English Heritage will once again welcome people to Stonehenge to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Sunrise is just after 8am on Monday 22nd December and visitors will be able to access the monument as soon as it is light enough to do so safely. Conditions of entry will be posted shortly.
Please be aware that parking is very limited and there is a thirty minute walk, in low light, from the parking areas to the monument.
Why 22nd December?
Many people – not least diary manufacturers – believe that the Winter Solstice always falls on 21st December. But the celebration of the winter solstice at Stonehenge is not fixed to a specific calendar date – this is because of a mismatch between the calendar year and solar year. (The actual time of the Winter Solstice this year is on December 21st at 23:03 GMT)
The solstice is traditionally celebrated at the sunrise closest to the time when the sun is stationary before beginning its transit to the north or south. This year this occurs late on 21 December, hence the winter solstice celebrations take place at sunrise on 22nd December.
Conditions of entry
Further information and the conditions of entry for the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge will be posted here a month in advance of 22nd December.**
Do not climb or stand on any of the stones – this includes the stones that have fallen. This is in the interest of personal safety, the protection of this special site and respect for those attending. As well as putting the stones themselves at risk,
climbing on them can damage the delicate lichens.
If do not have your own transport and are travelling from London then Solstice UK Events are offering their usual transport option with an expert guide.
**Stonehenge is a world renowned historic Monument and seen by many as a sacred site – please respect it and please respect each other!
The new Stonehenge visitor centre is well worth a visit and opens at 9.30am. Visit the English Heritage website
Directions to Stonehenge
Download the free English Heritage Stonehenge Audio Guide here
English Heritage Winter Solstice Link
Merlin at Stonehenge
Follow Twitter@st0nehenge for Solstice updates
The Stonehenge News Blog