The summer solstice 2019 at Avebury
The summer solstice is always very busy at Avebury – this year is likely to be no exception. If you are coming to mark midsummer, do plan in advance. You will find everything you need to know in this article.
Planning your visit during the solstice
Solstice this year will be sunrise on Friday 21 June.
Avebury Manor will be closed on Thursday 20 June and Friday 21 June. The museum, café and shop will be open as usual.
Please consider coming for a shorter time so you that don’t need to stay overnight and use public transport if at all possible.
Please note that over the summer solstice the car park gets full very early.
The main car park is situated on the A4361 just south of the stone circles, and is a pay and display car park. National Trust and English Heritage members can park for free.
All proceeds from car park charges go towards the care of Avebury and surrounding landscape.
Height limit – there is no access to the car park for any vehicle over 2.1 metres high due to a height barrier.
This will include camper vans, coaches and some 4x4s and people carriers. Because of a planning enforcement, there is no parking for any vehicles converted for sleeping, regardless of their height.
Coach parking and drop off
There is no coach parking in Avebury for the solstice.
Any coaches bringing visitors to the solstice will be directed to drop passengers off at the bus stop but will not be allowed to park in the World Heritage Site.
Parking needs to be arranged in advance elsewhere and pick up times planned for your passengers.
There are a few spaces for coaches available at a nearby farm. Pre-booking is essential, please contact Laura on 07980 881414 for details. (Please note: this is not a National Trust facility).
Camping for solstice
Please be aware that the only campsite in Avebury has very limited space with room for just under 100 tents. It opens at 9am on Thursday 20 June. The campsite closes and must be cleared by 2pm on Saturday 22 June.
There is no charge for camping, but campers who also bring cars will need to buy a valid parking ticket for every day that they stay.
Dogs are not permitted on the campsite during summer solstice, except assistance dogs.
There are no other alternatives for camping within the World Heritage Site.
We would recommend you consider using the other official campsites nearby, or just make a short trip for the main celebrations on the early hours of 21 June to save having to camp overnight.
Camper Vans and Mobile Homes
Due to local authority regulations, vehicles built or adapted for sleeping and all other vehicles over 2.1 metres are prevented from entering the car parks during solstice. This includes campervans, mobile homes, vans and coaches.
No camping is allowed in vehicles in the car park during solstice.
If vehicles are parked illegally elsewhere they are likely to be given fines and moved on.
Fires, fire staffs, fire poi, etc.
Please note: We do not allow fires, fire pois, fire staffs and other displays involving naked flames at Avebury.
Please do not bring such items with you.
The Kings Drums are the only display approved for the use of fire and carry public liability insurance and have met the safety requirements of the National Trust licence to perform during solstice. Please enjoy watching their display but don’t join in.
The only fire allowed is in the campsite and must be in small self-contained camping stoves or barbecues supported at least six inches off the ground.
Due to the growing numbers of vehicles gathering on the Ridgeway there will be patrols by the Police and Wiltshire Council before, during and after Solstice.
Regular patrols of the Ridgeway will ensure safety, keep access along the byway open and prosecute and remove those found to be breaking the law.
The changes have been supported by all those on the Avebury Solstice Planning Group. The Ridgeway has no water or sanitation and there have been concerns for the safety of people there in previous years.
If you’re visiting Avebury at any time of the year we encourage you to enjoy a car-free day out.
During the summer solstice, when the ancient stones are the focus for celebrations, it is especially important as it will help to ease the expected congestion.
Avebury is a short journey away from Swindon station by bus, and is also on the National Cycle Network.
Route 49 (http://www.swindonbus.info/tts/049.htm) runs hourly from Swindon and Trowbridge from early morning until early evening.
A bookable service is provided by Connect2Wiltshire to Calne and Marlborough via Avebury. Advance bookings only: 08456 52 52 55
To plan your journey or download up to date timetables visit www.traveline.info or call traveline on 0871 200 22 33. (Lines are open 364 days a year from 7am – 10pm. Calls from a landline cost 10p per minute).
Accessibility and Blue Badge Holders
The stone circles are around 300m from the main car park. It is a further 150m to the Old Farmyard, where the Alexander Keiller Museum, shop, café and other facilities are based.
Blue Badge holders in cars can park for free in the main car park and the high street car park (the high street car park is closer to the stone circles). It is advisable to arrive early to ensure a disabled parking space as these fill up very quickly. (Please note: the restrictions on vehicles above adapted for sleeping also apply to Blue Badge holders).