How to save a few pounds while fully enjoying the stunning English historical site.

Share story

One of the most famous world heritage sites on the planet, England’s Stonehenge is on the bucket list of many a traveler.

My husband and I were no exception, and recently made our way to the site to kick off a two-month excursion to the United Kingdom. It definitely didn’t disappoint. Massive stones set in the middle of the area’s traditional farmland, complete with a curated visitor experience at the edge of the site, it’s definitely a memory maker.

However, there are a few things it’s helpful to know in order to make the most of your budget and the Stonehenge experience itself.

Booking: Savvy spenders should plunk down their entry fees in advance from the hotel business center or personal laptop. Booking online cost us 15.50 pounds each, versus a bit over 18 at the gate. That’s a savings of nearly 3 full pounds per adult ticket — enough for a pint at your pub of choice.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Commentary: Handheld audio guides from English Heritage cost 3 pounds a pop on site, but you can download its free audio tour app from iTunes or the Google Play store and listen to it with headphones on your own smartphone. For a family with multiple children, this is a significant savings.

Be advised, downloading on site via the free Wi-Fi means you’ll be competing for bandwidth with all of the other tourists visiting at the same time. Do yourself a favor and download it the night before on your hotel’s internet connection.

Food: While there is a café at the visitor center, Stonehenge is one of the most perfect spots for a travel picnic you’re ever likely to find. The staff expect people to linger and take their time, making their way around the ancient stone circle to get the best photo angles possible. It’s also worth eating on site just to people watch. You’ll see all kinds when you visit this venue, including mystics in spiritual robes, barefoot meditation enthusiasts and more.

Time: While you are sure to see plenty of tourists grabbing a quick photo before heading out again on their insanely over-scheduled vacation itinerary, don’t make the same mistake. This is world-class stuff with a palpable sense of ancient history. Don’t rush it.

Start with the exhibits in the visitor center, which provide an excellent background for what you’ll be seeing. Just outside the building is a collection of huts reconstructed to provide a sense of how people lived back when Stonehenge was in use. Tourists of all ages will enjoy exploring their construction and interior layout.

From there, skip the bus ride and follow the trail through the pastures and fields to see the mounds and channels found on the outer edges of the archaeological site. It will let kids burn off some steam, and transport you back in time as you contemplate how and why others throughout history would journey here.