Need a guide?

For some people, Stonehenge is just about the large pile of rocks in a field that's a tick on their bucket list and a chance for a cool selfie.

For those who have the time to explore, there's so much more to it than that.

The surrounding landscape is packed with monuments with their own stories to tell - from Mesolithic postholes almost 10,000 years old, the Greater and Lesses Cursuses, Neolithic long barrows, henges and hengiforms (both visible and below the surface) to Bronze Age round barrow cemeteries and more modern features like medieval trackways and the Stonehenge Aerodrome and military railway.

When you walk this landscape you get the opportunity to view the monument from a distance and approach it gradually in the way that our ancestors would have done - no shuttle buses in the Neolithic!

Around the monument itself there are subtle features that generally go unnoticed. In the right light you can see the 3,700 year old graffitied axe heads and daggers that were carved into the face of some of the stones 800 years after they were erected. There are the tool marks that show how the stones were originally shaped and the evidence of the 20th century restorations.

Then there are the stories about the theories, beliefs, people and phenomena that swarm around Stonehenge - involving druids, pagans, dowsers, astronomers, archaeologists, crop circles, UFOs, will o' the wisps, festivals, ghosts, nervous rookie security guards, the gray alien, the odd smell of roses and the noise that the stones sometimes make in the dead of night.

You could spend the rest of your life discovering only a fraction of what there is to see at this magnificent testament to what humanity (or aliens, depending on your point of view) can achieve.

I've been interested in Stonehenge for over 20 years and had the good fortune to work as part of the team that looks after and interprets the monument for visitors from 2010 to 2016. As a result, what was an interest has turned into a passion.

My background is in physics and astronomy while archaeology has been a hobby for a decade.

These days I work as a freelance guide for tours of the landscape and the monument itself. If you'd like me to show you around, please get in touch via:

simon [AT] stonehengemonument . co . uk

... and we can work out a bespoke itinerary, starting out from the Visitor Centre.

Alternatively, I can recommend good tour companies that provide the whole package including transport from London, Bath or Salisbury as well as private access visits into the centre of the circle out of hours.