Stonehenge Winter Solstice Managed Open Access Arrangements 2021

28 11 2021

English Heritage are expected to offer a short period of access, from first light or safe enough to enter the monument field (approximately 07.30am until 10.00am) on the 22nd December. The winter solstice is one of the few times access is granted inside the stones. Sunrise is just after 8am on Wednesday 22nd December and visitors will be able to access the monument as soon as it is light enough to do so safely. This is subject of course to any changes in the coronavirus guidance.  

English Heritage is inviting people to watch from home as the Winter Solstice sunrise is going to be livestreamed from Stonehenge on the morning of Wednesday (December 22). 

It will be livestreamed for free on YouTube and English Heritage’s social media channels at 7.25am.  

Those wanting to mark the solstice at the site in person, which will be subject to any changes in government gudiance, legislation or public health advice, will need to take a lateral flow test before setting off and only travel if it is negative and they feel well. The charity will be encouraging the wearing of facemasks, providing regular hand sanitiser stations and making sure wherever possible that there is plenty of space to socially distance.

Woodhenge, Durrington Walls and Byway 12, aka “The Stonehenge Drove” is now closed in preparation for the #WinterSolstice.


Before coming to Winter Solstice, please read the English Heritage conditions of entry and information here and find answers to commonly asked questions below.

Is there parking available?

We encourage you to take public transport as there is limited parking available. English Heritage’s Solstice Car Parks open at 6am on Wednesday 22 December – there is no official parking provision before this time. To access the Solstice car parks, drivers should head to the Stonehenge Visitor Centre following Solstice signage and the directions of stewards in the local area. There will be a charge of £5 per vehicle and £2 per motorbike. Commercial vehicles are permitted on a strictly limited pre-booked basis only.

Blue badge parking is chargeable as above and located in the Visitor Centre car park, close to accessible toilets. A free shuttle bus will take visitors with accessibility needs to the Monument Field. Please ensure you bring and wear a face covering unless exempt.

The Visitor Centre is approximately a 20 minute walk from the Stonehenge Monument Field. Visitors with accessibility needs will take priority on shuttle buses. Those visitors who are able to do so should dress for the walk in sturdy shoes and bring a torch.

What public transport can I use?

There will be a bus service on the morning of 22 December operating between Salisbury New Canal Street, Salisbury Rail Station, Amesbury The Centre and the Stonehenge Car Park.

Please visit Salisbury Reds website for a timetable nearer the time.

What Covid safety measures are in place?

We are following all public health guidance regarding covid-secure outdoor events as we have done throughout the pandemic.  We strongly suggest that you take a lateral flow test in advance – and only attend if the result is negative. Our staff, and others working on site have been advised to do the same. Do not attend if you have Covid symptoms. Please remember to bring a face covering as you will be required to wear one in all indoor public places, including our shuttle buses. There will be plenty of friendly staff and volunteers on site to answer any questions or concerns and lots of signage in place reminding everyone to keep a safe space where necessary, and to indicate where hand sanitising stations can be found.

Can I bring my pet?

With the exception of assistance animals, no pets or other animals are allowed at Winter Solstice.

To see what else is prohibited, please read our Conditions of Entry page here.

Can I watch the sunrise on a live stream?

We will be live streaming the sunrise on the morning of 22 December for free on our digital channels. Visit the official Stonehenge or English Heritage Facebook page, or the English Heritage YouTube channel. Please beware of fake/scam Facebook pages, events and groups that might have been set up.

The solstice is the point in time when one hemisphere of the planet reaches the point tilted most towards the sun and the other is tilted furthest away. In the northern hemisphere, that gives us the winter solstice in December whilst in the southern hemisphere it is the summer solstice. After the shortest day, the days start getting longer and the nights shorter.

Stonehenge is carefully aligned on a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset.

Why is open access on the 22nd December?
Many people believe the Winter Solstice always falls on December 21, but because of a mismatch between the calendar and solar year, the December solstice is not fixed to a specific date.

This year, English Heritage says based on advice from the druid and pagan communities, the Solstice will be marked at Stonehenge on the morning of Wednesday December 22 December – the first sunrise following the astronomical solstice which occurs after sunset the previous day.

Access to Stonehenge for Winter Solstice is is subject to the Conditions of Entry. Please read these before deciding whether to attend.  Stonehenge is in a field on Salisbury Plain and the weather in December will be cold and wet.  Even if it isn’t raining, the ground will be wet from the dew and there may also be frost. Sensible footwear and warm, waterproof clothing is essential. Please note, parking charges apply.


Wednesday 22nd December 2021
6am: Limited car parking opens
7.45am (approximately depending on light levels): Monument field opens
8.09am: Sunrise
10am: Monument field closes


Stonehenge is an ancient prehistoric site which has been a place of worship and celebration at the time of Winter Solstice for thousands of years and is seen by many as a sacred site.

English Heritage is pleased to provide free Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for Winter Solstice and ask that if you are planning to join us for this peaceful and special occasion that you read these Conditions of Entry and the information provided on the following pages before deciding whether to come.

Please help English Heritage to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the Conditions of Entry and guidelines.  They have a duty of care to ensure public safety and are responsible for the protection of Stonehenge and its surrounding Monuments.  If we are to ensure that future access is sustainable, it is essential that everyone observes and abides by these Conditions of Entry.


  • Stonehenge is in a field on Salisbury Plain and the weather in December will be cold and wet. Even if it isn’t raining, the ground will be wet from the dew. There may also be frost. Sensible footwear and warm, waterproof clothing is essential.
  • There is at least a 30 minute walk in low light or darkness, from the Visitor Centre to Stonehenge itself.  You are strongly advised to wear strong, waterproof footwear, and to bring a torch with you.  A shuttle will run from the Visitor Centre to the Monument and visitors with accessibility requirements will hve priority.  All other visitors should be prepared to walk.
  • There are no catering facilities in the monument field; however the café at the visitor centre will be open for hot drinks and breakfast rolls from 6am.

If you are considering visiting Stonehenge for the Winter Solstice celebrations and do not have transport, you may want to consider joining an organised tour with transport from London, Bath or Salisbury and save all the hassle and expense.  Stonehenge Guided Tours offer such tours and are the longest established company. Solstice Events offer small group tours from Bath and The Stonehenge Tour Company use only local expert guides and have a great reputation.

Stonehenge Winter Solstice Links:
Winter Solstice Livestream – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
The Rebirth of the Sun: the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Winter Solstice: Wild tales of slaughtered bulls, human sacrifice and much merriment – THE SCOTSMAN
The Rebirth of the Sun: the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Winter solstice: Why do pagans celebrate the shortest day of the year? THE TELEGRAPH
The Sun Stones: The Story of the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Stonehenge Winter Solstice Tours from London – STONEHENGE GUIDED TOURS
Solstice at Stonehenge. From Past to Present. – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
What has Stonehenge got to do with the winter solstice? – METRO NEWS
Stonehenge Winter Solstice Tours from Bath – SOLSTICE TOURS U.K
Celebrate Winter Solstice at Stonehenge – HOLIDAY EXTRAS
Solstice and Equinox Experience Tours – SOLSTICE EVENTS UK
The Stonehenge Sostice Pilgrims – STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG
Stonehenge, the Winter Solstice, and the Druids – INTERESTRING ENGINEERING
Respecting the Stones.  Managed Open Access –STONEHENGE NEWS BLOG

The Stonehenge News Blog
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest Stonehenge News and Winter Solstice updates.

%d bloggers like this: