One of the must see locations on everybody’s list when they go to England is of course Stonehenge. The site is known as one of the most important monuments from prehistory in Britain and is visually impressive. What most people don’t realize, however, is that Stonehenge is not the only prehistoric rock circle that is found in England. Another very popular one is Avebury, which like Stonehenge is in Wiltshire, England so it is easy to visit both sites in the same day. But while everyone knows Stonehenge, there are plenty of benefits you will see when you visit Avebury.
Because the stone circles at Avebury are much less well-known (and granted a bit less impressive), this means that they are not nearly as crowded as Stonehenge. There is no long line to wait in to enter the site and you do not have to worry about having random people in your pictures. You simply have to show up and you will have the site mostly to yourself (especially during weekdays).
No Admission Fee
While Stonehenge is fairly affordable (with admission costing less than £10), there is no fee to enter the prehistoric site of Avebury. This means that if you simply want to see the ruins and skip the museum, you only have to pay for gas or the tour that takes you there. There are, however, small admission fees for the Manor House (£9) and museum (£4.40), but they are still fairly affordable.Credit: S Friedman
Go Where You Want
One of the annoying things about Stonehenge’s great popularity is that to avoid damage to the site (and for safety concerns) there is a roped off path around it that you must walk in. This limits your view of the site and makes it harder to get the ideal picture. Because Avebury is less popular and has no horizontal stones, you are free to walk around it as you please. This means you can walk between the stones or even hug them if you want.
Largest Stone Circle
Although Stonehenge is quite impressive, Avebury holds the title of the largest stone circle found within Europe. It was built around 2600 BCE and has a henge (made up of a ditch and a bank) as well as an outer stone circle and two smaller inner stone circles.
One of the amazing things about Avebury is that the stone circles are still used today, most notably by Pagan religions. These religious events may attract crowds of onlookers so it would not be out-of-place to go and watch, especially during the summer solstice.
Like most historic sites in England, Avebury has a museum that shows the history of not only Avebury, but other related sites as well. If you have a family, visiting the museum is a great idea as there are activities geared specifically to children such as interactive displays and the opportunity to dress up.
As mentioned earlier, there is also the Manor at Avebury and while not related to the prehistoric site, this is a great place to visit while in the UK and due to its proximity to the stone circle, it is easy to do both in the same day. The BBC recently collaborated with Avebury Manor for a special which is why the admission fee is slightly higher, but it is still well worth it.