You’ve heard of Stonehenge of course, but do you know about the Avebury stone circles?
This Neolithic monument contains three stone circles that surround the village of Avebury. Stonehenge may be better known but Avebury is the largest stone circle in Europe. And unlike Stonehenge, a visit to the Avebury stones is free of entry charges and you can walk right up and touch the stones.
Avebury henge can easily be reached by car or public bus, and even contains a pub within the circle. It is a fascinating place for a wander, and in summer months you’ll often find guides leading small group tours around the site.
The original purpose of the Avebury monument is unknown, but archaeologists believe it was a place of worship. Modern day pagans, Druids and Wiccans, use the site as a place of religious worship today. You may even see some on your visit. The summer and winter solstice are some of the busiest worship days.
The Avebury site is full of beauty. Grasses and wildflowers cover the landscape and a few trees with twisting branches grow in the hollows. Fluffy sheep graze peacefully and shelter near the stones. Depending on your mindset you may feel a bit of magic and mystery here. Take the time to listen to the wind blow across the grassy fields and imagine why people might have made the huge efforts to build these enormous stone circles and dig the massive ditches.
Other monuments can be found in the area surrounding the Avebury stone circles, you can spot several mounds in the distance from Avebury. In addition to the outer circle and henge, you can also explore West Kennet Avenue, The Sanctuary, West Kennet Longbarrow and Silbury Hill. All properties are free to enter and managed by English Heritage and National Trust.
To learn more about these mysterious Neolithic sites, visit the Alexander Keiller Museum. The museum collections are housed within the stables and barns of Avebury Manor, another amazing place to visit just up the road.
Avebury stone circles are a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Stonehenge and the associated prehistoric monuments in the Wiltshire area. Read about more UNESCO sites like Amsterdam’s canals, Bath, Mystras, Kew Gardens, Redwood National Park, Cordoba, Stonehenge, Maritime Greenwich, Alhambra de Granada, Guanajuato, Chichen Itza, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Toledo, Istanbul, Porto, Evora, Sintra, and Þingvellir National Park.
Obviously we love the World Heritage Sites! 😀