Updated October 2020.
Stonehenge is an iconic destination in England. If you’re visiting London, Stonehenge and Salisbury make a great day trip from London.
The best way to visit Stonehenge is to go through Salisbury. Not only will you get to travel to one of the most famous places in England, but you’ll also get a chance to see the magnificent Salisbury Cathedral and one of the few remaining copies of the Magna Carta.
Looking for more day trips from London? Check out Cardiff, St. Albans, and Cambridge!
How to get to Stonehenge
One-way train tickets to Salisbury from London run anywhere from £9 to £28 depending on your departure time and how far in advance you book. Once in Salisbury, you can catch a bus to Stonehenge.
When I visited Stonehenge, I went on The Stonehenge Tour. The £32.50 tour includes transport to and from Stonehenge and Old Sarum, admission to both, and a free audio guide during the bus ride. The bus has hourly departures and picks passengers up either in front of the train station or in the center of Salisbury. It takes about 30 minutes to get to Stonehenge from the Salisbury train station, including the stop in the town center.
If you wish to provide your own transport to Stonehenge, tickets are £19.50 for adults, £17.60 concessions, £11.70 for children, and free entry for English Heritage members and children under four. Once you get to the Stonehenge welcome center, you’ll take a 10-minute land train to the actual site.
When to visit Stonehenge
Stonehenge has timed entries, and you must book in advance (especially during the summer months).
However, to walk around Stonehenge without the crowds, the best time to visit Stonehenge is during winter. It may be cold but you’ll be able to see it right away with fewer people around.
The Stonehenge Welcome Center
The Stonehenge Welcome Center provides its visitors with a history of Stonehenge and the surrounding area. It also has an exhibition containing some excavated artifacts and recreated Neolithic huts that were supposedly built near the area. I also found out that during World War I, the area around Stonehenge was the largest military training complex in the world.
Before you take the land train to Stonehenge from the welcome center, I recommend getting one of the complimentary audio guides. There are a few plaques around the area, but the audio guide will give you an in-depth history of Stonehenge and its mysteries.
A few interesting facts: No one will probably know exactly why Stonehenge was built, but they know that it was built in three stages. Stonehenge is still astronomically correct, even after all these years. During midwinter and the summer solstice, there are two stones that the sun sets directly over, called sarsens. All around the monument and in the surrounding area are burial mounds called barrows that tell the archaeologists a lot about the people who lived around Stonehenge.
If you choose, the Stonehenge bus tour also stops at Old Sarum on the way back to Salisbury from Stonehenge. Once an Iron Age fort, it is the site of the earliest settlement in Salisbury. It was turned into the first cathedral and occupied at various points in history by the Romans, Saxons, and Normans. I chose not to go because the bus only made a stop there every hour and I wanted to make the most of Salisbury and its cathedral.
Once back in Salisbury, head straight for the Cathedral. It’s one of the most stunning buildings I’ve ever laid my eyes upon and it has an incredibly fascinating history.
Did you know that the Germans were ordered not to bomb Salisbury because the pilots used the cathedral spire as a navigation point? This is because Salisbury Cathedral has the tallest spire in Great Britain and the 3rd tallest spire in the world.
It was consecrated in 1258 and was also the first cathedral to found a girls’ choir (in 1991…). Salisbury Cathedral houses the world’s oldest working mechanical clock, made in 1348. The clock doesn’t have a face but it chimes every hour. The baptismal font was built to commemorate the cathedral’s 750th anniversary. Salisbury Cathedral and the Magna Carta are free to see and explore, but a donation is encouraged as the church gets no funding from the state.
The Magna Carta
The Cathedral also houses the best-preserved copy of the Magna Carta in its Chapter House. Only 4 copies remain. The one in Salisbury is the best preserved of the four original copies from June 1215. It is written in abbreviated Latin on vellum. You won’t regret seeing the document that inspired the Bill of Rights and so many other constitutions.
The Parish Church of St. Thomas and St. Edmund
After marveling at the Magna Carta, head to the Parish Church of St. Thomas and St. Edmund, which was built for the men working on the Salisbury Cathedral. It was dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury around 1220. The Church has one of the best Doom Paintings in Europe. It depicts the risen Christ, his disciples, and the judgment of souls into heaven and hell.
The Town of Salisbury
If you have the time, walk around Salisbury. It was exactly what I pictured old English towns to look like: old, beautiful, timbered houses and storefronts; lots of green; and lots of history. I spent over an hour just meandering its streets and taking photos.
Your photos are perfection!! London is one of my fav cities and I’m always looking forward to going back. I have yet to visit Stonehenge but absolutely need to! Thank you for sharing your experience!!
Thank you so much!! I hope you get to visit Stonehenge, it’s amazing!
Wow the cathedral is stunning and the town seems like such a cute place.
I always thought that Stonehendge is up in the north. Next time I’m in London, I’ll catch up with the sight :)
It is adorable! And yeah, Stonehenge is pretty close to London. I hope you get to visit soon!
Roy Miller says
We are going there next year. Thank you for posting this. We will use this as our guide. I appreciate the photos as well.
Thanks for your comment. I hope you enjoy your trip!
Tanja (the Red phone box travels) says
I’ve done Stonehenge but not Salisbury. some other time perhaps:)
Hopefully! It’s worth a visit. Thanks for your comment :)
Elizabeth Doren says
Jealousy is the only word that comes to mind. I’ve never been but your photos create an itch of sorts. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much!! I hope you can visit one day :)
Chasa Fulkerson says
I loved visiting Stonehenge when I went to England. We rented a car and drove around though. We went through A LOT of towns/cities. We went from London all the way in a circle to Stonehenge, but starting on the same side as London.
I loved going through all the little towns. I really really liked Avebury. It was so cute!
Ahh I used to drive past Stonehenge all the time on the way to my gran’s house! This post has made me so nostalgic. Lovely pictures too…and not a cloud in the sky!
Salisbury looks absolutely beautiful, love a bit of architecture porn!!
katie xx lacoconoire.com
That’s so cool that you used to drive by it! Thank you! I definitely caught Stonehenge on a lovely (albeit freezing) day!
This looks like such a fun day trip! We didn’t have time for Stonehenge last time we visited London but I’m hoping to squeeze it in next time!
It definitely is! I hope you get to visit next time :)
Stonehenge ist für National Trust Mitglieder ebenfalls kostenfrei. Die Familienkarte für 1 Woche kostete 2018 um die 70 €. Das hatte man als 4-köpfige Familie schon nach einem Stonehengebesuch wieder drin.
Sehr empfehlenswert ist der Besuch von Avebury, einem kleinen Dorf ca. 20km von Stonehenge entfern. (Parken 6 Pf.) Dort gibt es einen riesigen, frei zugänglichen, kostenfreien Steinkreis, in dem ein Großteil des Dorfes steht. Das Herrenhaus in Avebury (Avebury Manor) ist ein zusätzliches Highlight. Für National Trust Mitglieder kostenfrei . Das Tollste jedoch: Man darf (bis auf eine Tapete) alles im Herrenhaus anfassen!! Wir haben im Herrenzimmer Billard gespielt. Der absolute Höhepunkt ist der Tea-Room in der alten Bibliothek. Das muss man erlebt haben! Im Garten gab es, neben dem typischen Herrenhaus-Garten, noch eine Streuobstwiese mit Liegestühlen und Picknickdecken. Alles begleitet von entzückenden älteren Herrschaften vom National Trust, die uns sogar ein Probeliegem im Repräsentationsbett der Dame angeboten haben. Einfach traumhaft!