We are delighted how visitor numbers have increased at Stonehenge thanks to the fantastic new visitor centre and it looks like 2015 will be another vintage year for Wiltshire tourism. English Heritage are keeping tour operators fully informed and I have included their useful information and tips for the travel trade below:
Keeping in touch with travel trade and group colleagues
With summer just around the corner, Stonehenge is gearing up for the second high season of its new operation – with advance booking, timed ticketing and the shuttle service to the Stone Circle now bedded in and in full swing.
Since the new visitor centre opened 15 months ago, we have all had to adjust to the major changes it has made. None more so than the tour operators and organisers sending groups to Stonehenge and the drivers, tour leaders and guides who work with us to make the visit as enjoyable as possible.
We’d like to extend a big thank you to you all for your support and patience and for helping us achieve a record 1.3 million visitors in 2014 – up by 9% on 2013.
We’ve also had some exciting highlights at Stonehenge – including a visit from US President Barack Obama. Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg also dropped in to see the changes we have made. But the biggest hit with our visitors was a personal appearance by Paddington Bear, who took time off from filming his new movie to call in!
Plenty of hard work has also been going on both behind the scenes and front of house to improve the visitor experience. Last Spring, 65 volunteers completed building five Neolithic houses beside the visitor centre, which give a real sense of life at Stonehenge for our ancestors. The former car park and buildings close to the Stones have been removed and a whopping 250kg of grass seed planted along the road which ran alongside the Monument – our fingers are crossed for good weather, so it will be standing in a sea of green this summer.
We hope your groups will enjoy our third temporary exhibition, Wish You Were Here, which opens inside the visitor centre in May and runs till 31 August. It takes a light-hearted look at Stonehenge as a visitor attraction through the last two centuries and invites today’s visitors to share the experiences – good, bad or bizarre – of tens of millions of earlier visitors. The current exhibition, Soldiers at Stonehenge closes on 12 April, but your clients can still enjoy seeing over 250 ancient objects on display in our permanent galleries.
Top Tips for Group Visits
◾Please remember to call or email with your booking well in advance to secure your preferred time slot
◾Please ensure your final numbers are confirmed correctly – no refunds can be made once payment has been received or an invoice raised
◾Please arrive at Stonehenge within your designated time slot. If your journey is delayed by more than 30 minutes due to exceptional circumstances, call with a revised arrival time so we can do our best to accommodate you
For all Stonehenge group bookings and enquiries, contact our exclusive Stonehenge line –
Mon-Fri 09.00-17.00Tel: + 44 (0) 370 333 0604
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
Salisbury Cathedral – home to the finest preserved of the four original copies of Magna Carta – celebrates the 800th anniversary of its signing
Promising a “thrilling experience” that will take visitors on a journey of liberty and justice through the Cathedral, its medieval cloisters and the stunning 13th century Chapter House, the centrepiece will be the original Magna Carta housed in a new display.
The immersive exhibition, called Magna Carta: Spirit of Justice, Power of Words, is designed to bring to life the history and the contemporary relevance of this extraordinary document, which is often seen as representing the foundation of modern human rights and the justice system we recognise today.
Tactile hands-on activities will include a medieval sword, quill pens and a parchment that visitors can try out to get a feel of medieval life, while touch screen displays will allow people to explore the continued fight for justice and human rights in the 21st century.
“Despite its age the document has clearly gained in relevance for a modern audience, and there is a tangible sense of anticipation as we open this new exhibition and launch the 800th anniversary celebrations in Salisbury.”
Re-housed in a dramatic new enclosure, the cathedral’s copy of Magna Carta is joined by manuscript treasures from the archive together with a new interpretation of the ornate medieval frieze, which visitors can follow round the Chapter House.
More is revealed about the historical characters linked to Salisbury who shaped the creation and early years of Magna Carta, while contemporary reflections on the meaning of Magna Carta are provided through an thought-provoking documentary made in partnership with local students and Bournemouth University.
With the accent firmly on encouraging a response, the exhibition has been designed to appeal to families and younger audiences as well as the Cathedral’s many international visitors, using media installations, simple interactives, objects and stylish graphics.
“I know that the many visitors who will come to Salisbury Cathedral to experience this exhibition will be excited and engaged by what they find,” added the Very Rvd Osborne. “I hope they will go away inspired by Magna Carta’s enduring values of fairness, universal rights and justice.”
A wide-ranging programme of supporting events has been arranged by the Cathedral during 2015.
Link source: http://www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/art519103-the-best-preserved-magna-carta-goes-on-show-at-salisbury-cathedral-for-magna-carta-800
Click here for Salisbury Guided Tours
- You can see Magna Carta: Spirit of Justice, Power of Words from February 28 2015.
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours