The Summer Solstice

The Summer Solstice marks Mid-Summer and the longest day of the year. It falls between June 20 and June 22 each year in the Northern Hemisphere. The term solstice is made up of the Latin ‘sol’ meaning ‘the sun’, and ‘sistere’ which means ‘to make stand still’, called this because at both the summer and winter solstices the sun appears to stand still in the sky.

Much mystery surrounds Stonehenge. We don’t know exactly why it was constructed. However, it is evident that the stones align perfectly with the summer and winter solstices. Therefore, experts believe that is almost certain that the stones were strategically placed to capture the solstices twice a year. The other reasons the stone circle was built, however, remain open to speculation.

In the eighteenth century, the pioneer of British archaeology William Stukeley put forward the idea that Druids built Stonehenge. Druids left no records of their beliefs or practises, so this remains entirely speculation. Nevertheless, Stonehenge is one of the most celebrated remnants by the Druids. They believe it to be a sacred site and many believe that it would it would have been used by their ancient namesakes to conduct ceremonies.

Today, thousands of people flock to Stonehenge every year to celebrate the Summer Solstice. On a sunny day, onlookers will be lucky enough to see the sun rise up over the Heel stone. The site grants free access to the public on the days of the solstices and there is a shuttle bus which runs from Salisbury city centre to the site, normally for a fixed return price. There is limited parking at the site so public transport is suggested to be the best option.

A high-spirited affair, filled with druids, partying friends, families and tourists, the Summer Solstice is a well loved and special marking of the beginning of summer.

For further information on accessing the site and arrangements on the day please see the English Heritage website at

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