On our way to Stonehenge, we stopped off to see a few monuments that are a part of the Avebury World Heritage Site. Everyone knows about Stonehenge, but Avebury is just as impressive and significantly less of a tourist hot spot. We were virtually alone at all of the Avebury sites and they were even free to visit. You can't beat that!
We started with the West Kennet Long Barrow, an early Neolithic burial mound. It was located at the top of a hill in a middle of grazing fields.
The burial area was a little creepy. We walked inside of it, a semi-dark cave with light filtering through the crevices in the rocks. I had to work overtime to put aside my fear of spiders, as the place was thick with webs. There were several bouquets of dead flowers that people have left behind. I imagine that this place is a big hangout for teenagers at night.
Our second stop was Silbury Hill, a prehistoric artificial chalk mound. The purpose of this site is unknown, but many small artifacts have been recovered from the hill and the area has been mentioned in folklore.
Finally, we visited the Avebury Stone Circle, which was enormous. My pictures can't possibly show you the enormity, but it is the largest stone circle in Europe. I think for sheer scale, it was more impressive than Stonehenge.
For lunch, we ate at the The Red Lion pub, located within the boundaries of the Avebury Stone Circle. As noted on their menu, they are the only inn in the entire world that is located within a stone circle. Great Jeopardy factoid.
Next stop, Stonehenge!