It’s true. Walk right past all those ticket-buying tourists and see Stonehenge for free. Then, camp right there! Here’s how.
About a year ago, the BBC reported that a free footpath to Stonehenge was open to the public. Technically, the whole area has been public land since 1918 and should have always been freely open to the public. However, the English Heritage, who charges $25 per person and $5 parking at their visitor’s center has been dragging their feet in making it accessible. For example, their previous three-year delay was an effort to ‘let the grass grow’.
There’s now a small group of full-timers living on the access road to ensure it stays freely open to the public. There’s even a large sign at the entrance that says “Sorry for the Stonehenge rip-off. It’s free!” right where the tourists get on and off the bus. We just had to smile, because… we came for free!
There’s an annotated overhead map in the photos above that should be pretty self-explanatory. You can enter the access road (Eastbound only) from the A303, or from the north in the town of Larkhill. The road is dirt and in terrible shape. Still, regular cars seem to make it fine. The access road has a wide grassy shoulder and there is plenty of room for parking and camping. When we arrived, there were only the few permanent campers scattered at the northern end of the access road. Later in the afternoon, several campervans showed up and stayed on the southern section of the access road. It was a quiet night.
All the tour buses stop around 6:30 pm, and afterwards you pretty much have the place to yourself. There are multiple free access gates along the road – the closest one to Stonehenge is about 10 feet north of where the tour buses let off! The public access footpaths are outside of the roped-in area for the paying tourists, but you are literally just on the other side of the rope from them. Granted, their path does get slightly closer to the rocks, you will still get a very good view. If you really want to get closer, you can always go to the Visitor’s Center and pull out your credit card.
It can get cold and windy here at night, so come prepared. Make a nice hot tea and watch the fields around Stonehenge come alive with wild hares chasing each other around all evening. Good times! Enjoy!