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Summer Solstice in Stonehenge 2023

21 June 2023

Event's location
Salisbury, United Kingdom

The summer solstice is the most important day of the year in the Celtic calendar. Where can you experience this event more impressively than at Stonehenge? It is not only an astronomical event but a meeting with like-minded people. Stonehenge is also freely accessible during this time (unlike the rest of the year).

But the big draw is the Summer Solstice Experience at Stonehenge, a festival that brings together pagan groups like Druids and Wiccans with families and tourists. Everyone is united by the desire to have fun and experience something unique at this very large party. Summer Solstice at Stonehenge is celebrated and commemorated here in a very special way with various activities.

When the sun touches the stones

Every year on the summer solstice, thousands of people gather in Wiltshire, England to watch the sun rise over the mystical stones on the summer solstice. It is the unique, near-perfect view of the rising sun on the summer solstice as it glides over the ancient, mystical rocks that captivate local people.

For centuries, visitors have wondered: did the builders of Stonehenge intentionally make it a solstice site?

Well, there are a dozen theories about Stonehenge on the questions of who built the monument and why it was built. They range from an alien invasion to the legend of King Arthur. In terms of facts, we know (only) the following about Stonehenge and its connection to the summer solstice.

More than upright rocks

According to the Center for Archaeology and Anthropology at Bournemouth University, a spiritual burial site formed the basis for Stonehenge. Around 2600 BC, the actual construction process of the rock monument began. The builders focused on astronomical events and erected the rocks so that on the summer solstice the sun would rise over the heel stone, a single block, and shine on the centre of the circle. At the winter solstice around December 21, you can experience a similar effect at sunset.

Even today, this structure is able to unite people and make them marvel and celebrate. Summer Solstice at Stonehenge offers a unique sense of spirituality, whether you are admiring the sunrise with like-minded people or performing Summer Solstice Yoga. It's the longest day of the year, which gets a worthy setting at Stonehenge.

In fact, it is believed that the presentation of the summer and winter solstices was not the only reason Stonehenge was built. In the 1700s, the theory was spread that Stonehenge was a temple of the Druids and was built by them. Celtic spiritual traditions were practised here. And even today the monument allows deep insights into the life of the builders and prehistoric times in general.

Why do people visit Stonehenge on the Summer Solstice day?

Why do people visit Stonehenge on the Summer Solstice day?

Although it is questioned that the Druids designed and erected Stonehenge, a strong connection with the Celts and their myths is permanently present. The mystique of Stonehenge has lost its appeal to this day. Many visitors use this mystical environment to pause to defocus from everyday life, take time out and refocus their thoughts. For this purpose, the Summer Solstice is the perfect date.

Stonehenge and the sun

The summer solstice celebration at Stonehenge is a unique experience. For many people, visiting Stonehenge is on their personal bucket list, on par with visiting the Pyramids, Taj Mahal or Machu Picchu. On the occasion of the summer solstice, the visit can be combined with wonderful celebrations and meetings with open-minded people. The family-friendly atmosphere is warm and contagious. Walk among the stones and enjoy the atmosphere. Take part in a Druidic ceremony; witness a Handfasting (a pagan wedding), a knighting (performed by none other than King Arthur Pendragon) or a bard dance in the Gorsedd bard circle.

Once you experience the solstice at Stonehenge, you are part of an international pilgrimage community. All visitors are united by the unique experience.

A Neolithic calendar?

The people who built Stonehenge obviously cared deeply about marking the movements of the sun. They went to enormous lengths to carefully align the monument. However, there is very little evidence of what ceremonies might have taken place here. We can imagine that people gathered at the monument to celebrate Midsummer and Midwinter.

The people who built Stonehenge were farmers and shepherds. Therefore, the changing of the seasons would have been of immense importance. It was practical - the seasons dictated what they could grow and when - but there were probably spiritual aspects as well. So Stonehenge may have been much more than just a calendar. These dates may have been important seasons to remember the dead, since we know that people buried about 150 of their cremated dead at the monument. Or perhaps to worship a solar deity.

A weekend full of experiences

Summer solstice at Stonehenge is not boring at any moment. The monument is the perfect place to get your fill of stories from England's rich history, culture and legend. Combine Summer Solstice Day with a full weekend of attractions surrounding the event. The Stonehenge Solstice Festival begins three days before the summer solstice and sets you up perfectly for the climax. It is a folk festival. The festival site is located in the middle of the Salisbury Plain. Expect free yoga sessions, a Reiki healing tent and a variety of music. You can stay in Salisbury or in London. There are a lot of companies offering shuttle services from London to Stonehenge on the summer solstice day.

Learn more about the Summer Solstice in Stonehenge

Here are the steps to plan your trip

1. Go to the official website and double check the event availability, prices and regulations.

2. Check below the accommodations in hotels in Salisbury available during the the event. ⤵︎

How to find best prices for hotels

2.1. Pick a hotel room by location and by price.

2.2. The search is done for 1 guest and the entire duration of the event. Click on the 'Filter', 'Guests', and 'Dates' buttons to adjust the search.

🏨 In the 'Filters' section, you can tell if you are looking for hotels or vacation homes. Here, you can filter the results by stars, review ratings, and budget.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 In this section, you can specify the number of guests (adults and children) and the number of rooms you want to book.

📆 Finally, you can change the date of your stay.

2.3. Save more money! Some hotel rooms are provided by multiple hotel booking websites. You will see them on the top of the hotel room details when you hover the mouse over the room.Be it Booking.com, Expedia, Trivago, Opodo, or other providers, select the best price provider for the room during the chosen period.

2.4. If hotel rooms are not available around the event location, you can zoom out or search by a nearby city/town name. If you have a specific hotel in mind, you can even search the particular hotel name.

2.5. Bonus tip: Switch to Experiences search. Perhaps you will find great tours and activities!

2.6. Pro tip: The map of the experiences may help you find the most vibrant areas in the city and the best locations where you can look for accommodations for your stay.

3. Check the flight, bus, and train travel options to the event location

4. If everything is fine you can buy all the tickets

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