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Does Stonehenge really deserve it's popularity?

Does Stonehenge really deserve it's popularity?

Nov 15th, 2010, 10:41 AM
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"Is Stonehenge worth considering?"

Well it is around 4000 older than any architecture you will find in the US.

I believe that Disney may be doing a mock-up in South Florida, the weather will defintely not be miserable and I am sure there will be a good show to support their stones. Could be worth considering?

If you want a truely spine rattling experience try Castlerigg in Keswick. No facilities (thank god) but just a truely unnatural feeling. (and no major A road on its doorstep). Do, however, be prepared for miserable weather.
yanumpty is offline  
Nov 15th, 2010, 01:58 PM
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Interesting responses. I did actually mean this as a serious question and I'm not for a minute suggesting that they should turn it into a theme-park type attraction to make it more interesting. I would argue however that a place of such great historical/cultural interest (and high profile in the minds of foreign visitors) deserves a high quality museum/visitors centre on site to explain and educate. Without this, I would imagine many people (though perhaps not those here on Fodors) come away feeling a bit bewildered.

Janis makes a valid point that my perception of Stonehenge as a "local" may be quite different from those who have travelled from other countries. I went to a 600-year old university and live in a small English market town with many medieval buildings and churches. The history of these ancient islands is all around and seems somehow familiar and normal. Others may see Stonehenge as the magical, mystical place that tour companies promote to misty-eyed foreign tourists. I see it as an important national landmark that may once have been a bronze-age temple or astronomical observatory, but is now a world heritage site that's in desperate need of improved interpretive/educational facilities and access.
Gordon_R is offline  
Nov 15th, 2010, 02:23 PM
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When I was there ISTR a pretty good selection in the bookshop.
Nonconformist is offline  
Nov 15th, 2010, 03:49 PM
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It's not as much fun when you can't go in among the stones (as I did in '70 and '73, but couldn't in '99)

In 2000 I visited Avebury (and the nearby West Kennet Long Barrow) and enjoyed it as much or more than Stonehenge
bigtyke is offline  
Nov 15th, 2010, 04:49 PM
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I guess Great Britain has lost control of the language too.
StCirq is offline  
Nov 15th, 2010, 06:18 PM
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I was a total skeptic about Stonehenge, and we are not usually ones to follow the masses to over-marketed tourist attractions, but we did visit Stonehenge, on a cloudy day in late June, and, in a nutshell, I was awed. The visitor center may not be much to look at, but I didn't mind it being low-key, and the audio guide was actually surprisingly good.

I have nothing but amazing memories of our visit. I didn't even mind that we had to view it from afar...for me it meant that my experience was not sullied by a bunch of people clambering over and around the stones. I have photos of the stones against a dramatic cloudy sky with hardly any people visible (http://www.flickr.com/photos/hausfra...57601988205360). I learned more from the audio guide than I expected, and left with a greater appreciation of the history of the site.

We also visited and enjoyed Castlerigg later in our trip (http://www.flickr.com/photos/hausfra...57602068473651). It was of course smaller and there was very little interpretive information there, but it was a similarly magical experience.
hausfrau is offline  
Nov 16th, 2010, 03:15 AM
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StCirq - (sighs and counts to ten)... so sorry if my bad typing offends your sensibilities as the self-appointed grammar policeman round here. You must have too much time on your hands.
Gordon_R is offline  
Nov 16th, 2010, 09:23 AM
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I guess if a visitor is the type of person who has to be entertained or hasn't much of a sense of or feel for history, then Stonehenge would be more likely to be a disappointment.
PaulHahn is offline  
Nov 16th, 2010, 09:46 AM
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I went once and enjoyed it. I'm a bit of a history buff, so sites like this have an intrinsic appeal. Yes, they could use a presentation centre, to give a better overall history of the place, aerial overviews,etc.. One visit is probably enough. I actually joined the Heritage Society there so that I could get better access.

Coincidentally, there is a NOVA show on PBS tonight on Stonehenge. Looks quite good.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Nov 16th, 2010, 12:43 PM
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Reminds me of Loch Ness, done because everyone does it. Despite the fact it's one of Scotland's dreariest lochs.
Stilldontknow is offline  
Nov 16th, 2010, 01:41 PM
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>If you want a truely spine rattling experience try Castlerigg in Keswick. No facilities (thank god) but just a truely unnatural feeling. (and no major A road on its doorstep)<

I agree 100% with yanumpty. This is an astonishing sight and it is very difficult to describe the atmosphere. I couldn't figure out why I felt so uneasy when there, but now I know it wasn't just me.

billbarr is offline  
Nov 16th, 2010, 04:15 PM
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Am watching the Nova program on PBS right now. I don't know how much of the show is hype, but I love all this stuff.
cynthia_booker is offline  
Nov 17th, 2010, 06:46 AM
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I have absolutely no interest in :

a. Religion
b. Spooks

but Castlerigg feels strange. My mother in law lives in Keswick (Braithwaite) I know the hills and landscape like the back. The strange thing is that of you drive or walk the area extensively you have simple vistas that become very set.

For some reason the small area that Castlerigg occupies offers a totally different perspective of the area. The hills just don't look the same, you can't see Grizedale Pike as a pyramid (as you do everywhere else) you can't see the humps of cat bells. The air from Borrowdale, St Johns in the Vale and Bassenthwaite meet at Castlerigg to the extent that even on a dead calm day it can be windy at the circle.

Put simply, from someone who knows the area very well, Castlerigg just doesn;t seem to fall into the context of its' landscape.

My sister in law is an expert and says that Callanish has a similar feel.

Ley lines ? who knows?
yanumpty is offline  
Nov 17th, 2010, 03:10 PM
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thanks yanumpty

The strange this is that only a few weeks ago some friends who will be travelling over from Boston to visit me in Glasgow asked for a recommendation of somewhere they could ‘feel atmosphere’. I told them about a trip to Castlerigg that I made more than 30 years ago that had such an effect on me I’ve never forgotten. So, they’ve decided to visit and I was more than pleased because I feel that perhaps early December will we a special time there.

Then, reading this thread I saw your comment about a place that although I hadn't even thought about it for so many years, I’d just recommended a visit! It was strange.

I've been to Callanish but didn't get the same disturbing although I found the Cairns of Camster to be not only eerie but depressingly atmospheric.

I’ve printed off your comments and will pass them to my friends. You just can’t beat that depth of local knowledge. Very many thanks.

billbarr is offline  
Nov 17th, 2010, 03:38 PM
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ooh -- Camster cairns gave me the willies

Took me ages to warm up after getting back in the car -- and not just the weather (which it was cold and windy) but the whole feeling of the place. Just weird feeling . . .

Whereas - I thunk the Hill o many stanes is just plain cute

All those itty bitty stones -- not quite sure what I expected, but it sure wasn't that.
janisj is online now  
Nov 17th, 2010, 03:43 PM
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It's the historic aspect that draws people. Hadrians wall, Carnec, Stonehedge, these I've seen unimpressed but like the historical wonders how they came to being.
Also like in art, the Mona Lisa never thrilled me.
cigalechanta is online now  
Nov 17th, 2010, 06:27 PM
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I remember seeing Stonehenge for the first time. I was 12 years old,(35 years ago) and was in the back seat of the car. We were not in England as tourists, but were visiting my mother's family. None of us knew that we were going to pass it.

It was dusk and I looked out of the window and it seemed to appear magically on the horizon. There were no crowds, no fences, just a parking lot on the other side of the road. It seemed like it wasn't open. We parked and walked around the rocks with almost no one else there.

When I returned with my daughters about 20+ years later, it was very different. However, they still seemed to be in awe. It is just amazing to see. Maybe if they found out for sure how they got there and why it would not be so appealing. To me, it is the historic aspect and the mystery that makes it so interesting.
tledford is offline  
Nov 18th, 2010, 10:47 PM
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Here's a link to some info about the proposed new visitor centre at Stonehenge
Morgana is online now  
Nov 19th, 2010, 11:28 AM
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After 15 years of annually visiting London and surrounding areas, I finally made my first trip to Stonehenge this month. I guess I am glad I can finally say 'Yes' to the people who asked me if I've been, but it was not an amazing experience for me. I think it would indeed have been better if I could have walked among the stones, but to walk around a designated path was just okay and left me feeling I had missed out on something. The story of the stones is amazing and I suppose I wanted my experience to be equally amazing.
JJ127 is offline  

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