I agree, I find this far more 'mystic’ and spiritual than Stonehenge, and it’s interesting that the two sites are so close together, but there are stones everywhere. I love the drive to Avebury!
16 reviews of Avebury Stone Circle in English
Fascinating. One of the great things about Avebury is that you can get up close & personal with the stones unlike stonehenge.
There really is spiritual/bigger-than-here feeling about the stones.
The gift shop is a treat too.
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With the village in the middle, Avebury stone circle is a sight to see!
The cutest thing was the black sheep near the entrance of the first quarter of stones. They looked lovely against the huge grey dolmen and bright green grass.
The most impressive, the very large trench encircling the circle, which makes it look amazing on Google Maps.
The gift shop is something worth visiting. It has interesting books and some local crafts.
I’d recommend walking around the circle (there is a path) as this gives you a nice idea of the enormity of it.
It’s nice to be able to walk up to the stones and touch them, or at the very least stand next to them and see how small you really are.
Watch out for the parking though! It’s pay-and-display, but only until 18:30 when they close it. Thankfully, they don’t lock you in as they claim. You just need to open the gate and close it behind you. But it’s still scary, especially as 18:30 in the springtime is too early to see a sunset over the stones.
Avebury is a circle of large stones, a bit like Stonehenge. Unlike Stonehenge however, you are not kept back by a barbed wire fence, you can walk right up to the stones and touch them. There are sheep wandering around. There is a village in the middle of the stones, including a pub, which is rumoured to be haunted. There is a shop in the village where you can buy souvenirs and there is a cafe where you can have a nice cup of coffee when you fancy a break. If you feel like a nice walk in the country that is a bit different, then Avebury is a good place to go.
This place is fantastic! If you want somewhere less comercial that Stonehenge this is the place for you. You can have a peaceful stroll through the fields that the stones are in (making sure you avoid the sheep!) and actually touch the big stones (rather than be shepherded around meters away in case you damage something, like at Stonehenge) and you don’t have to pay to get it. If you go on a cold and wet day make sure you are well wrapped up and have some 'sensible’ shoes on!
There is a small gift shop close by and also a small museum / visitors centre, although I can’t comment on that because we didn’t have time to go in!
Avebury Stone Circle is one of the world’s greatest prehistoric monuments: older than Stonehenge, it is the largest megalithic stone circle (henge) anywhere, and part of what was once an enormous megalithic complex stretching for miles. To me, it’s more impressive and more spiritual a place than Stonehenge, despite the fact there’s a road and village within its structure.
As ever with such sites, our knowledge is limited, but like Stonhenge, it is likely to have been built in phases. The best guess is that construction began around 2600BC with the inner circles, with the great ditch and outer circle completed around 2500BC, making it contemporaneous with the Pyramids at Giza.
When completed, these circles included about 154 stones (only 36 remain today) and it also had two avenues 50 feet wide on either side, extending another one and a half miles. Excavations indicate it was probably used as a ritual site for some 2,300 years.
A mile to the south is the artificial Silbury Hill, which must also have formed a related part of this complex, although its purpose is now unkown. Nearby Windmill Hill - an important settlement in Neolithic times - also has some burial mounds from the Bronze Age.
As well as natural degradation, the monument suffered hugely during the mediaeval period when the Christian authorities actively encouraged demolition of what was regarded as a Pagan monument. This process accelerated in the 17th and 18th centuries, when local people also broke up the stones for building material.
But as late as the 1720s, the great antiquarian Dr William Stukeley was able to trace the original plan, including the avenues: although his interpretation of this as a Druid site is not regarded as inaccurate, his drawings and surveys provide our best record of what it looked like. Alas, the destruction of the stones by local farmers continued unabated into the 19th century.
The 20th century showed a greater interest in and respect for the site, and - rather controversially - many of the stones were re-erected in the 1930s by the archaeologist Alexander Keiller. This involved in some cases demolition of later buildings, themselves of some historical interest. I happen to think he was right to try and preserve what was left, but many contextual historians disagree. Whatever the rights and wrongs, the site is now safely in the hands of the English Heritage and managed by the National Trust.
Today, the most impressive feature is the great ditch and its banks: the excavation of this feature - nearly 0.5km in diameter - involved moving 200,000 tonnes of soil and rock. It may even once have been filled with water to make the interior and island.
Inside this are the remains of the outer circle, which is nearly complete in the north west and south west corners. The remains of the two inside circles are more fragmentary. Unlike Stonehenge, here you can walk right up to the stones, so allow at least a couple of hours to visit properly.
There is a gift shop and museum in the nearby Barn and Stables (themselves 16th and 17th century buildings) with interactive displays to put everything into context. The museums are fully accessible, but the main site has undulating grassy terrain which can get a bit boggy underfoot if it’s been raining, so you will have to judge for yourself. There is a drop-off point in the village.
Parking is the main problem: there is a pay and display car park (free for motorcycles), 200m from the edge of the henge.
The village of Avebury itself is worth a wander around (the Red Lion especially, although it does get terribly busy at weekends). For the most part, you’ll still be inside the monument itself!
Comment 1 comment on this review
bluesofty, 20 November 2008:
If you’re looking for a relaxing sunday outing then where better to go but Avebury.
The village of Avebury was built inside an ancient stone circle, the size of which would easily dwarf Stonehenge. Avebury itself is a pretty little village with a few museum exhibits explaining the history behind the stones. There is also a pub which is favourite haunt of bikers and tourists coming to visit the area. There is a National Trust shop and a local shop that sells some lovely things.
The main draw, of course is the stones which are impressive, and the scale of the stone circle mindblowing. Unlike Stonehenge you can actually get up close and personal with the stones and so you can really get a sense of how big the stones are and the work and devotion taken to bring them to their resting place.
The walk round the stones isn’t buggy friendly and a good pair of walking boots wouldn’t go a miss but it is most definately worth it.
A really special place where I used to come to chill out (or warm up) after spending the summer solstice night at Stonehenge. You can wander around the stones, have a snooze on the grass or a pint in the pub, and watch the bemusement of the Japanese tourists as they look at the hippies.
The police used to try to prevent 'undesirables’ entering, causing a lot of unnecessary headaches and traffic problems, but last time I was there it felt more relaxed so I hope they’ve reached accord.
As other reviewers have described, Avebury is a large stone circle enclosing a pretty village. There’s also an avenue of stones leading towards the mysterious Silbury Hill and West Kennet, the latter being perhaps the most peaceful and evocative neolithic monument in the area.
Well worth a visit.
Stunning stone circle and beautiful village and countryside. If you want to be impressed by what ancient people could do this is the place to come as the scale is huge and, unlike Stonehenge you can wander around, touch the stones and find quiet places to sit and think.
Don’t miss out on the nearby Silbury Hill or West Kennet Long Barrow.
A nice walk to visit all the stones. Not buggy friendly and a bit of hill climbing is needed but well worth it. You can touch the stones and really see how big they are without squinting from a distance like at Stonehenge. The nearby town has a good range of shops and places to eat
The village of Avebury was built inside the spectacular ancient monument of the stone circle and processional. Considering the fact that much damage to the site must have happened over the centuries, there is a surprising amount of original construction to enjoy. Whether you wish to walk the entire perimeter of the circle, or simply approach individual stones within the village itself, the atmosphere and mystery of these ancient monuments is spellbinding. The scale of Avebury dwarfs other sacred sites from this period and emphasises how significant these constructions must have been to their makers. For anyone even slightly interested in man’s early history, Avebury is a must!
A really amazing place. The huge circle stretches for an age and walking around is most satisfying. The village itself has a lot of charm but it’s worth wandering off and away from the buildings as a real sense of peace and tranquility can be felt. It helps if the weather is good so summer is the best time. If you are a walker try going from here to Silbury Hill which is a decent but not huge walk away - a great walk.
One sad thing is Stones vegetarian restaurant has gone and a decidedly below par National Trust restaurant is there in its place. The best vegetarian food I have ever eaten was at Stones and I miss it!
This stone circle is huge!! Its amazing to be able to walk around it! As it is so big, when i went, although there were a lot of people there, it didn’t feel at all crowded.
Another nice place to wander about and ponder what may have happened there when it was constructed.
Absolutely loving the museum there as well, where the signs apologise for the darkness in the barn, it is kept that way for the bats that live in the roof!
The standing stone ring in Avebury is every bit as ancient as Stonehenge. They are a ring of stones a mile in diameter, placed in fields around the village crossroads. Like the more famous monument, we're not certain what they're for, but they bring out an impressive sense of both history and intrigue.
The stones aren't as large as Stonehenge's, and they're not balanced atop one another. But you can walk right up to them and touch them in the fields, if you don't mind walking amongst the sheep.
There's an archaeological museum in a barn here, a gift shop, a restaurant, and a great pub in the middle of the village - the Red Lion - perfect for stopping at after wandering the ring. There are several other prehistoric sites nearby.
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