22 June 2024

Thousands flock to Stonehenge for the Winter Solstice

Thousands of people gathered at Stonehenge this morning (22nd December 2021) to celebrate the Winter Solstice.

Approximately 2,500 people attended the celebrations at the ancient site with over 55,000 people from around the world tuning in the sunrise live online.

The Winter Solstice typically falls on or around the 21st of December each year and marks the time when the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere is tilted as far away from the sun as possible.

On this day, the Northern Hemisphere sees the shortest day of sunlight, and longest night of the year, as the Sun is at its lowest daily maximum elevation in the sky.

Traditionally, the solstices are celebrated by the Druid community, but today people from far and wide travel to see the iconic sunrise over the ancient stones.

Stunning sunrise at Stonehenge from where English Heritage live-streamed the winter solstice sunrise to 55,000 people around the world and welcomed around 2,500 people to the ancient stones to mark the occasion. Credit: English Heritage

Speaking to Love Salisbury English Heritage’s Jennifer Davies said, “It was lovely to reach the milestone of Winter Solstice, with the hope it brings of knowing the days are now getting longer, a feeling of optimism shared at this time of year for millennia.

“It was a chilly morning but we were treated to an absolutely stunning sunrise. We’d like to thank all our partners for helping to organise a safe solstice, and everyone who attended for taking the Covid-safety guidance and precautions seriously.

“We are looking forward to welcoming visitors over the festive season and in the New Year. We are open on Christmas Eve, will be closed on Christmas Day and open again on Boxing Day. The Winter Solstice sunrise is available to watch again on the English Heritage YouTube channel.”

To watch this morning’s sunrise online, click here.

Stonehenge will be open every day through the Christmas holidays except Christmas Day. For more information, click here.

Written by
Beth Doherty
View all articles
Written by Beth Doherty