Winter Solstice 2019: All you need to know

Winter Solstice 2019: All you need to know

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 8:01am 21st December 2019. (Updated at 10:28am 22nd December 2019)

3 minute read

English Heritage is opening up the stone circle to allow people to see in the sunrise on the shortest day of the year.

Around 5,000 visitors are expected to go along for the Winter Solstice.

Weekend events tend to mean the number of people attending is higher, however the poor weather in recent days may have an impact.

Winter Solstice 2 Ellie
The stone circle will be fully open to visitors, allowing people to get up close

WHEN IS THE SOLSTICE SUNRISE?

That's at 8.11am this morning (Sunday 22nd December).

We won't be able to go onto the monument field until around 7.45am though, depending on it being just light enough to open it safely.

The field will be closed to the public at 10.00am, to allow for a clean-up operation and re-opening later in the day to visitors.

WHY IS IT CELEBRATED?

Winter Solstice is marked at the end of the longest night of the year.

It also signifies the start of the mornings and evenings getting a little lighter and a turning point in the calendar towards the springtime.

Jenny Davies from English Heritage says it's important we're prepared for out visit to Stonehenge: 

Winter Solstice 2016 2 (credit Donald Capewell)
The stones are an imposing sight in the monument field at night (picture from Donald Capewell)

PARKING AT SOLSTICE

The car parks at the site will open from 6.00am.

We're advised that spaces are limited though, so we're encouraged to car share where possible.

It will cost £5 per car, van or live-in vehicle and £2 for motorbikes. 

Charges will still apply to Blue Badge holders, English Heritage members and National Trust members.

Winter Solstice Ellie 7JPG
Solstices are among the busiest times of the year at Stonehenge

USE PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Bus services to Stonehenge will be available for the Winter Solstice, run by Salisbury Reds.

Highways England has warned us that the A303 is likely to be busy too, with a 40mph speed limit in place throughout Sunday morning.

There's more information about travel to Stonehenge on our dedicated webpage.

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