The ancient sacred site of Stonehenge welcomed visitors this week for a peaceful celebration as drums and dancing (and some sleeping) took place throughout the night until sunrise.
As first-time Solstice attendees, we weren’t very sure of what to expect. An attempted Google search was carried out prior to going which resulted in images of people either half naked/wearing capes. Was naked dancing a requirement? Thankfully, it was not. (*Wipes sweat off forehead).
What should you expect?
Surprisingly, we only hit traffic on the last two miles of the journey as we queued to get into the carpark. The car park opened at 7 pm and costs £15 per car, so best to carpool if possible, if you plan on going next year. After parking up, the site is about 1km walk through the reasonably cut dry grass. There are portaloos in the car park and stewards everywhere if you have any questions.
Due to the recent attacks, security had been upped and you were only able to take a small bag through to the site. The entire event is alcohol-free as well so there was no sneaking anything in even though a lot of people tried and what look liked succeeded (judging from the drunk people dancing for the entire night).
Once you arrive at the site, security checks your bag and there was also a metal detector which scanned everyone as they passed. Queues were a little slow but the security was well organised.
Despite not allowing electronic music, the drums playing sounded like bass - very bazaar. It felt like a small festival and with the view of the stones, it was perfect.
Music and dancing carried on throughout the night. The event attracted a variety of different people, some with religious beliefs and others not but everyone seemed pretty friendly.
As the sun set on a scorchingly hot day, we thought obviously it won’t be that cold, we were wrong. The sun went in, 1 am hit and it was cold. The shorts and t-shirt were not cutting it anymore.
Next was the sleeping bag smuggling plan. For some reason, you can take blankets through but not sleeping bags as they don’t want people to sleep in the site. However, most people sleep there and we intended to also.
As a group of friends trying to get in the totally legal sleeping bag, we got creative. One looked like a jumper and a couple were hidden in bags, let the sneaking begin.
After freaking out for a solid 20 minutes that we would be refused entry, we went through swimmingly and set up our sleeping bags for the night by the rocks. It was a pretty incredible experience. We got a few hours sleep in before sunrise. Thousands flocked, chanted and danced whilst the sun began to rise up into the sky.
What should you bring?
We definitely should have brought more warm clothes. Apparently, 30 degree heat during the day doesn't guarantee a toasty warm night - noted.
Remember to bring the following:
We had a great time at this year’s solstice and will definitely be going back next year! You can find the full video here.