land bus on the eight-minute ride out to the site.
The downloadable app was useful, giving commentary on the site. What I liked was the fact that there were no definitive answers – there is still so much mystery around Stonehenge.
Seeing the site close up was great and the information provided was ample. There were also several guides on site who were answering really detailed questions from many of the foreign visitors.
We also enjoyed the walks over the barrows and the height and views we were able to experience. We got a real sense of the majesty of the landscape and how our ancestors must have felt about it too.
Back at the visitors’ centre, the obligatory shop was duly visited. My only criticism was that some of the ‘local’ produce on offer came from Somerset.
The exhibition section was very interesting even though it’s clear there’s some way to go until it’s finished. My boy particularly loved the replica sarsen stone on wooden rollers which helped him to visualise how the stones arrived in Wiltshire.
One unexpected benefit from the day was a special offer from English Heritage available only on site. If you signed up for a joint adult membership for a year (£84) they refunded the cost of the day’s tickets.
This also means we can take up to 12 children between us for free to any EH site.