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Rising up over the chalky expanse of Salisbury Plain, the mysterious megaliths of Stonehenge have captivated visitors for all of England’s recorded history, and surely well before that. No one knows how exactly the massive stones at the center of the complex were transported or raised, given the lack of pulley technology available to Bronze Age people, or whether the purpose of the semicircle, oriented to the sunrise on the winter and summer solstices, was simply ceremonial or had other purposes.
Examination of some of the hundreds of human remains found in the complex shows that people came from as far away as modern Germany and the coast of the Mediterranean to visit these stones. There’s something powerful about making a pilgrimage to a site that’s been attracting far-flung visitors for thousands of years, and if you’re planning to visit England, you really shouldn’t miss it.
As Stonehenge is quite a bit outside of the closest cities and towns, to make your visit easier, consider booking a tour. Both guided and unguided tours are available, as are interest-specific tours and combination tours, so there’s plenty to choose from that will fit both your budget and your preferred style of touring.
Best Tour from London: Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath Day Trip from London
If your English visit is headquartered in London, as most are, there are lots of Stonehenge tours available that allow you to see the monument without renting a car (among other benefits, for those of us from the Americas and Continental Europe, this saves us having to drive on the opposite side of the road). This tour is particularly fun, though, as it gives you a full day outside the bustling city, with trips to three of England’s most iconic sites.
You’ll catch your comfortable coach in the morning at London Victoria Station, from where you’ll head directly to Windsor Castle, ancestral home of the British royals, and most recently famous for hosting the nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018. You’ll take a guided tour through the public areas of the castle and St. George’s Chapel before boarding your coach and heading to Stonehenge.
Your tour of the 5,000-year-old Stonehenge site is self-guided, with the aid of an interactive map and VOX headset. You’ll have a good amount of time to wander the site and the visitor’s center before boarding your coach and heading for your final stop: the charming town of Bath. This beautiful town gets its name from its largely-intact Roman Baths, built here in 43 BC, which you’ll visit on your guided tour, along with the Pulteney Bridge, Bath Abbey, and the gorgeous Georgian buildings that line the town’s streets. It’s a full day, but a wonderful one, full of millennia of British history.
Best from Salisbury: Full-Day Tour of Salisbury and Stonehenge
Salisbury is the closest city to Stonehenge, just 8 miles/13 km from the complex, but this beautiful and often overlooked town, centered around the 800-year-old Salisbury Cathedral, is worth a substantial visit in its own right. This tour combines visits to both the Neolithic monument, the city itself, and the ancient nearby town of Amesbury, all in one fantastic, history-filled day.
You’ll begin your morning with a tour of Salisbury, complete with an hour-long stop at the Salisbury Cathedral, where you can see an original copy of the 1215 Magna Carta, followed by a stop at Old Sarum, an Iron Age hill-fort which marks the original settlement of what is now Salisbury. You’ll then travel along the River Avon on the way to Amesbury, England’s longest continuously-occupied settlement, with nearly 11,000 years of inhabitants living, loving, working, and dying here.
After an included pub lunch, it’s on to Stonehenge, via a couple of quick stops at other Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments nearby. You’ll enjoy more than two hours of both guided and unguided exploration time at Stonehenge before returning to central Salisbury via coach.
Best from Oxford: Bath and Stonehenge Day Trip
Stonehenge, Oxford, and Bath are each about an hour from each other, making for a tidily triangular day trip through the area; a must-do whether you’re studying at Oxford or just visiting. This tour makes it easy, linking the three together. It begins at a meetup point in central Oxford, where you’ll board a comfortable climate-controlled coach and head out for Stonehenge. Here, you’ll be given a personal audio guide and you can explore the visitor’s center and the overall complex independently with your headset’s assistance. You’ll learn about the many eras of Stonehenge’s construction, delve into some of the theories behind why it was built and how, and gain a deeper understanding of how archaeologists go about studying the people who did the building and those who came as pilgrims later.
After your morning at Stonehenge, you’ll head to picturesque Bath, where you’ll take a guided walking tour through the city’s historic center. You’ll see the famous Roman Baths, the Royal Crescent, Bath Abbey, and the locations that inspired Jane Austen’s Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, among others. After your guided tour, you’ll have some free time to explore the city before catching your coach back to Oxford.
Best Spirituality and Mythology Tour: Full-Day Stonehenge and Avebury Tour from Glastonbury
There’s no question that Stonehenge and other nearby Stone Age and Bronze Age monuments were places of religious ceremony for those who built them and countless generations after, and they hold deep meaning to this day to many followers of earth-based religions. This tour company is helmed by Tor Webster, a healer and mystic who has a particular interest in early Celtic Christianity and in the deep and ancient local traditions that are intertwined with Stonehenge itself.
On this eight-hour tour, you’ll get a proper explanation of the factual history and archaeological theory surrounding these massive monuments, but you’ll also take a deep dive into their spiritual significance, as well as their place in Arthurian legend and other British folklore. The tour includes Stonehenge itself, as well as the huge stone circle at Avebury, the St. Michael Ley-Line, a Saxon-era stone church, and the human-built mount at Silbury Hill.
Best Prehistory Tour: Stonehenge and Avebury Prehistoric Tour
Guided by a historian, this private tour includes a pick-up and drop-off from your London hotel and a full day of guided exploration of the prehistoric sites of Southwest England. After some picturesque country driving from the city on into Salisbury Plain, the day’s explorations begin at Stonehenge. Your guide will illuminate the very latest archaeological finds and talk over some of the many theories surrounding the monument.
You’ll have time to explore the visitor’s center and wander the site a bit. From Stonehenge, it’s on to Avebury, the largest extant megalithic stone circle in the world (and a rather adorable little adjoining village of the same name). It’s thought to be about a thousand years older than Stonehenge and is lesser-known but fascinating. You’ll also visit Silbury Hill, a mysterious hand-built mound that is as old as the Egyptian Pyramids, and the West Kennet Long Barrow, a remarkable Neolithic stone chambered tomb which you can enter and explore and which, as your guide will explain, has been the source of many excavations that have helped archaeologists discover much of what they know about the people who built the other monuments in the area.
Best Evening Tour: Stonehenge Special Access Evening Tour from London
Beat the crowds and get private access to the Stonehenge site with this special-access evening tour, which brings you to Salisbury Plain from London in a climate-controlled coach with a driver and guide. On the way out to Stonehenge, you’ll stop at the remarkable stone circle at Avebury for some guided and free exploration, and then at the 5,000-year-old hilltop tomb of West Kennet Long Barrow. Your tour guide will show you around and explain the historical significance of this stone chamber and illuminate some of what it can teach us about the people who settled the region.
Finally, you’ll take an after-hours Stonehenge tour with a local guide, with special access to a guided walk inside the circle itself (this is closed to most daytime visitors, as guests must be closely supervised near the stones for both their safety and that of the monument). Stonehenge is quite a sight at any time of day, but at twilight, it’s really quite otherworldly. After you’ve enjoyed a tour, you’ll be shuttled back to your London hotel in comfort.
Best Luxury Tour: Private Chauffeured Vehicle to Stonehenge from London
If the comfort and individual attention of a private tour appeal, consider splurging on this one. You’ll be picked up from your London hotel in a luxury minivan and shuttled out to the countryside. Your private certified Blue Badge guide will meet you at the entrance of Stonehenge, accompany you to purchase your entrance tickets, and then show you around at your leisure, answering any questions you might have and highlighting facets of the ancient monument that you didn’t even know to ask about. After you’ve spent a couple of hours exploring, you’ll re-board your minivan, bid farewell to your guide, and be chauffeured back to London.
Best Self-Guided Tour: Unescorted Stonehenge Tour from London
Ideal for both budget travelers and those who’d rather read or use a headset audio guide than follow a person around, this tour is basically just a shuttle — no frills, but plenty of comfort. You’ll meet your motorcoach at a Central London station and enjoy the 90-minute Wi-Fi-enabled ride to Stonehenge. There, your driver will provide you with your entrance pass and a headset that includes an audio guide in a number of different languages, and you’re off! Spend around two hours exploring the visitor’s center, the site itself, and the adjoining shops at your own pace. At the end of that time, it’s back on the bus and back to London.
Best Port Transfer: Central London to Southampton Cruise Port, Including Stonehenge
Travelers departing London on a cruise typically board their ship in Southampton. Stonehenge is just about 15 minutes out of the way on that particular trip, so why not take advantage and sign up for this specific port transfer, which allows you to stop on the way to visit the ancient monument. Your private vehicle (sedans, minivans, and minibuses are available, depending on the size of your party) will pick you up in Central London and then drive you out to Salisbury Plain.
Your driver will help you pick up your pre-purchased tickets, set a planned meet-up time with you, and then you’re off to explore the site and the visitor’s center for an hour or two on your own. When you’re finished, it’s back in the vehicle and on to Southampton, where you’ll be dropped at either the Southampton Cruise Terminal or the Southampton hotel of your choosing. It’s a great opportunity to loop a visit into your trip, and with a private driver who knows the landscape, it’s pretty failsafe, time-wise.
Our writers spent 2 hours researching the most popular Stonehenge tours on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 20 different tours overall, screened options from 20 different providers and read over 35 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.