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The exhibition explores Britain’s roller coaster relationship with Europe.
An exhibition called Making Connections: Stonehenge in its Prehistoric World opens today (Friday 12th October).
It showcases among some of the most prized objects in the British Museums’ collection of ancient Britain and Europe.
English Heritage and the British Museum have come together to stage the exhibition which examines the shifting relationship between the British Isles and mainland Europe during the Neolithic and Bronze Ages.
Among some of the artifacts on display include three chalk cylinders from around 3000BC found with the burial of a child in North Yorkshire, a gold neckpiece made around 4000 years ago, and a 6,500 year old jade axe.
Making Connections: Stonehenge in its Prehistoric World opens on 12 October and runs until 21st April 2019.
It’s among a number of events English Heritage is holding to mark 100 years since local couple Cecil and Mary Chubb gifted the monument to the nation.
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26-space coach park is set to be built at Stonehenge and will operate for two years, councillors in Wiltshire have agreed.
English Heritage will convert farmland next to the existing coach park and will include walkways for pedestrians.
Concerns had been raised over increased traffic, landscape impact and what would happen after the two-year period.
Wiltshire Council’s conditions include ensuring the land can easily be returned to its original state.
Last month, the council rejected plans to resurface an overflow car park on the grounds of visual impact on the landscape.
More than 1.3 million people have visited the prehistoric monument since the opening of a new visitor centre in December 2013.
Seven councillors approved the vote, with three against and one abstaining
Full story on the BBC news website
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Click here for Membership benefitsMembership gives you a whole year of unlimited entry to Stonehenge, castles and gardens, historic houses and abbeys, and kids go free!
Special Exhibitions at Stonehenge
The new Stonehenge Visitor Centre has a changing programme of special exhibitions so membership means you can visit as often as you wish for free.
English Heritage Members’ Events
They have an exciting new programme of events throughout the year, exclusively for members.
Events include behind the scenes and underground tours, hands-on workshops and guided tours and historical walks.
Make the most of your membership this season and enjoy our events, designed just for you.
Bringing History to Life: Enjoy free or discounted entry with your Membership
If you fancy hearing roaring tales of battle from a Viking warrior, sussing out some spy skills, becoming a top hobby horse knight or just embarking on a fun-filled trail or quest – you’ve come to the right place! With child-friendly tea rooms and hands-on exhibits, we have everything you need for a day out with the family.
- Some of the English Heritage attractions in the Wiltshire area:Stonehenge
Old Wardour Castle
Bratton Camp and White Horse
Farleigh Hungerford Castle
West Kennet Long Barrow, Avebury
Silbury Hill, Avebury
Hatfield Earthworks (Marden Henge)
Visit only three of the possibilities and the pass will pay for itself!
Stonehenge now has a transformed visitor experience, with a new world-class visitor centre, housing museum-quality permanent and special exhibitions, plus a spacious shop and café.
To be assured of entering Stonehenge you must reserve tickets in advance. If you have an English Heritage pass or are a National Trust or English Heritage member and are entitled to free entry you still need to obtain (free) tickets in advance.
The true meaning of this ancient, awe-inspiring creation has been lost in the mists of time. Was Stonehenge a temple for sun worship, a healing centre, a burial site or perhaps a huge calendar? How did our ancestors manage to carry the mighty stones from so far away and then, using only the most primitive of tools, build this amazing structure? Surrounded by mystery, Stonehenge never fails to impress.
Includes complimentary audio tour and learn more about the mysteries surrounding Stonehenge.
The superb shop for souvenirs of your visit and unusual gifts.
A walk in the prehistoric landscape around Stonehenge to see some of the other monuments in the World Heritage Site.
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Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
If you have membership we will reduce the entrance fees from the cost of any guided tours you book with us- a significant saving!
THIS beautiful leafy county has more to offer than the historic site of Stonehenge1. Wonder at world-famous Stonehenge. The mysterious, magical stone circle dates back to 3100 BC and now has a revamped visitor’s centre to help bring history to life. english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/Stonehenge
2. Climb the 332 steps to the top of Salisbury Cathedral tower for a great view. Salisbury’s pointy gothic cathedral has the tallest tower in Britain.
3. Meet a real film star. Picturesque Lacock village is a firm favourite with film and TV producers. The village’s historic buildings have starred in the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice and Cranford and in screen in the Harry Potter film, The Half-Blood Prince and Wolfman.
4. Take the family on a day trip to the Iron Age settlement of Old Sarum. Just two miles from Salisbury, it marks the site of the original cathedral and the Romans, Normans and Saxons have all left their mark on the fort. The gift shop even sells wooden bows and arrow too to take you back in time. english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/old-sarum
5. Shop in Kate Middleton’s former neighbourhood. Marlborough is where she went to school and the market centre boasts great tea shops and an interesting selection of independent and interesting upmarket shops.
6. Go back in time to see the oldest working steam engines in the world at Crofton Beam Engines where the 200-year-old engines pump water to the highest point of the Kennet and Avon Canal. Marvel at the historic architecture and picnic in the grounds. croftonbeamengines.org/index.html
7. Discover the walled garden or take the kids to learn to climb a tree and be amazed by the world-famous Stourhead gardens which have been stunning visitors since they first opened in the 1740s. nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead
8. Enjoy a cruise along the canal at Bradford on Avon. Barge trips leave from the lock, just outside the town centre, all year round. visitwiltshire.co.uk/explore/towns-and-villages/bradford-on-avon-and-trowbridge
9. Tuck into pheasant, smoked salmon and traditional desserts of rhubarb or sticky toffee pudding at the recently revamped Methuen Arms in Corsham, just eight miles from Bath.
10. Walk the footpath up to Chernhill Down to come face to face with the giant white horse carved on the edge of the hill. The chalk horse was cut in 1780 and you’ll find it off the A4 just east of the village of Cherhill.
Full article By: Anne Gorringe: http://www.express.co.uk/travel/shortbreaks/473383/10-things-to-do-in-Wiltshire
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After decades of delay, Stonehenge’s new visitor centre finally opens to tourists today. So has it been worth the wait? Simon Calder takes a tour round this gateway to the Neolithic past
The ancients might be amused that the problem of “What shall we do with Stonehenge?” has lasted about as long as Neolithic man took to construct England’s emblem in the first place. Conflict between the preservation of this astonishing temple to the sun and the demands of tourists, motorists and the military is as old as the Wiltshire downs. But from this morning, the struggle may be over.
“Standing here now it is hard to describe the feeling of relief, excitement and elation that I feel,” says Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage.
“Here” is the new visitor centre, gateway to the nation’s most significant ancient site. Late Neolithic man bequeathed us the only lintelled prehistoric stone circle in the world – and the lintels are responsible for the allure. While Scotland has more impressive stone circles, at Callanish on Lewis and Brodgar on Orkney, the structure here resembles a series of doors that invites the onlooker to gaze in on the past. But how to make sense of it all? Interpretation for the million-plus annual visitors to Stonehenge has, up to now, been dismal.
Among the many planning outrages that were being perpetrated in the Sixties, Stonehenge escaped relatively lightly. While Euston station was being demolished and Plymouth city centre was being constructed, the 4,500-year-old circle of English “sarsen” stones and Welsh bluestone was given a 1968 upgrade of its own. The quasi-military bunker has served, for 45 years, as a visitor centre in the loosest sense of the term. Hemmed in by car and coach parks, it felt like a suburban muddle rather than a gateway to the past – more Penge than henge. Its doors closed yesterday, thank goodness, and from this morning the site will be treated with more dignity.
The elegant new visitor centre is a post-modern solution to a prehistoric problem. It is the heart of a much-delayed £27m package of improvements designed to rescue the temple complex from centuries of abuse. The director pronounces herself “hugely pleased” with the results. “It’s such a beautiful building that sits so well in the landscape,” says Loraine Knowles.
Were I called upon to sum up the design in three words, they would be “Nordic airport terminal”. Which suggests either that the needle-thin columns soaring to perforated eaves like a deconstructed Rubik’s Cube are a touch adventurous for Wiltshire, or that I have spent too long hanging around Tromso and Turku. The materials, though, are strictly local.
The platform upon which the new tourist temple sits has travelled far less distance than the stones – it is a limestone raft quarried near Salisbury. And the wooden benches in the light, spacious café look as though they may have been purloined from the branch of Wagamama in the same city. But high-spec furnishings are the least you’d expect after paying £14.90 to get in – up from £8 since yesterday.
After experiencing the breathtaking new exhibits on the south side of the terminal – sorry, visitor centre – however, you will probably judge the 86 per cent admission hike to be fair. Expertise, electronics and hard cash have combined to explain the Stonehenge saga eloquently.
Over a few centuries, archaeologists’ understanding of the “what”, “when”, “how” and “why” of Stonehenge has steadily refined – but until the 21st century the notion of “who” has been as opaque as the morning mist.
“In the past 10 years, our understanding of Stonehenge has been revolutionised,” says Simon Thurley.
Today, the visitor gets to stand amid a virtual stone circle at the start of the exhibition area, as projectors play a continuous cycle through the seasons of Stonehenge, catching the rising sun on the summer solstice and the setting sun of midwinter. Then the scale of the sacred engineering is explained: 35-ton lumps of ultra-hard sandstone – known as sarsen – were dragged south from the Marlborough Downs, while smaller slabs of bluestone were fetched from the Preseli Hills in west Wales, 150 miles away.
The building of a temple, initially for cremation ceremonies, was carried out with only the most rudimentary of tools; antlers were a favourite for earthworks.
But what did the builders of Stonehenge look like? English Heritage has commissioned a best guess. A Swedish expert in forensic reconstruction has created a handsome, bearded head from studying a skull found on the site.
The final element of the visitor centre is an area for temporary exhibitions – the first of which is an enchanting account of how Stonehenge has been interpreted over the centuries. Medieval man believed it to be a marvel brought by Merlin from Ireland. The circle was also attributed over the centuries to Romans and Druids, before finally being marked down as the work of good-natured ancient Britons.
The visitor centre is opening just in time for this Saturday’s winter solstice – and not a moment too soon for anyone, such as Dr Thurley, who agrees that the presentation of Stonehenge has been “a national disgrace”. That was the term used by the Public Account Committee 20 years ago. Since then, successive governments have come up with a range of proposals that typically involve doing to the A303 what Neolithic man did to the deceased: bury it in the downland.
The main road between London and the South-West still rumbles above ground, 200 yards south of the stone circle, but at least the A344 has closed. Previously, the short-cut from Amesbury to Warminster tore along the northern flank, but now the two-mile highway is no more. The busy junction with the A303 has been grassed over, a mere 29 years after Lord Montagu, the first chairman of English Heritage, called for its closure.
The former roadway has been put to use to provide access to the stones. Tourists are towed to the periphery aboard the sort of sightseeing shuttle normally found at the seaside.
If you book an early-morning or after-hours tour with English Heritage, you can enjoy a gratifying close-up of ancient Britain. Daytime visitors are kept at much more than arm’s length. But that distant encounter is at last properly poignant. “It allows us to reunite the stones with the grass downland,” says Dr Thurley.
The low roar from the A303 may still be too close for comfort, but no longer is the ancient stone circle trapped in the headlights of progress.
By road, the new visitor centre is a mile north of the A303 on the A360; the postcode is SP3 4DX.
The nearest station is Salisbury, on the London-Exeter and Bristol-Southampton lines. Buses run to Stonehenge.
The site opens 9.30am-5pm daily, though over Christmas and the New Year there are some shorter hours and closures; see bit.ly/GoStone. That is also the place to make advance bookings, which English Heritage says will be mandatory from 1 February. The advance adult admission is £13.90, or £14.90 for walk-up arrivals.
Aricle by Simon Calder : http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/uk/stonehenge-no-more-going-round-in-circles-9011327.html
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