​The Ultimate Summer Solstice Celebration at Stonehenge


On June 21st, it’s time to celebrate the summer solstice, the day that marks the beginning of our favorite season. It’s also the longest day of the year, the day when the sun hits the highest position in the sky in our hemisphere. This results in the longest period of daylight of the entire year.

Across the globe, cultures celebrate the summer solstice, also known as midsummer, with holidays, festivals and rituals. The day is also associated with fertility, dating back to ancient times.

Although there are lots of ways to commend the summer solstice, no celebration is more epic than the one that happens at Stonehenge every year. Here, we’ll take a closer look at why it is the ultimate way to observe this special day.


What Is the Summer Solstice?

The word solstice comes from two Latin words; sol refers to the sun, and sistere means “to stand still.” During both solstices, the seasonal movement of the Sun’s path appears to stand still before reversing in the opposite direction.

 A solstice occurs when the earth’s rotational axis reaches its maximum degree of inclination toward the sun. In the northern hemisphere, that means that the summer solstice offers the maximum amount of sunlight, and the winter solstice offers the least amount.

The summer solstice is traditionally a time to celebrate light, love and growth. It’s a time to reflect on the way nature reaches its full bounty during the warmer months. It’s also a day to reflect on the ongoing spiritual growth of the soul as well.



How to Celebrate the Solstice at Stonehenge

Each year, people from all over the world come together at Stonehenge to watch the sun rise above the ancient stones on the summer solstice. Because of the special way Stonehenge is situated, dawn sees the central Altar stone aligning perfectly with the Heel stone, the Slaughter stone and the rising sun. This is the only time of year this happens so perfectly.

As the first rays of sunlight appear over the horizon, Druids clothed in white cloaks ceremonially tap the Heel stone, while chanting to officially welcome the sun on this special day. The entire experience is part of an ancient ritual that has existed for thousands of years.

Although there are many summer solstice celebrations around the world, the one at Stonehenge is the most popular, with thousands of people traveling to participate every year, especially those of British or Irish descent. If you only add one solstice event to your travel agenda, make it this one!



What You Need to Know About Celebrating at Stonehenge

Those interested in joining the festivities need to plan ahead by visiting the English Heritage website, the non-profit society that manages Stonehenge and 400 other heritage sites, and make careful note of the schedule for the year. Stonehenge is an ancient sacred site, so there are limits to the number of attendees. While you do all the necessary research for your trip, keep the following points in mind.

  1. Only limited parking is available.
For that reason, the organization strongly recommends that participants take some form of public transportation to the car park. It’s also worth noting that parking fees are now in place, so have some form of payment handy.
  1. Respect the stones.
Visitors may not lean, climb or stand on the stones. Many people choose to ignore this directive, but violators risk removal from the site by the police.
  1. Pack carefully.
Starting at 10 p.m., visitors can enter the site. It’s a long wait for sunrise, so bring some light provisions, like small bags and blankets, to help you through the night.

Just understand that you may bring small bags or blankets into the site, but not larger totes and sleeping bags. To protect the ancient site, larger totes and sleeping bags are not permitted.
  1. You can’t bring glass or alcohol.
Authorities banned alcohol, and all forms of glass, from the solstice celebration for the first time last year due to disrespectful behavior at the monument.

In a nutshell, summer solstice at Stonehenge is an awe-inspiring way to honor the traditions of ancient people, commune with Mother Nature and connect with thousands of other people. Add it to your bucket list today!