Thousands of people celebrate the summer solstice every year. From outside the UK people will be able to find late holiday deals that they can and book transport from there. The best way to travel to Avebury, if you are not hiring a car for the journey, is to get a coach, as there is no train station in Avebury itself.
However, you can get the train to Swindon and take a local bus from there. Avebury is half an hour from Swindon by bus. Solstice happens 21st June every year. It has done as long as the Earth has existed.
The Ancient Greeks realised that the Earth was spherical and recognised the solstices, as did the Romans, and of course the British who built the stone circle at Stonehenge, and the largest stone circle in the world at Avebury, alongside two smaller circles.
Midsummer’s Day in Britain, three days after the Summer Solstice itself, is a celebration of the solstice. It has happened for centuries if not millennia. Similarly, 25th December in the winter celebrates the Winter Solstice, which arguably was turned into Christmas Day by early Christians in order to stamp out the Pagan religion of native Britons.
Jesus’s birthday, according to some historical research, is thought to have actually been sometime during spring. Around Midsummer, Christians celebrate the feast of St. John. So in the same way Christmas might have placed the Winter solstice date to rid the UK of pagan ritual and religion, the feast of St John would have served the same purpose.
The solstice happens when any given hemisphere is at its most tilted toward the sun. This is so for everywhere except the North and South Poles, which experience 24-hour sunlight for months and months. The Summer Solstice happens in the Northern hemisphere in June and in the Southern hemisphere in December and the Winter Solstice happens in the Southern hemisphere in June and in the Northern hemisphere in December. Which is why Australians often celebrate Christmas on the beach with barbecues and fish dishes while the British get cold and sometimes build snowmen on Christmas Day.
It is agreed by many that Avebury is a fantastic alternative to Stonehenge for celebrating the Summer Solstice. Stonehenge has a long history of Neopagan celebrations at solstice time. There even used to be a Stonehenge Festival in the seventies but police ended the festival one year in what culminated in multiple arrests. Avebury is a quieter alternative.
A campsite is set up near to the car park at Avebury every year with just under 100 spaces, which are allocated on a first come first served basis. So make sure you plan your solstice stay well in advance. To do this you will want to visit the National Trust website.
The National Trust is affiliated with the Avebury Solstice Planning Trust. They recommend visitors use public transport wherever possible, as aside from the environmental issues, parking space is limited so it’s better for everyone if you get the bus here.