Having dreamed about it for years, this year I have been very fortunate to experience Summer Solstice at Stonehenge. Hubby and I, along with thousands of others cheered the sun rising over the stones at 04:52 on the 21st of June 2019.
The Longest Day
Summer Solstice, also known as midsummer and Litha, happens when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt toward the Sun. This happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere. Summer Solstice is when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky and is the day with the longest period of daylight.
Summer Solstice at Stonehenge
Stonehenge has been a place of worship and celebration during Summer Solstice for thousands of years. Normally, you aren’t allowed to get up close to the stones. During Summer Solstice however, they have open access to the site.
Access to Stonehenge is permitted from 7 PM on the 20th of June to 8 AM on the 21st; with exit from the parking lot at midday.
It was about a 2 hour drive to Stonehenge in Wiltshire from our home in Devon. We arrived mid evening on the 20th and paid £15 for parking in a large grass field.
The attendance could be anything up to 10,000 people, but there is plenty of room to park. They don’t allow any tents but you can sleep in your vehicle if you feel the need. For those that don’t want to drive and are staying locally, the bus service is every 20 minutes or so.
From the car park, it was about a 20 minute walk to the ancient world heritage site. Along the way there were plenty of food stands and portable toilets (albeit it pretty disgusting).
We couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather, complete with a glorious sunset over the Salisbury Plain. The atmosphere was enchanting – music, dancing and costumes everywhere you looked.
Staying the Night
Some people slept on the ground around the stones but you aren’t allowed any tents or sleeping bags on site. Most people just laid on a blanket on the grass. We opted to sleep in our minivan on a fold out bed in the back.
Around midnight we headed back to the van and after a glass of wine laid down for a few hours. The alarm went off at 4 AM and with coffee in hand (thanks to the 24 hour food vendors) were back at the stones by 4:30.
People from all over the world had come to share the experience, sing, dance and celebrate the day in their own way.
For me, it was one of the most special experiences in my life and one I will not soon forget.
May the long time Sun shine upon you
All love surround you
and the pure light within you
guide your way on.