THOUSANDS of people came out to celebrate the winter solstice at Stonehenge this morning.

The winter solstice occurs each year when the North Pole is tilted farthest away from the sun, resulting in the fewest hours of sunlight, and the shortest day of the year.

Kate Davies, of English Heritage, said: "It was fantastic to welcome approximately 5000 people to Stonehenge this morning to celebrate winter solstice.

"It was an enjoyable and peaceful celebration despite the damp and cloudy weather and it was great to see so many families enjoying themselves around the monument.

She added: "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.”