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Witness the sun setting at Stonehenge from the ceremonial Avenue on the Winter Solstice. Visit two World Heritage Sites in one day!
Stonehenge is carefully aligned on a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset and it is now thought that the Winter Solstice was actually more important to the people who constructed Stonehenge than the Summer Solstice
Winter Solstice Guided Tour Highlights (21st December):
- Visit Stonehenge at Sunset on the Winter Solstice
Visit the English Heritage visitor centre
See Bronze Age Burial Mounds
Look inside the reconstructed Neolithic houses
Stand in the 360° theatre and watch the solstice sunset
Visit Avebury Stone Circle
See Silbury Hill / Ancient Chalk Hill Figures / Neolithic Burial Mounds
Luxury Mini Coach, expert guide services and all entrance fees included
Full Day Tour departs from Salisbury.
On this guided tour we’ll follow in the footsteps of people from 4,500 years ago as the made their way across the landscape and up the ceremonial Avenue towards Stonehenge as the Sun set into the centre of the monument before the longest night of the year.
Visit Avebury Stone Circle on the Winter Solstice
Avebury Henge is one of the Wonders of Ancient Britain. Originally, the megalithic complex consisted of over 700 standing stones and contained the world’s largest stone circle. Long and meandering stone avenues coursed for one and a half miles which led to the inner circles and the heart of the stone temple. Walk amongst the Stones with the Druids and Pagans absorbing the magic of the largest Stone Circle in the world at one of the most important times of year. Take time to reflect upon its powerful, mysterious presence and the ancient engineering and design.
Enjoy a walking tour of this ancient and see the many Druids and Pagans gathering for the solstice celebrations. There’s also time to explore the charming village with its thatched cottages, antiques and Saxon village church. Maybe enjoy a traditional cream tea or if you are feeling brave enough why not try some local ale in Avebury’s haunted Inn, the Red Lion (the most haunted pub in England) before we continue to Salisbury via the scenic country back roads
You will pass famous white horses carved into the chalk hillsides and picturesque, tucked away villages. We also explore the mysterious phenomena of crop circles and take a closer look at any which may be in the area (seasonal generally from May to August). Their appearance is always unexpected, unpredictable and largely unexplained. We will pass ancient burial mounds and the mysterious Silbury Hill. This is Europe’s largest prehistoric man-made monument yet still a mystery to modern day man.
Sunset on the 21st December is at 15.52pm. We will be there for sunset!
The Local Stonehenge Experts
For a town which has such a close association with Stonehenge, a history of royal patronage, military activity and Arthurian legend, it has always seemed strange to me that there was no museum or interpretation centre.
In 2012 that situation changed when the Town Council purchased Melor Hall on Church Street and with the help of a team of volunteers created what has become the Amesbury History Centre.
The centre is open from 10am until 3.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday, and is an excellent starting point for your exploration of this remarkable area. Tour groups and educational visits are welcomed and you can book in advance to have exclusive access to the facilities.
Exhibits and displays tell you about the discovery of the Mesolithic hunter-gatherer settlement at Blick Mead which dates back at least 10,000 years and has led the Guinness Book of Records to label Amesbury as the longest continually inhabited settlement in Britain.
Finds from the University of Buckingham’s archaeological digs from the last several years are on show, from Mesolithic flint tools and bones of prehistoric cattle called aurochs through to the astonishing magenta pink flints that are found in the spring.
You can also learn about the discovery of the Amesbury Archer, a Bronze Age burial found in 2002 when a new housing estate was being built in the town.
This man was obviously someone of huge importance because he was buried with extensive grave goods including five beaker pots, three copper knives, 16 barbed flint arrowheads, some boar’s tusks, a flint-knapping and metalworking kit and two beautiful gold hair ornaments – the earliest gold yet found in England.
Analysis of the Archer’s teeth indicates that he wasn’t a local man, but had travelled from central Europe. He may have been one of the first metalworkers to bring his skill to Britain.
Amesbury’s fascinating history continues through the Iron Age, Roman Britain, Anglo-Saxon times and beyond. There is a tale that the legendary King Arthur’s wife Guinevere retired to a convent in the town.
Outside of legend, Henry III’s wife Eleanor of Provence was buried within the grounds of Amesbury Abbey in 1291 although her burial place has been lost and she is the only Queen of England with no known grave.
In more modern times, the military have had a large presence in the surrounding area beginning over 100 years ago with the use and eventual purchase of land on Salisbury Plain for their training.
Nearby, military aviation began at Larkhill in the early 20th century and later Boscombe Down airfield – Britain’s “Area 51” – was the site of the development of many types of experimental aircraft.
All these stories are told in the History Centre, which also has an extensive reference library, maps, interactive models and souvenirs as well as excellent tea and cakes.
Outside in the car park there is the famous mural that used to adorn the wall of the underpass that led up to Stonehenge from the old visitor centre, so if you’ve ever had your photo taken pretending to climb over the stones into the middle of the monument, you can recreate it here.
The Amesbury History Centre has its own website (http://www.amesburyhistorycentre.co.uk/) where you can find out more.
Article submitted by local historian Simon Banton
The Stonehenge Travel Company
The Local Stonehenge Tour Experts
The Salisbury museum is proud to take its turn as host for The Wiltshire’s Story in 100 Objects project, managed by the Wessex Museums Partnership and funded by Arts Council England. This project aims to shine a spotlight on the diverse and important collections
that Wiltshire’s museums collect, care for and interpret, using 100 carefully selected objects to celebrate the rich history of the county from 10,000 BC to the present day.
See hundred of carefully selected objects celebrating the rich history of the county from 10,000 BC to the present day.
Saturday, October 8, 2016 to Saturday, January 7, 2017
The Salisbury Museum
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
Exclusive Private Guided Stonehenge Inner Circle Tours. Ideal for individuals, families and small groups.
In the evening after Stonehenge is closed to the public, or at dawn before it is open, we can arrange exclusive private access for you to visit this awe-inspiring prehistoric monument and walk among the giant sarsen stones towering 6.4 m high and weighing up to 50 tonnes. Go beyond the fences & after the crowds have gone home. Walk amongst the stones & experience the magical atmosphere within the inner circle.
Our local expert Stonehenge tour guides are considered as the very best in Wiltshire!
Our custom special access tours visit Stonehenge in the early morning (sunrise) or evening (sunset). Walk amongst the stones and stand within the stone circle!
Normal viewing only permits access from the path that surrounds the circle. Stonehenge dates from 3100BC, and you will be walking where very few people have access. Your guide will explain some of the theories behind this amazing feat of Prehistoric construction.
A unique photo opportunity….
Explore the beautiful Wiltshire countryside in the luxury of your own private car, MPV or mini bus, enjoying the knowledge and expertise of our professional Stonehenge guide.
Our private access tours can also include Bath, Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey), Salisbury Cathedral, Windsor Castle, Winchester, Avebury Sone Circle, Silbury Hill, Lacock Village, Glastonbutu, The Cotswolds or where ever you want to visit. Many of our clients choosing to depart from one location and be dropped off in another
Tour / Transfer example itineraries;
Depart Southampton | Visit Stonehenge, Bath and Salisbury. Ending in London.
Depart Bath | Visit Stonehenge, Salisbury and perhaps Windsor Castle. Ending in London.
Depart London | Visit Stonehenge, Salisbury, Avebury. Ending in Bath.
Depart Salisbury | Visit Stonehenge, Avebury, Lacock, The Cotswolds. Ending in Bath
the list goes on…………
Stonehenge Private Tour Prices departing from Salisbury, Southampton and Bath.
Medium Car up to 2 from £245.00
Large car up to 5 from £345.00
Extra large up to 8 from £445.00
Minibus up to 16 from £695.00
We are pleased to offer this service from London, Bath, Oxford, Salisbury and all U.K airports / seaports
Visit our website for more tour information or contact us today. Tours@StonehengeTravel.co.uk
Approved VisitWitltshire Member
The Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tour Company
Painter’s 1831 work completed after his wife’s death is centrepiece of new exhibition at Salisbury Museum.
After 185 years, the trees around Salisbury Cathedral have grown taller and thicker, shrouding all but the magnificent tower and spire. But, remarkably, the water meadows are still as lush and unspoilt as they were in John Constable’s day.
This is the view, including the shallow stream that draws the eye toward the magnificent cathedral, painted by the acclaimed British artist in one of his most important and best-known works, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows. And for the next six months, there is a rare opportunity to compare masterpiece and present-day view within a few minutes’ walk.
The painting, finished in 1831, is going home to the city for which Constable had a special affection, as part of a five-year tour, taking in Wales, Scotland and East Anglia. From Saturday, people will be able to see it at the Salisbury Museum in the cathedral close, alongside dozens of other paintings, watercolours, etchings and drawings of one of the country’s most awe-inspiring buildings.
“We are very excited that we’re displaying Constable’s masterpiece in the city that inspired him,” said Adrian Green, the museum’s director. “The museum is located opposite the cathedral, backs onto the water meadows and is adjacent to where Constable stayed in the close – so one can literally walk out into the canvas and see a landscape that has changed little since Constable’s time.”
Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows is one of a series of 6ft canvases painted by Constable. Encouraged by his close friend and archdeacon John Fisher, who lived in the cathedral close, he began to make sketches for the painting while grieving for his late wife Maria.
“Constable drew Salisbury Cathedral many times from different viewpoints,” said Gracie Divall of the Tate, which owns the painting and organised its tour around the UK. “It was the place he visited most outside his home in Suffolk. But this painting is seen as one he poured his emotion into, rather than just depicting what he saw in front of him.”
The turbulent sky provoked much comment when the painting was first exhibited; one Morning Herald reporter remarked that “the sky is in a state of utter derangement”.
Meteorologists have pointed out that the rainbow depicted in the painting would be impossible given the cloud formations. However the Tate has commissioned new meteorological research, to be published this year, which suggested that a rainbow over the cathedral was not beyond the realms of possibility.
“Constable was using the weather to tell a story,” said Divall. Some have interpreted the storm clouds as a reflection of the painter’s turmoil at his wife’s death; others suggest they reflect the storms surrounding the Anglican church – in which Constable was an ardent supporter of tradition against reform – at that time.
The painting was bought by the aristocratic Ashton family in 1850 but was on loan to the National Gallery for many years. When the family decided to sell a few years ago, the National Gallery was already committed to buying works by Titian in the most expensive purchase in its history.
The Tate stepped in, raising £23.1m to buy the Constable, described by the gallery’s director, Nicholas Serota, as “one of the great masterpieces of British art”.
A delicate cleaning process in 2013 “made a huge difference to the vibrancy of the work”, said Divall. “There was a lot of staining, mostly nicotine, from when it was in private ownership and from when people were allowed to smoke in galleries. The painting wasn’t glazed.” The cleaning process had revealed details such as a cow in the bottom left of the painting, she added.
The painting has returned to Salisbury once before, in 2011, when it attracted about 36,000 visitors. The new exhibition runs until 25 March.
Article extracted from The Guardian
Be one of the few people to walk amongst the inner stone circle of Stonehenge in 2016
In the evening after Stonehenge is closed to the public, or at dawn before it is open, we can arrange for you to visit this awe-inspiring prehistoric monument and walk among the giant sarsen stones towering 6.4 m high and weighing up to 50 tonnes. Marvel at how stones of such monumental scale were quarried, transported and erected 5,000 years ago when the only tools available were made of wood, bone and stone.
Exclusive entry into the stone circle allows you to wander in and around the world heritage site and experience an up close and personal look at this iconic monument*
*For those of you who have not visited Stonehenge, we should mention that the complex is roped off. Visitors observe the stones from a distance and are not permitted within the Stone Circle which can be somewhat frustrating. Our private special access tours allow you to be amongst the stones.
Stonehenge Private Viewing Tours – Go beyond the fences in 2016……
What better way to experience the magic and mystery of Stonehenge than with a private viewing at sunrise or sunset on our ‘award winning’ tours. On our popular exclusive private guided tours from Salisbury or London, guests will be able to access the historic stone circle, and explore the surrounding area rich in history, myths and legends. Regular small group tours depart throughout 2016
“A truly magical experience!”
Salisbury and London tour departures throughout 2016: Perfect for individuals, couples, families and small groups
Experience an up close look at Stonehenge with a private viewing and exclusive entry into the inner circle in 2016.
“After traveling thousands of miles to England to experience Stonehenge, make the journey truly worth while with a professional Driver-Guide and local expert.”
Stonehenge and Salisbury Guided Tours
The Stonehenge Experts
Proud members of Visit Wiltshire
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
The Stonehenge Travel Company
Guided Tours of Stonehenge from Salisbury