Stonehenge fascinates people of all ages from around the world. Who built it? Why there? And - most of all - what was it used for?
Stonehenge is not just a famous monument - it's also a very popular one, the goal of many days out in England. Most of the time, visitors are kept a way away from the stones, following a path around the outside of the stone circle. And even from that angle and that distance, the stones are amazing.
So now imagine standing right in the centre of the circle, with only a few people around you. Imagine being able to walk right up to the stones, to examine them up close, to touch them even.... would that make an unusual day out in England?
You bet it would. And now you can do just that.
At certain days during the year English Heritage, who care for Stonehenge, allow access visits to the site. Either early in the morning - before visitors arrive - or in the late afternoon - after the site has closed - you can have the giant stones almost to yourself.
Picture yourself standing amongst the stones while the sun is rising just as our ancestors may have done 4000 years ago....
Days out in England don't come much more unusual that this, and if the idea appeals to you, check out the English Heritage site, where you can book your access visit. I suggest you plan well ahead. Only a few people are allowed on the site at any one time and, as you can imagine, it's very popular.
People have always tried to understand Stonehenge, to explain the reasons for its construction, to envisage what it was used for. And not all explanations were of the rational, scientific kind. This book by Francis Prior is an excellent primer on the varying ways that people have interpreted the enigmatic arrangement of stones.