Enter the inner circle of Stonehenge at Sunrise on the Winter Solstice
Witness the Druidic ceremony and Pagan Celebrations
Visit Salisbury Cathedral and medieval City
See Old Sarum Hill Fort
Luxury Coach, expert guide services
A sight you can't see every day, the winter solstice at Stonehenge is a great bucket list experience and will take you back to basics when it comes to human spirituality and belief.
Each year in December visitors from around the world gather at Stonehenge early in the morning to mark the Winter solstice and to see the sunrise above the stones. The sunrise on the 22nd of December at 8.04am. We will be there for sunrise!
Follow the footsteps of your ancestors and exalt in the beauty of Salisbury’s hallowed monoliths from within the inner ring; ground rarely trodden but for sacred occasions. The sun’s celestial machinations have been celebrated at this time of year for thousands of years and it is perhaps the most important time of the year to be at Stonehenge- a truly spiritual experience. So as mankind dances to the yearly rhythm of the sun- will you join them?
Join a congregation of today’s Druid community, including neo-druids, neo pagans, and wiccans at a site of unequaled religious significance, and witness the warmest of celebrations clutched from the cold heart of winter. Watch as the long night is broken by the primordial light of Ostara, or dawn, as she gives her light and colour to the painting of beauty that is Wiltshire’s countryside, and it is refracted by those most ancient stones.
After we will visit Salisbury. Explore the historic city of Salisbury. Wander around the picturesque streets of this ancient market town viewing the magnificent black and white Tudor houses or visit the traditional local market that has been a feature in the city for over 800 years. There will be time for breakfast and explore the magnificent medieval Cathedral crowned with the tallest spire in Britain and built by medieval craftsmen back in the 13th Century. Salisbury probably has the finest medieval cathedral in Britain. See one of the only four surviving original texts of the Magna Carta in the Chapter House. The Magna Carta is one of the greatest constitutional documents of all times, showing the agreement reach between King John and his barons in 1215 AD.
Stonehenge has been carefully aligned for thousands of years on a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset (opposed to New Grange, which points to the winter solstice sunrise, and the Goseck circle, which is aligned to both the sunset and sunrise). It is even thought that the Winter Solstice was actually more important to the people who constructed Stonehenge than the Summer Solstice. When you see the primeval light strike the stones on this crisp winter morning it’s easy to see why.
Celebrate amongst the megaliths and connect to a tradition, to a celebration, older than our very society. Ancients believed the winter solstice was a time of death and rebirth, where spirits roamed the lands. Deep in the midwinter our ancestors rejoiced in the rebirth of the sun as the days once again began to elongate, looking forward to the spring and the promise of bounty which the new sun promised.
‘Solstice’ roughly translates to ‘sun stands still’- as it was believed the sun was suspended in the sky on these occasions. Today we know that this effect is caused by the earth's tilt, at this point it reaches its maximum tilt away from the sun. The perceived suspension of the sun shed light and energy into the ancient rituals and that energy has been retained to this day. The celebrations are as vibrant as they have been for centuries- supported by an ancient continuity which you can be a part of. The winter solstice was a time to celebrate the fermentation of the wine and beer and to sacrifice cattle to support the community through the harsh winter.
The winter solstice amongst the stones is the perfect place to start feeling festive. The celebrations of the winter solstice have been called by many names, including jul in Scandinavia, or Yule in Britain. The 12 day Scandinavian festival which centred around the solstice has given us many of our modern traditions including the Christmas tree, the Yule log and the Christmas wreath. So join the revellers at Stonehenge this year to tap into a seasonal joy older than and in an idyllic setting more beautiful than the very concept of Christmas.
Depart central London / Bath at approx. 4am* December 22nd 2023. Coach Travel to Stonehenge with guide and spend 2 - 3 hours inside the circle and witness the sun rising, Druid Ceremony and festivities. A 1 - 2 hour vist to Salisbury and back to London / Bath at noon
*This time may vary depending on the access time granted by English Heritage
This is not like our traditional guided 'Private Access' tour. Although this tour is guided it does not visit other attractions and is not everyone's cup of tea, however those who do participate will never forget it and will surely 'tell the tale' for many years to come...... Please take the time to view our images / video of previous 'Solstice Tours'.
For those of you who have not visited this sacred site, we should mention that the complex is roped off. Visitors observe the stones from a distance and are not permitted within the temple complex... our 'Winter Solstice' tours allow you to be amongst the stones before the site is open to the general public.
N.B. With this exception English Heritage do not allow any other 'private access' tours between 19th December and 25th December
English Heritage has not confirmed the date for Open Access for Stonehenge on the Winter Solstice yet, but most likely this will be dawn on the 22nd of December. Expect a short period of access, from approximately 7.00 to 9.00am. They work closely with agencies, and people from all sectors of the community, in order to create a peaceful occasion - ensuring an event that can be safely enjoyed by all and protects Stonehenge and its surrounding Monuments.
Due to the nature of this 'special access' tour and the strict entry conditions that English Heritage impose please register your interest for this tour by using the 'book now' button or email us. We will then contact you with booking details and terms and conditions. This is on a first come first serve' basis.
There may be a 20- 30 minute walk to the monument so bring a torch!
This tour is designed for people staying in London without their own transport and offers great value. Visiting Stonehenge for the Solstice from London would be virtually impossible by public transport.
*Entrance to Salisbury Cathedral is optional and is not included in the tour price