sunrise at Stonehenge

Every year, people across the UK gather together to celebrate the Summer Solstice. The Solstice is the longest day of the year, which takes place in June, and has been marked by rituals and celebrations since prehistory. 

In 2019, the midsummer Solstice will take place on Friday 21 June. Many celebrations will begin on the Thursday evening, with attendees staying up through the night to watch the earliest sunrise of the year on Friday morning. But, if you prefer to get a full night's sleep, there are still plenty of opportunities to appreciate the longest day of the year! Here are our top picks for enjoying the longest day of the year in Wiltshire...

Summer Solstice at Stonehenge
Stonehenge is arguably the most iconic location for celebrating the Summer Solstice in the world. It is believed that people have gathered here to celebrate the changing of the seasons for thousands of years, with the construction of the henge highlighting the precise moments of both the Summer and Winter Solstices. Visitors can spend the night at this remarkable ancient site on Thursday 20 June and see the sun rise amongst the stones just before 5am on the Friday morning. Expect large crowds and a peaceful, celebratory atmosphere. Remember, Stonehenge is a world heritage site and is considered by many people to be deeply sacred - so English Heritage ask all visitors to the Solstice to be respectful! 

Summer Solstice at Avebury Henge
The Avebury henge is the largest stone circle in Britain, and is nearly 4,500 years old. Time  seems to stand still amongst the standing stones, making this a unique and atmospheric place to enjoy the Solstice sunrise. Normally much quieter than Stonehenge, Avebury receives large numbers of visitors for the solstice each year. 

standing stones at Avebury Henge at sunrise

Catch the Sunrise
Fancy getting up early to see the sunrise on the longest day of the year? We think this is a wonderful way to enjoy the timeless nature of Wiltshire's beautiful countryside. So if you would like to enjoy the moment away from the crowds at Stonehenge and Avebury, take a look at our favourite sunrise spots in Wiltshire for some inspiration. 

Spend a Day Outside in the Sunshine
As Friday 21 June is the longest day of the year (with a gorgeous 16 and a half hours of sunlight to enjoy!) why not simply spend the day outside exploring the great outdoors? Pack a picnic, take a long walk amongst the rolling Wiltshire hills, or even go horseriding! Need more inspiration? Have a look at our recommendations for how to spend a sunny day in Wiltshire.

horse riding in Wiltshire

Other Solstice Events in Wiltshire
And if you're still undecided, there are more events taking place across the county to mark the Summer Solstice 2019. The annual Stonehenge Summer Solstice Music Festival takes place from 18 to 22 June, with local folk, rock and alternative music. There will be yoga workshops, great food and communal fires to gather around during those short June nights! Meanwhile, the Summer Solstice Oak Fayre in Chippenham on Sunday 23 June will bring together a collection of stalls featuring everything from tarot readings to reiki to herbal remedies. Entry is free. 

What are your plans for celebrating midsummer and marking the longest day of the year? Let us know in the comments below!

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