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Stonehenge

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by Tim Falk (subscribe)
A freelance writer with an interest in just about everything.
Published June 7th 2012
When I first found out I was off to visit Stonehenge, I really wasn't that keen on the idea. What's so fascinating about a bunch of stones standing around in a circle, I thought. I was worried it would be like so many other world famous historical sites - overhyped, overcrowded and overpriced. As it turns out, this mysterious prehistoric monument was soon to prove me wrong.
1
Britain's most iconic attraction is well worth visiting.

There's nothing you can say about Stonehenge that hasn't been said a million times before, but it's still an amazing monument. Probably Britain's most iconic attraction, Stonhenge is thought to have been built some 5000 years ago. The inner ring of the monument is made up of about 80 bluestones - each of these weighs up to four tonnes and had to be transported from approximate 240 miles away.

The famous outer stones would have posed an even bigger logistical problem. These behemoths weigh as much as 50 tonnes each and came from an area roughly 20 miles north. The manpower required to build this ancient structure is hard to fathom, but it raises the even more important questions - who built it, and why?

Academics have been debating the topic of Stonehenge for years, with everyone from the Druids to Merlin being credited with the construction. We can only guess at the reason it was built, but it's commonly believed to have been used for religious rituals and ceremonies, with possible links to astronomical purposes.

Whatever the case may be, it's the mystery of Stonehenge that adds to the intrigue of this place. Approaching Stonehenge, situated as it is in a vast plain, is an impressive sight. When I visited in the middle of winter, the covering of ice and frost on the ground added a bleak and even haunting edge to the atmosphere.
4
Stonehenge in winter can be quite an eerie place.

Yep, it does drag in the tourists in their thousands, but don't let that put you off. The mystery and debate surrounding this place, combined with the sheer engineering effort that must have been required to put it together, make Stonehenge a must-visit.
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Why? Because it's a truly astonishing place
When: Open every day of the year except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Where: Near the juction of the A344 and the A303, Amesbury
Cost: Adult 7.50, Child (5-15) 4.50, Child (under 5) free
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