Y’know, you can’t beat a good ruin! And Stonehenge, in wonderful Wiltshire, well, that is some ruin. Possibly the world’s most famous prehistoric monument, constructed between 3000 BC to 2000 BC, possibly originally as a burial ground. Many of the rocks were brought from as far away as Wales. They are massive, those rocks, and in 2,500 BC, transporting such huge rocks relied largely on manpower. And nobody really knows why they are there. Why did ancient peoples want to construct a stone circle on Wiltshire’s Salisbury Plain? There’s lots of theories, but nobody knows for sure. But that only enhances the mystery. It’s fairly awesome in the best possible way.
And this past Thursday, en route to Salisbury, I had my first ever chance to visit this iconic place. Gotta keep up with my Taiwan friends, who, if they’ve been on a tour of the UK, will definitely have included a tour to Stonehenge. Everyone who’s been to the UK has been to Stonehenge, except me, so thought I’d better go! And truthfully, everyone needs to go once in their lifetime ~ and on a sunny day with blue sky, if possible. Prepare for a biting cold wind and mud. Stonehenge is located on the top of a hill after all, it’s very exposed. And it’s not cheap, but for a once in a lifetime visit, it’s worth it. Go. Do it. Marvel. Reflect. Enjoy. And be inspired!
And only 10 or so miles down the road is the cathedral city of Salisbury. Salisbury has been through a rough time recently, in the News for all sorts of the wrong reasons. But Salisbury is beautiful. The cathedral close, Harnham and the old city by the river are lovely. Also awesome in the best possible way. With great views of the cathedral from all over the city.
The main part of the cathedral was built between 1220 to 1258, and the spire was added later, and at 123m high, makes it the UK’s tallest cathedral…
So, the cathedral is stunning, and especially on a sunny day. I was invited by my lovely friend, Becky to come and stay, and she lives in Harnham, within walking distance of the cathedral. Last time I visited her was in March 2015 and I took the chance then, on my first visit to the cathedral, to do a tower tour (photos here) but this time I just wandered around and around the cathedral, inside and out. The stewards are really friendly, they encourage visitors to take photos and the cathedral was full of ladies doing the flower arranging in preparation for Sunday. It was also full of scaffolding and workmen preparing to take the organ away for restoration. Check out the Amnesty International Candle and the east window, plus the amazing font. And you can’t miss the pigeons!
And it was also still full of the Advent and Christmas illuminations on the theme of ‘From Darkness to Light’, which includes an amazing ‘Lightwave’ outside the cathedral by the west door, it plays music as the lights change colour in sequence. In the daylight, it looks like white baubles, but at night it comes alive. In case you’re wondering, all their Christmas decorations and the crib etc are up until Candlemas, February 3.
Wiltshire Wonders of the World, indeed. Do go if you get a chance ~ it’s my new favourite part of the country!