Avebury Stone Circle (Aveburyhenge)

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Avebury, England

Avebury Stone Circle (Aveburyhenge) Reviews

joseph98 joseph98
129 reviews
Better than Stonehenge! Dec 11, 2016
Stonehenge is arguably the most well-known attraction in the UK outside of London…maybe even including London! A stone circle of majesty and mystery on the Salisbury plains, it dates back to prehistorical times and remains a beloved, UNESCO-listed national icon that remains on just about everyone who visits the UK ‘to see’ list.

Yet less than 25 miles North lies another UNESCO-listed stone circle that is less well-known, considerably less-visited (although there are still crowds!) and a lot less damaging to your wallet; although you certainly have the option to spend away, it’s definitely possible to visit the extraordinary stone circles for free.

But for me, it’s not just these three facts that make Avebury, for me, a more rewarding experience to visit than its more famous sister to the South. For starters, you can actually walk among the towering stones, which makes for an atmospheric experience. Avebury dates from approximately 2500BC – making it older than Stonehenge – and lost to time as they were until the early 20th Century, our lack of knowledge as to what they were there for makes them even more intriguing.

It also so happens to be the largest stone circle in the world, and as you circumnavigate the four sectors that make up the site, you can’t fail to be impressed by the sheer scope of this prehistoric landmark. More impressive is the seamless way that the stones blend with the modern village, most of which sits within the circle. The village itself proudly boasts that, in the shape of the Red Lion, it has the world’s only pub that is situated inside a stone circle!

The stones vary in shape and size, with some more photogenic than others, and unsurprisingly most of them are no longer standing (pillars mark the places where missing ones were). But the majority of those still intact are impressive and, given their enigmatic history, somewhat spine-tingling to get up close to and touch.

Avebury is not just about the grand stone circles. Nearby Silbury Hill is the largest man-made mound in Europe, and dates from a similar era. Rising from the farmland like a grassy mound of sugar, you can’t climb it, sadly, but it’s an impressive sight nonetheless. Likewise West Kennet Long Barrow, a burial mound fronted by a row of sarsen stones under which 50 skeletons were found upon excavation.

Rounding out the complex is the National Trust visitor centre, just west of the Northwest sector of the stone circle. The main draw is Avebury Manor, a grand stately home, but its steep entry fee and timed entry rules put me off visiting it. There’s also a pair of decent museums that are by no means essential, but worth visiting if you’re happy to fork out a few pounds to read more on the historical context, and include a couple of interesting exhibits such as the skeleton of an infant child found at West Kennet.

Sure, Stonehenge is more immediately photogenic because of its more concentrated cluster of grand stones, and boasts trilithons (one stone lying across the top of two others) that Avebury cannot. But Avebury trumps it for its more evocative atmosphere, more impressive scope and additional surrounding attractions, which make it a network of attractions spread over a several mile radius as opposed to just one. If you were impressed by Stonehenge, you will surely be impressed by this place too.
First stone circle glimpse
10 / 10 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
AdamR3723 says:
I agree with you - much more satisfying than Stonehenge.
Posted on: Mar 20, 2017
hanleyscot says:
Congrats on your feature, Joe! One of many I still need to catch up on! haha! It's making me miss Europe even more than I already was!
Posted on: Dec 19, 2016
Suusj says:
Congrats on the feature :)
Posted on: Dec 19, 2016
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tj1777 tj1777
379 reviews
Avebury Stone circle Sep 26, 2013
While Stonehenge may be the most famous of the stone circles in Wessex there are still more to go and see. The advantage to go to one of the lesser known instead is pretty obvious. They are free of charge where Stonehenge charges a steep £8 for entry - and there are fewer tourists so you can actually go around and enjoy without being pushed by the crowd.

Avebury is just one such stone circle - its huge - the area it is covering appears to be bigger than Stonehenge - but unlike Stonehenge you won’t find the stone on top of the other stones - just a lot of giant standing stone in circles.

The Avebury stone circle was constructed in about 2600 BC which would make it slightly older than the more famous Stonehenge where the main parts is assumed to be constructed between 2400 and 2000 BC. The Avebury circles consist of an outside ditch with three stone circles inside it.

The area was abounded for a while but it appears there was some activity at the sight during the Roman era. During medieval times a village started to be constructed and later it grew into the monument. When you walk around the monument today you’ll notice the old houses inside the circles.
Big stones
Big stone standing tall
Local residence of the circle
Big stone and the ditch around the…
6 / 6 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Ils1976 says:
looks interesting! :D
Posted on: Oct 03, 2013
Paulianthomas Pauliant…
30 reviews
Silbury Hill, West Kennet Long Barrow and Avebury Stone Circle Jun 23, 2011
Avebury Neolithic Monuments Review

It is impossible not to compare Avebury to nearby Stonehenge, yet Avebury satisfies more than its famous cousin. All sites are within walking distance of one another.

Very close to Avebury lie two Neolithic monuments well worth a visit. The first is Silbury hill, a 40 metre tall tomb and one of the biggest of its kind in Europe. Silbury Hill is closed to the public, but nearby view points have plaques that provide detailed information on its 4500 year history. Silbury hill is a short 20 minute walk from Avebury, and 20 minutes from the West Kennet Long Barrow.

The second nearby site worth visiting is the West Kennet Long Barrow. The barrow is a long narrow tomb located on a hilltop and is an amazing 5,500 years old. The tomb is free to enter, and is usually full of hippies. The barrow is a 35 minute walk from Avebury, or a 15 minute walk from its own car park. On my last visit to the barrow there was a large crop circle that was most definitely created by space aliens.

Far larger than Stonehenge, Avebury’s Stone Circle encompasses an entire village! You can also get far closer to the stones, as it is possible to walk among them, some stones as large as minivans, and reach out to touch the thousand year old mystery. Avebury’s unexplained stones are constructed in a large outer circle, and an inner circle. A lap of the outer circle will take around 25 minutes. Also, by walking out of the village exists an avenue that is lined with some of the biggest stones. This area is rarely visited by tourists. I must emphasize, make sure you walk down the avenue!!

The village of Avebury itself is very quaint, sporting thatched buildings,a village shop for lokals and a busy village pub that serves great food. Try to park here to avoid paying the pricey car park fees. Unfortunately public transport to Avebury is very limited. A bus service from Salisbury is a slow alternative to renting a car or asking a TravBuddy to take you. The route I recommend is park in Avebury, walk down the avenue to West Kennet Long Barrow, then walk to Silbury Hill and return to Avebury. For an out-of-this-world experience, visit Avebury during the summer equinox, when hundreds of tree-lovers take over the sleepy village with their music and worship.
Silbury Hill from the east
Silbury Hill from the west
Barrow entrance
Entrance to the barrow
sarahelaine sarahela…
651 reviews
Avebury Stone Circle May 27, 2008
Avebury Stone Circle is a huge complex of standing stones located in the heart of Wiltshire. It is less famous than Stonehenge, and lacks the moody moor location and impresive lintels, but personally, I prefer it.

At some point in the middle ages, a village was built slap in the middle of the ring complexes. This means that there is no point whatsoever in any busy body government agency roping off the circle and making you stand half a mile away. The village itself is pretty, and there is a nice church with an interesting font. There is also a pub - the red lion - that does nice lunhes, good real ale, and doesn't mind if you walked over the ridge and have muddy boots.

Whilst not quite as impressive at first glance, Avebury is larger than stonhenge and has the added bonus of earthworks you can climb up. Just watch out for the sheep poo. Sheep graze here, and they're quite friendly but sheep poo is quite slippy. This affords the opportunity of watching tourists in flip flops fall down the hill. Comedy gold. Sorry! The stones must have been huge at one time, and it is good to try to imagine how it would have looked.

Entrance to the village is free, although the car park is very pricey and the museum costs the earth. The other option would be to park at nearby Silbury Hill and walk in, which would be free and mean you could look at Silbury Hill too; a large, pimple shaped man-made hill. I always wonder about the leadership that must have taken - before any iron tools, let alone machines, some guy announces they are going to build a hill in the middle of the downs, and everyone goes along with it. Genius. I'd like to see Branson or Trump do that!

I digress. Avebury is well worth a visit, as is the pub. Stonehenge has no pub. Just wear sensible shoes, and watch out for the poo.
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
sarahelaine says:
I am a country girl at heart. Whilst I do enjoy razor sharp, incisive political comedy, there are few things as funny as a city dweller in inappropriate footwear confronted with sheep poo. You know people turn up in stilettos? :)

It's a beautiful part of the world, and I really miss it.
Posted on: Apr 06, 2011
fransglobal says:
Friendly sheep and sheep poo. I'd definitely make sure I had my vaccinations...

Seriously, I'd love to see Avebury and Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral.
Posted on: Apr 05, 2011
TudorRosePhotography TudorRos…
6 reviews
Avebury Henge Mar 12, 2008
Avebury henge is a lovely piece of pre-history which is lesser known that Stonehenge, but once stood much more magnificient. The henge is just apart of the 'avebury complex' which has Silbury hill (the largest man made earth mound in europe) and lots of many burial mounds and barrows.

It is indeed a very spiritual place, and its easy to imagine how primitive man would have felt impressed walking along the stone avenue which leads to the circle. However, as with most things, it had to be ruined at some point. During the 1700's christians devoted alot of time to the destruction of the stones, and now a good half of the circle is gone, and in the centre a small village is built.

However you can take full advantage of the destruction as there is a gift 'henge' shop and pub. There is a museum, but it costs around £5-6 for entry, if you are really interested in the history i would suggest buying a book on Avebury and actually taking the time to walk about the stones.

Parking can be an issue, they will charge you around £5 for the use of the purposely used carpark (field.) There is however free parking to the west of Silbury hill and a convenient footpath which goes over a hill and gives a splendid view of Avebury on the way.

On a whole, its probably not the greatest place to go to if its your soul destination unless your into new-age or paganism but it would make an excellent picnic area on a long journey and is very interesting to think that man made such an amazing structure 4500 years ago.

Other than the main circle there is the Long Barrow near West Kennett (a 10 second drive from Avebury) Silbury hill as mentioned, and further east of Silbury hill opposite a pub on the main road there is a collection of burial mounds which resemble mini-silbury hills.

(There are also camping facilities near by and a B&B in Avebury, but due to the location its likely to be very expensive.)
Deep blue skies the day before May…
peppertm peppertm
116 reviews
May 08, 2005
A great rock formation that is not as famous as Stonehenge, but just as great. This is one that people can actually touch and sit on, etc. It was amazing.

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