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Stonehenge inner circle tours

I am signed up for the villages of south England tour that begins on June 29. While waiting for the tour to be canceled, I am also still “planning” for the tour in 2021. Just curious about whether the tour of Stonehenge is an inner circle tour.

Posted by
8384 posts

I agree with Bob but will add, if you decide you want to do an Inner Circle tour, can you add on a couple of days at the end of your tour? The RS tour ends in Bath (which needs a few days for itself) which is a short train ride (maybe an hour?) to Salisbury. You could easily go back for a night or 2 if you have the time and do a private Inner Circle tour.

I've not done one but I did a walking tour of Salisbury several years ago with a guide who does Inner Circle tours. He was fabulous and I would have no hesitation about booking with him for an Inner Circle. His name is Pat Shelley and his company is

BTW, I would have no problem with going to Stonehenge twice in the same vacation although I realize there are people on this forum who don't find it worthwhile. Although the stones themselves are in a small, contained location the site actually covers a huge area especially if you also visit Woodhenge and Durrington Walls which is how Pat apparently does his tours. I was on a walking tour when we walked from Durrington Walls to Stonehenge (just a couple of miles) and that was pretty cool.

Have fun planning! I hope you will be able to spend extra nights in Canterbury and Bath when you do get to go.

Posted by
633 posts

We did an evening special access tour of Stonehenge with Mad Max Tours from Bath a few years ago. Any tour company that does the tours is assigned the dates that they can go, because it is limited access.. We were lucky that a date aligned with when we were visiting Bath. If you are interested in such a tour you would have to check out which dates are available to various companies.

We enjoyed the tour, and found it pretty special to be there and wander around as the sun was setting (around 9-10 PM) with just the 10 people in our group.

Posted by
1024 posts

Back in the day (1972) I experienced the mystical wonder of visiting Stonehenge at dawn with nobody else around.

Posted by
23 posts

Pam and Va,
Thanks for the advice. My trip itinerary for this year included 2 days in London before the tour and 2 days in Newbury after the tour to visit Highclere Castle. Since this year’s trip won’t be happening I’m considering beefing up the itinerary for next year to include a few more places, like Oxford and the inner circle tour.

Posted by
53 posts

(Manchester) Bob,
Me, too! Except for the time of day. I was there in September, 1972, with maybe 1 or 2 other people.
Went back for the second time in October, 2017, with some trepidation about how I would feel about how it is now. Maybe it is because I once did have the place to myself, and could stand right next to the altar stone, that I am OK with the current experience.

For anyone who will be seeing it for the first time, probably an inner circle tour would be a good idea, but I think the site is being managed well and is still worth seeing without a tour.

Posted by
2772 posts

I agree that Stonehenge is terrific with or without the special inner circle access. We did it both ways: visited one day with regular entry, and then drove out before dawn on another day for our inner circle ticket. We didn't have a guide, but found the audio guide wonderfully informative. The visitor centre has both indoor and outdoor components, is beautifully designed, and really sets the stage for the henge itself. We also drove over to Durrington Walls and Woodhenge -- we thought we'd have to be crazy to come so close and not go to visit those sites.

During our inner circle access, a bunch of the people in our time slot were students and their professor gave quite a commentary while we were among the stones. Some of what she said was a rehash of what we'd already heard on the audio guide, but it was handy to hear it again, and since we weren't part of the student group we felt free to wander around in and out of earshot while she was speaking.

If I ever get to go again, I'd love to take the Pat Shelley tour.

Posted by
10 posts

Hi Stacie,

I am expecting that the tour by then should be on, however, with social distancing measurements in. If you are booked on a Private Inner Circle Tour then yes, it will be and these tours often take place first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening and are outside of normal opening hours. Take a look here for more information... as it tells you which tours allow you to touch the stones and which don't and why.

Hope this helps and you get to see the Stones!


Posted by
2772 posts

If you're relying on public transportation, be aware that bus schedules are not very compatible with the inner circle hours. There's a wonderful shuttle bus that runs from Salisbury to Stonehenge with stops at Old Sarum and at least one Park & Ride lot, but last I checked the shuttle hours are tied to Stonehenge regular opening hours (when the Visitor Centre and gift shop are open), not the early a.m. and late p.m. times when inner circle visits take place.