Everyone raves about Stonehenge, I think it's awful. In Avebury you can get up close and personal with the stones, you can picnic in amongst them, walk round the henge itself (and yes it's divided into quadrants by the roads, no big deal). There's a museum, and a restored Tudor mansion house to look around too if that's your thing. (its restoration was the subject of TV series, The Manor Reborn, with - naturally - Penelope Keith). There's a cafe and the Red Lion pub. There are quiet areas and busy areas in the Henge and the stones. I recommend that if you are able, walk round the whole thing. There's a church in the village, and lots of thatched houses.
Avebury is part of a neolithic sacred landscape incorporating the Sanctuary (Time Team were here), The Avenue, Windmill Hill, West Kennet Long Barrow, and Silbury Hill (you cannot climb this, it's a scheduled ancient monument).
It is also a place where many Pagans \nd other groups come to celebrate the turning of the year through its seasons, and at summer solstice attracts lots of people who aren't Pagan at all, and just want to be somewhere (as it was put to me) "cosmic and spiritual". The village gets pretty locked down at summer solstice, so best to check ahead as to access and parking (nil unless you're there the day before). On any given day there will be guided tours run by the NT volunteers and others, and you may come across someone having a handfasting!
Seriously, it's a great place to visit, and if you visit all the sites, some of which will be deserted, and just sit and be.
It may be of interest for visitors to note that Avebury is superseded in size and complexity by the neolithic complexes in Orkney! So much for ancient peoples not being in touch with one another. The peoples of Avebury and Orkney clearly *were* in touch with one another.
All of the sacred landscape is free to visit, the only cost would be parking, although there is a bus that runs from Swindon through Devizes down to Trowbridge and vice versa - this stops outside the Red Lion pub. There is also a bus that runs from Calne to Malborough, and this also stops outside the pub. There is also a cost to visit the museums and, separately, the manor house.
There are kestrels, hares and pheasant to be seen in certain quadrants of the henge, if you're quiet and fortunate.
For the person who queried the car park being shut - if you look carefully at the barrier across the car park entrance, it's easily lifted up and entry gained after hours. Just make sure you close it behind you.
Lots of fantastic photography opportunities - and well worth a visit.
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