Stonehenge review

Our rating 
3.4 out of 5 star rating 3.4
User rating
stonehenge_208245

In a nutshell

Good for outdoorsy families and budding archaeologists, these world-famous stones are as impressive now as they were in prehistoric times. There’s lots to discover in the exhibition and visitor centre, and space to run around near the Stone Circle
Fun for kids
3.0 out of 5 rating 3.0
Fun for parents
4.0 out of 5 rating 4.0
Worth the money
2.5 out of 5 rating 2.5
Facilities
4.0 out of 5 rating 4.0
Family friendliness
3.5 out of 5 rating 3.5
Pros: Educational, iconic, beautiful views and landscape, friendly and helpful staff
Cons: Expensive for time spent there, busy at peak times, some kids may get restless

When we visited:

We visited on a sunny, but busy Saturday during the summer school holidays

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What age is Stonehenge best for?

Best for: Children aged 5-12 years old

Still good fun for: Children aged 3-4 years, and 12+ years

Avoid if: You have 2-3 years olds who get restless easily

How much does it cost?

  • Gate prices: Adults £19.50, children 5-17 £11.70
  • Online prices: Adults £17.50, children 5-17 £10.50
  • Family saver tickets: Family of 5 (2 adults and up to 3 children) £45.50
  • Stonehenge is free for members of English Heritage or National Trust England, but you’re still advised to book in advance

Can you view Stonehenge for free?

If you’re really strapped for cash, some TripAdvisor users have noted that you can walk through the surrounding countryside and view the monument from afar for free.

However you can’t gain access to the immediate area encircling the stones without a ticket, and most of the enjoyment comes from getting up quite close to them. Plus you would still have to pay the parking fee if you’re driving, and you’d have no access to the visitor centre and exhibition.

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Are there discounts or cheap tickets available for Stonehenge?

Bok online in advance to save, but also check Picniq for discounts before you book. If you’re not driving, check out Smartsave’s 20% discount on a Discover Windsor, Bath & Stonehenge Coach Tour.

Any extra charges once I’m there?

There are a few optional costs such as a guidebook for £6 and an audio guide for £3 per person. We didn’t buy these as we thought there was enough information displayed already, but they may be worth the money if your children are particularly curious and have lots of questions.

Stonehenge also uses that old trick of forcing its visitors into the gift shop before leaving, so be prepared for pleas from little ones as you pass through. The good news is there’s not too much plastic tat, and you can steer kids towards the decent book display or spend under £5 on pens, key rings, wristbands, badges, sweet treats and so on.

How long will we spend at Stonehenge?

Most families will do Stonehenge in around 2 hours. Any longer than that and little ones may start to get bored as there’s not enough to keep them occupied all day.

What does Stonehenge offer for families?

Stonehenge is one of the most famous prehistoric monuments in the world, known for its circle of enormous stones built around 5,000 years ago. It’s a World Heritage Site and can be found on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.

This iconic attraction has a global reputation, and is on many people’s bucket list. When taking in the visitor centre and the monument itself, you can’t fail to be in awe of its ancient history, and it provides a great opportunity to inspire that in your children.

What shouldn’t be missed?

The attraction is particularly good for kids with inquisitive minds, and English Heritage has tried to ensure it’s as family-friendly as possible.

Highlights for us were:

  • The exhibition and visitor centre should engage kids for a while, as the displays are at a low level and include many objects and replica artefacts that the children can touch and feel
  • The skeleton and reconstruction of a man who was buried at Stonehenge thousands of years ago proved particularly fascinating for our children
  • They loved the immersive audio-visual display, which gave a 360-degree view from inside the Stone Circle
  • When our kids’ interest in the exhibition waned – despite our best efforts to stay there just a little longer – we made a sharp exit outside to see the Neolithic village.
  • Our boys loved the replica Neolithic houses on display, especially as they could go inside and lie on the hard beds and wonder in amazement how anyone could ever sleep on such a thing
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Is it easy to get around Stonehenge?

The whole site is easy to navigate, and you are given a map at the entrance when you pick up your tickets.

After the Neolithic village, hop on board the shuttle bus to the Stone Circle, which is included in your ticket. It departs every 5 minutes and takes 5-8 minutes. From there, it’s a short stroll to the monument itself. There’s also the option of skipping the bus and walking, but it’s over a mile so may be tricky with kids – plus one of the highlights of the whole day for our children was riding the bus!

What are the stones like for younger children?

Although the stones are now roped off, you can still get reasonably close and appreciate the astonishing feat of engineering. If the children start to get fidgety (as ours did) there’s plenty of space for them to run around here and burn off extra energy.

Be warned though – there are no facilities at the monument itself, so make sure you bring snacks and drinks and visit the toilet beforehand, to avoid the well-known cries of “I’m hungry!” or “I need the toilet!”

If the kids need a bit more entertainment, you can pick up a children’s activity pack in the gift shop for around £2, with things like dot-to-dots, colouring pencils, a Stonehenge maze, as well as fun facts about Stonehenge that kept our kids amused for a while.

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What you need to know before you go:

  • Definitely book in advance to get reduced entrance prices, and guarantee your chosen time slot
  • No parent likes to queue for ages with the kids in tow, and Stonehenge does get very busy in peak times, so book an early time slot for the best chance of avoiding the queues!
  • We arrived at 10am and the queues were bearable – around 5-10 minutes – but a couple of hours later we noticed they were huge
  • Annoyingly, the queue for the pre-booked tickets was much longer than the one for people paying on the day, so arrive early and in plenty of time for your chosen slot
  • The monument is outdoors with no shelter, so bring wellies and raincoats on wet days, and sunhats, sunscreen and drinks on hot days
  • If you find the kids aren’t getting too excited about their upcoming visit to Stonehenge, you could try going online before you go, and show them the Stonehenge film

Was it pushchair friendly?

Yes. The visitor centre and shuttle bus are fully accessible, with step-free access onto the bus, and the path from getting off the bus to the Stone Circle is suitable for pushchairs. The grass paths around the monument would be fine in dry weather, but could get difficult in the rain.

If you have a pushchair, particularly a large one, the only word of warning would be that it can get busy on the shuttle bus, so it could be a little tricky. It’s still do-able, as 2-3 pushchairs can be carried at once depending on the size of the buggy and whether there is a wheelchair on board.

There isn’t loads of walking to do, apart from around the circle itself, so you could think about leaving the buggy at home, or bring a sling instead.

What are the food and drink facilities like?

There is a pleasant, airy café next to the gift shop, with plenty of seating, which serves light bites, snacks, hot and cold drinks, ice cream and children’s lunch boxes, but overall the menu is fairly limited. The healthy options are soup, salad or sandwiches – otherwise it’s pasties or sausage rolls. They will warm up milk and food for babies, and there are high chairs available.

We’d say the café is quite overpriced – a light lunch of sandwiches, crisps, fruit and drinks set our family of 4 back about £30 ­­– but probably about average for UK tourist attractions with a captive audience.

Can you take a picnic?

If it’s a dry day, pack your own picnic to enjoy near the Stone Circle as there are plenty of open spaces there to plonk yourselves down and take in the lovely views. You can also picnic near the visitor centre, but the tables in the café itself are for café customers only. If you arrive at Stonehenge early, and finish your visit before lunchtime, you could always check out some local pubs/restaurants if you’d prefer a proper hot meal or if it’s not the weather for a picnic.

What are the toilets like?

There are male, female and accessible toilets, as well as baby changing facilities at the visitor centre only, which is next to the entrance/exit. There are plenty of cubicles so you shouldn’t have to worry about big queues, and the whole area is kept clean and tidy. Although there are no general toilets at the Stone Circle, there is an accessible emergency-only toilet nearby.

How well does it cater for disabled visitors?

  • The visitor centre and shuttle bus have been designed to be fully accessible, with step-free access onto the bus
  • The path from getting off the bus to the Stone Circle is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs, while the grass paths around the monument are accessible subject to weather conditions
  • There are 2 wheelchairs available on request at the admissions tills, on a first come, first served basis only
  • For blind or visually impaired visitors, there are audio descriptive guides, as well as large print guides, although there are no Braille guides/signs or handrails
  • For more information on disabled visitors to Stonehenge, watch this video on their website

Opening dates and times:

Stonehenge is currently open every day apart from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Opening times vary throughout the year – more information on specific dates and times can be found on the website.

Best time to visit:

Stonehenge is busiest on Saturdays from 11am-1pm, and quieter at 4pm. Quietest days are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but it’s still busy 11am-1pm

How to get to Stonehenge:

Stonehenge is nestled in the Wiltshire countryside, around 9 miles from Salisbury

  • If you’re coming by public transport, you can get a train or bus to Salisbury and then take the Stonehenge Tour Bus from there
  • If travelling by car, the postcode for your SatNav is SP4 7DE

Do you have to pay for parking?

The car park is large and easy to find so you shouldn’t have problems parking, especially if you arrive early. For those buying tickets on the day, there’s a £5 refundable parking charge during peak times, which will be refunded to you at the ticket office. There’s no parking fee for pre-booked tickets or for English Heritage and National Trust England members.

Worth a long car journey?

Stonehenge is probably a better option if you happen to be staying in the area, are local, or if you combine it with other attractions/days out. We wouldn’t say it’s worth the journey with children if you live more than 2 hours away and only plan to visit this one attraction, unless your kids are particularly keen on history.

Which hotels or holiday accommodation are near Stonehenge?

There are plenty of family-friendly accommodation options nearby, including:

Nearby attractions for a longer day out:

Larkhill Space Station soft play centre is a 5-minute drive away, while Salisbury is an 8-minute drive and home to the Salisbury Museum and Old Sarum Castle.

MFM verdict:

Overall, Stonehenge is a great choice if you’re looking for a more educational attraction and are keen to teach the kids about this world famous ancient monument and the area’s rich history. It’s well organised, family-friendly, and all the staff we encountered were super helpful and friendly. However, it isn’t great value for money considering you’ll only be there for a couple of hours, especially if you also buy lunch there, and there is a chance that some children will get restless after a while.

Visit the Stonehenge website

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Intro to me:

I went to Stonehenge with my husband and two sons, aged 6 and 8 years old.