Monday, 20 June 2016

STONEHENGE SUMMER SOLSTICE: All you need to know about this year's event

Final preparations are being made for the biggest night of the year at Stonehenge - with thousands of people expected to see in tomorrow morning's sunrise (Tuesday June 21st 2016).
Numbers could be a little lower for this year's Summer Solstice, as it's on a week night, but Wiltshire Policeare still predicting at least 20,000 will turn out for the start of the longest day.

But, there could be protests too - with groups having already made their feelings known against changes, brought in by English Heritage, for this year's event like charging for car parking and a ban on alcohol.
Stonehenge General Manager Kate Davies says they've been working hard to get the plans right:
"We work on the plans for solstice all year round, working really closely with Wiltshire Police and Wiltshire Council and other partners to make it a great success. We are ready, our priority is always to look after the monument and look after the people who come. We think we've got all our plans in place."
Plans to make sure this year's Summer Solstice at Stonehenge go off peacefully tonight are being described as 'robust'.
General Manager at Stonehenge Kate Davies reminds us why those new rules are being brought in:
"Over the past 15 years, we've seen attendances at solstice go from around 10,000 people to around 40,000 people. During that time, we have limited car parking spaces, we've seen drunken and disrespectful behaviour and we've even seen vandalism to the stones, something's got to change. We've got very robust plans in place to deal with any issues, but obviously we respect people's right to protest peacefully if they feel they need to."
Scroll down to hear more from Kate speaking to Spire FM's Faye Marsh.
  • Last entry for visitors on Monday 20th June will be 1.00pm.
  • The site will close at 3.00pm
  • The monument field will re-open to visitors from 7.00pm with sunset at 9.26pm
  • Following the solstice, the site will be closed for clean-up for the rest of Tuesday 21st June
  • It'll re-open to visitors on Wednesday 22nd June

The important part of the solstice celebrations is the sunrise on Tuesday 21st June - that will be at 4.52am

The monument field will then close at 8.00am.
You can hear more from Stonehenge General Manager Kate Davies here. She's been telling Spire FM's Faye Marsh about preparations, the reasons why the changes are being brought in, how they'll be enforced and the numbers they're expecting.  Visit Spire FM website
This year, English Heritage is charging visitors for on-site parking from 7.00pm on Monday 20th June, with the last admission at 6.00am on Tuesday 21st June. The car park will close at midday on Tuesday.
Here's how much it will cost you:
Stonehenge Parking Charges Summer Solstice 2016 (English Heritage)
Cash and credit cards will be accepted on the gate to pay for the car parking charges. Those charges apply to everyone on the night, including English Heritage and National Trust members.
Wiltshire Police has warned people NOT to park in the surrounding villages illegally, or blocking highways, with people then walking to the stones.
Bronze Commander on the night, Temporary Superintendent Dave Minty says traffic management will be key:
"We're committed to ensuring the free flow of traffic around there, so a lot of our policing will be around the road networks around Stonehenge. If (parked cars) are causing an obstruction, then they are liable to a fine and/or the removal of their vehicle. We can't allow, and we're not going to allow, the villages to get blocked up by people just abandoning their cars, so we will have people with us that are capable of lifting vehicles up and removing them."
Visitors are being encouraged to use public transport to visit Stonehenge on Solstice night. Salisbury Reds are running special shuttle buses throughout the night from Salisbury city centre and the train station up to the site.
Adult tickets are £10 return, children can ride for £5.
For the full timetable, you can visit their website at
You can find out more about the Conditions of Entry, set down by English Heritage for the Summer Solstice 2016 on their website at
You can also use social media to follow what's going on, using the hashtag#summersolstice
The Stonehenge Visitors Guide

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