Stonehenge at Summer Solstice – how to visit at the sacred midsummer time

I’ve written a lot about visiting Stonehenge on this blog – it’s one of the top attractions in Britain and one of my personal faves so I kinda have to! But if you’re planning to visit Stonehenge at Summer Solstice then some of the information you need is going to be a lot different.

In this post we’re going to be looking at specifically visiting for the Summer Solstice event at Stonehenge, how to get there, costs and any rules for this time. I’ve found it quite hard to get a good overview in one place so I hope this post will help you!

A note from the writer: Hey! I’m Kirsty and I’m probably Stonehenge’s biggest fan and expert on visiting – I’ve been so many times over the past few years!

I love encouraging people to come and see and really make the most out of their visit. Shout (or comment below) if you have any questions about visiting Stonehenge and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

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Stonehenge at Summer Solstice
Bliss! Let’s hope the weather holds out this year!

This post will focus solely on just visiting for the solstice. If you’re looking for general advice on visiting Stonehenge then look for my (many!) other articles:

Visiting Stonehenge at Summer Solstice in 2023 – what you need to know

  • Visiting Stonehenge is FREE at the solstice. English Heritage, who run the site, have a policy of it not being ‘pay to pray’
  • The whole site is closed to normal visits on June 21st. It is also closed from 3pm on 20th June where the last admission is 1pm
  • It’s one of the only times you can get up close to the stones. Normally you are restricted to the pathways around unless you get an inner circle tour, but at solstice you can get right up and touch the stones
  • It’s busy – pre covid would see over 30,000 visitors, although it’s thought it will be around 10,000 this year
  • Pets are not allowed – only service dogs are able to be on the monument field
  • If you can’t get there you can always watch it on the English Heritage YouTube channel where they livestream it.

What happens at the stones at the Solstice

  • The main event is the sun rising on the morning of the solstice. It lines up with the Heel Stone so getting that view might be tricky with the crowds!
  • Sunrise at Stonehenge is 4.49am on 21st June
  • You can arrive at the stones throughout the evening and night of midsummer – there isn’t a set time to get there
  • It’s worth bringing a picnic blanket to sit on (no sleeping bags though – see below) and enjoy the atmosphere.
  • It will be cold overnight so warm clothes are a must!
  • There will be refreshments available to buy from official outlets and toilets

How to get to Stonehenge at the summer solstice

The roads around Stonehenge can be congested at the best of times but on the evening of the summer solstice it’s extra busy. Bear this in mind when planning how you’re going to get there.

If you value your convenience then it’s worth trying to take your car to the car park there. Be aware though that when it’s full it’s full. My inner micro manager is advising to have a back up plan!

If you want to ease the pressure on the roads around Stonehenge and go for the greener option then you’ll want to do public transport from either Amesbury or Salisbury.

Buses from Salisbury and Amesbury

Salisbury Reds is the local bus company that can get you easily from both the city of Salisbury and Amesbury to Stonehenge

They run a specific service for the solstice:

333 – runs from 6.30pm – 1.00am, returning between 4.00am and 10am

See the full timetable here (pdf)

Fares in 2023 are:

  • Salisbury – Adult: £7 single, £12 return
  • Salisbury – Child (up to 14 years): £3.50 single, £6 return
  • Amesbury – Adult: £4 single, £6 return
  • Amesbury – Child (up to 14 years): £2 single, £3 return

Parking at Stonehenge for the solstice

The English Heritage owned car park is open for people visiting for Stonehenge for the Solstice. But be aware that while it’s free to visit the stones they do charge for the car park.

The official car park is open from 7pm and the last admission 6am or when full.

They advise to not go there any earlier than 7pm and the car park must be vacated by 12 noon the following day (21st June)

Cost for car parking in 2023:

  • £15 for cars, motorhomes and minibuses
  • £5 for motorbikes

What is the Stonehenge Solstice Festival?

You may have also seen something about a festival at Stonehenge and wondered if it’s the same thing as visiting just for the solstice? It’s slightly different but of course can be done together.

The festival is run by a local campsite where there are bands performing and there is also transport to the stones for the solstice.

See more information about the festival here.

What should I bring to Stonehenge when visiting at the summer solstice?

It’s important not to bring too much with you to Stonehenge at the summer solstice – your bags will be searched and security will be tight.

Here are some general rules that you should follow:

  • no sleeping bags or blankets, but you can bring a mat or a picnic rug
  • no pointy items that could potentially be weapons
  • small bags only – don’t bring huge rucksacks
  • bring a torch as it will be dark!
  • small umbrella – large ones will not be allowed in
  • layers are a good idea as it will be cold overnight
  • a waterproof jacket is essential for downpours or for sitting on wet ground

You can find out more about the rules about what to take on the English Heritage site here

I’d love to hear your experiences of visiting Stonehenge at the summer solstice – let me know your tips in the comment section below!

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Kirsty Bartholomew

Kirsty Bartholomew is a travel expert and has been getting lost around the world for over 30 years and writing about it for over 10 of those. She loves to help people explore her favourite places in Scotland, England and beyond. She cannot stay away from historical sites.

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