A NEW book from Lonely Planet ranking the top 500 unmissable experiences in the UK has placed Stonehenge at number eight.

Lonely Planet's Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist ranks the hidden gems and top travel destinations across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.

While Edinburgh Festival Fringe is at number one and the British Museum in second, the world-famous Stonehenge, near Amesbury, is placed eighth.

In their description and explanation of the iconic landmark, Lonely Planet say: "Just what were ancient Britons playing at when they hauled these giant stones into place all those millennia ago? 

Stonehenge, on Salisbury Plain near Amesbury, is a monumental, undeniably mind-boggling achievement.

"Built in stages between around 4500 BC and 1500 BC, Stonehenge’s massive stones (some weighing 25 tonnes) were probably erected using a system of sledges, rollers, pivots and pulleys; some were transported here from the Preseli Hills in Wales, 140 miles away.

"But despite decades of academic study, no one really has the foggiest why Stonehenge is there.

"Oriented around the solstices, it forms part of a larger sacred site, including barrows, burial mounds, earthworks and a ceremonial pathway, the Avenue.

"But what did this site mean to its builders? Is it a temple? A sacrificial centre? A place of healing? A memorial to the ancestors? An astronomical timepiece?

"The truth is, nobody knows. And standing in the shadow of the stones, feeling their power and presence, it’s impossible not to let your imagination run wild."

Salisbury Cathedral also made it into the top 500 as well.