Thousands celebrate solstice at Stonehenge

Summer Solstice 2018

Published by Henrietta Creasey at 5:56am 21st June 2018 (Updated 6:47am 21st June 2018)

Cheers as the sun rises on the longest day at the famous stone circle.

9,500 people have celebrated the dawn of the longest day at Stonehenge and the astronomical start of summer.

There were cheers as the sun rose behind the Heel Stone, the entrance to the neolithic site, at 4.52 am.

English Heritage opens the site up every year for the solstice, giving people a rare chance to get up close to the monument.

Numbers were down considerably on last year's event which saw 13,000 attend.

Stonehenge General Manager, Katie Davies, told Spire FM she was "delighted" with this year's event.

"We've had nine and a half thousand people attend, there are lots of happy faces and we've had the most beautiful sunrise. It's been very peaceful and very enjoyable, everyone respecting the stones and respecting each other."

Summer Solstice 2018

Wiltshire Police said the event passed smoothly and there were no arrests,,earlier the force shared footage of its drone on social media.

Among the crowds were pagans and druids dressed in long flowing costumes, for the sun loving worshippers the solstice is a religious occasion.

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Stonehenge is widely believed to be a prehistoric temple built to mark the movements of the sun.

WHAT IS THE SUMMER SOLSTICE?

The summer solstice festival dates back thousands of years and is one of the most important dates in the pagan calendar.

It's when the tilt of the Earth's axis is most inclined towards the sun on this date giving us the longest day, with the sun setting at Stonehenge at 9.27pm tonight which means we'll get more than 16 and a half hours of daylight!

WATCH THE SUNRISE HERE: 

 

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