A new visitor centre has opened at Stonehenge, which promises to make the experience of visiting one of Britain’s best loved monuments much more pleasant for visiting families.
The centre, pictured above, is situated one and a half miles away from the standing stones and includes a 360 degree virtual exhibit which will allow visitors to imagine what standing in the stone circle feels like on the solstices. It also includes a dedicated education space, a cafe, shop and toilets. See the timelapse video of the centre’s reconstruction here.
There will also be a permanent exhibition of 250 Neolithic and Bronze Age objects on display, including the reconstruction of the face of a Neolithic man whose skull was found near the site of Stonehenge.
A group of specially trained volunteers will start building a group of Neolithic houses in January and these will open at Easter 2014.
Dr Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said: “At last, visitors to Stonehenge will be able to get a sense of the people who built this monument, of their lives, their deaths and their ceremonies.
“Instead of just a stopover or a quick photo opportunity, we want our visitors to step back in time and into the shoes of those who created and used this extraordinary place, to marvel at original everyday objects they used, to walk the surrounding landscape as they did, and to sit in the dwellings that they would have built. It makes the real encounter with the stones themselves so much more exciting.”
Visitors will be transported to the site of the stones on a ten-minute shuttle ride from the centre. The existing modern facilities and car park close to the stones will now be demolished and returned to a natural state before next summer.
Visits to Stonehenge from 1 February will be managed through timed tickets and advance booking is strongly recommended.