Is Stonehenge the dullest attraction ever?

Question: which description best describes Stonehenge?

a. A prehistoric monument of huge historic significance

b. A mystical former temple for worshipping the sun and moon

c. Rocks in a field

d. The dullest attraction in all of England.

Answer: umm, all of the above?

A very wintery me, standing in front of Stonehenge.

Entry to the English county of Wiltshire’s most famous field costs £7.80 for adults – but if you’re really cheap you can view it from the road and not miss out on anything besides an audio tour that raises more questions that it does answers.

After all, nobody knows for sure who or why the famous stones of Stonehenge were dragged across the Salisbury plain and placed in a circle. One of the best guesses is it acted as a sort of ancient astronomical calendar – but it could’ve just as well been done for a laugh.

You can imagine a bunch of druids, drunk on mead or whatever they drank back then, saying to themselves “now this will really screw with people’s heads in a couple of millennia”.

A cold and wintery day at Stonehenge - my fiance Nic in a purple jacket

In all seriousness, though – that is the frustrating thing about Stonehenge. It is remarkable and you know it must be significant – why else would anyone bother to lug those gigantic stones? – but it leaves you guessing.

Why was it built? Why is it so popular with hippies and alien fanatics? Why did I just travel up to see it when I had so many other London day trips to choose from?

Furthermore, incessant conspiracy theories that the site was rebuilt rob Stonehenge of some of its splendour, as preposterous as those theories might be.

Still, you simply have to visit Stonehenge when you’re in the United Kingdom. It may well be a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, not to mention the dullest British tourist attraction this side Keswick’s pencil museum – but it sure is photogenic.

Stonehenge at dusk
I did not take this photograph.

Have you visited Stonehenge? What did you think of it – amazing feat of prehistoric engineering or simply a few large rocks in a field?

About Simon Petersen 296 Articles
Travel blogger, journalist, sports and movie fiend. Chronicling the life and times of a Kiwi at home and abroad.

28 Comments

  1. This is sacrelige! I love Stonehenge, I think it’s awe-inspiring. The mystery adds to its appeal, for me.

    Having said that, it’s always good to hear other people’s points of view. It would be dull if we all liked the same things.

    They’ve been talking for years about putting the road underground and moving the visitor centre further away to return the stones to their isolated majesty, but whether this will ever happen, I don’t know. They should ditch the entry fee at least!

    • Haha, thanks Rachel – this seems to be a pretty divisive blog post about Stonehenge! I’ll agree that it is awe inspiring but, you’re right, it would be better if it was more isolated. Seems funny to me that you can be driving by and “look at that pile of rocks in that paddock! Oh, it’s Stonehenge!”.

  2. Hrrrm, stonehenge isn’t that interesting now – when I was a kid you could climb on the stones and that was fun…now it’s nothing much to see, albeit an interesting piece of history.

    Avebury a few miles down the road is another stone circle. You can walk INTO the circle and get a real feel for the scale. And it’s in a pretty English village with a great pub;) But we keep that one for ourselves *grin*

    • Wow, I didn’t know about that one! Definitely a great insider tip that we should just keep to ourselves 😉 Cheers Fiona!

  3. Haha. I’ve never been, but I can’t imagine it’s that impressive. I flew over the Nazca Lines a few days ago and I had the same thought – they probably did it for fun. People play with Jenga and scribble graffiti today…why not in 400AD?! For the record, the lines aren’t as obvious/impressive as you imagine either!

    • That’s good to know because I’d really quite like to see the Nazca lines some day! Just like I was really excited to see Stonehenge…

  4. Now then Simon, I’m a Brit and I don’t know a single fellow countryman or woman who has ever visited Stonehenge. We all know how dull it is and are both perplexed yet amused when people who come to the UK as tourists make a beeline for it as a day trip.

    • Haha, some of my old London work mates thought I was mental for paying to get in when I could have just taken a photo from the road!

  5. At home I live 30 minutes from Stonehenge. I saw it every weekend travelling to see my nan and football matches. We always used to comment on the weather and how it would affect it’s visitors – how boring!
    BUT, I also used to do 15 miles of a 26 mile charity walk from Avebury (another stone circle) to Stonehenge, and seeing it come into view after a few hours walking was always great!
    Yeah, a circle of stones…. Still gets an amazing amount of visitors each year though!

    • Haha, I’m sure they must be dull to someone who sees them all the time! I can imagine they’d look particularly amazing after a 26 mile walk 😉

  6. I agree it’s a must-visit, since it is neat to see the rock formation and marvel how it got that way. But it is a bit underwhelming. Wish visitors could still walk amidst it like they used to be able to do.

    • Thanks Gina, you get exactly what I’m trying to say here! It’s a must-see but it’s also a little bit disappointing

  7. I think what strucked us the most was its size. It was much, much bigger than we expected. That and its location which was kind of in the middle of nowhere and beautiful. We’re glad we made the trip there.

    • It is rather big – and it certainly is in the middle of nowhere! I’m glad I made the trip, too. But I’m not ecstatic that I did.

    • I happen to agree with you, Pam – Stonehenge is definitely worth the visit. I jest about it being dull only because I found it to be just a little bit underwhelming.

  8. Oh man… I was always fascinated by Stonehenge and this really makes me think twice. I might make for a good photo opportunity around sunset though.

    • It would make a great photo! And don’t let me put you off, it’s just that it’s probably not as spectacular as you might imagine it to be – or certainly not as much as I thought it would be.

    • Haha, now I’d really love to visit Mt Rushmore! It must be fairly photogenic, too. True both places are similar in that five minutes later you’ve seen it all…

  9. It’s one of those places that, even though I knew it would be touristy, I had to visit in the UK.

    No, it wasn’t as wow-inducing as I’d hoped, but I’m still glad I saw it in person!

    • Me, too. I’m glad I did it but I couldn’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed. I hope I’m not too negative about it here.

  10. I have not been to Stonehenge yet but have always wanted to go. If you can not get close to it than I would probably skip it.

    I have another dull attraction that would probably beat Stonehenge in a contest…The Blarney Stone. I was recently in Ireland and could not stay far enough away from that place. Who wants to pay 12E to kiss a rock. I can do that in my backyard for free.

    • Haha, I’d love to kiss the Blarney Stone; then again, I’d imagine I’d feel much the same as I did about Stonehenge. Sometimes the anticipation is better than the actual attraction.

  11. It is one of the most suggested spots to visit when I went there in late 2010, but I backed out when my mom told me that I cannot go near it LOL. I went to Stratford-Upon-Avon instead for W.S. overload

    • That’s true! A rope around Stonehenge keeps everyone quite a distance back. Haha, I think you made the right choice – Stratford-upon-Avon is better!

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