WINTER Solstice celebrations will be marked at Stonehenge next week. 

English Heritage is inviting people to watch from home as the Winter Solstice sunrise is going to be livestreamed from Stonehenge on the morning of Wednesday (December 22). 

It will be livestreamed for free on YouTube and English Heritage's social media channels at 7.25am.  

Those wanting to mark the solstice at the site in person, which will be subject to any changes in government gudiance, legislation or public health advice, will need to take a lateral flow test before setting off and only travel if it is negative and they feel well. 

The charity will be encouraging the wearing of facemasks, providing regular hand sanitiser stations and making sure wherever possible that there is plenty of space to socially distance.

English Heritage’s head of historic properties for Stonehenge, Jennifer Davies said: “We will be livestreaming this year’s winter solstice sunrise so that everyone, no matter where you are in the world, can experience this special moment at Stonehenge from the comfort of home.

"We appreciate however that solstice is a very special time for some and so we will be opening the site on the morning of the 22nd December for those who wish to mark it in person.

"This is subject of course to any updated government or public health guidance and we are asking anyone who is planning to attend to take a lateral flow test before travelling and please only come if it is negative and you are feeling well.”

Lateral flow tests

Kate Blackburn, the Wiltshire director of public health, said: “We know how special the winter solstice is for some people, and we want all attendees to enjoy the event safely. Although it’s predominantly an outdoor event, it’s really important people take a few simple steps to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

"Attendees should take an at-home lateral flow test before they go, and not travel if they have a positive result. The event will be live streamed on English Heritage’s social media channels, so anyone who can’t attend the event can watch it there.”

The Winter Solstice happens each year when the northern hemisphere is tilted farthest away from the sun.

This gives the fewest hours of sunlight, and therefore the shortest day of the year.

Many people believe the Winter Solstice always falls on December 21, but because of a mismatch between the calendar and solar year, the December solstice is not fixed to a specific date.

This year, English Heritage says based on advice from the druid and pagan communities, the Solstice will be marked at Stonehenge on the morning of Wednesday December 22 December - the first sunrise following the astronomical solstice which occurs after sunset the previous day.

This is also when the days begin to get longer again. The sun will rise around 8.11am and the monument field will be open as soon as it is light enough for people to go in safely - usually around 7.45am.

Check the website

English Heritage is recommending that anyone planning to come to the checks the website for information including conditions of entry – particularly around Covid safety, public transport and parking, and keeps an eye on social media for updates.

How to watch online 

How to find out more

Visit the English Heritage website for more. 


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