Tag Archives: Stonehenge

STONEHENGE! Mom Camp Day 16 part two

I know, it’s a bit unfair to split one mom camp day into two. But, Stonehenge deserves its own post.
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Before getting to the main event, we had a little time to kill and decided to go to the Woodhenge site. Yes, it is lesser known. Yes, it was made of wood– so it has disintegrated. But, archeologists have placed markers where the wood beams would have stood. Stonehenge is not really its own independent site. It is the most striking element of a larger complex that spans thousands of years in its development and use.

I wanted to share that the larger significance of the place with the kids. To some degree Cinco got it! We watched a National Geographic show about the complex and how the subsites might fit together. He really took it in. The theory is that Woodhenge and Stonehenge were part of a day long elaborate ritual of life and death.

2014 06 09_England 2014_0437Today, Woodhenge is just sitting there in wide open field.  The sheep keep the site company and you must use your imagination to envision life the ancient word.

After getting a little taste of things at Woodhenge it was off to the big time! The last time I was at Stonehenge was in the mid-90’s and at that time, you couldn’t get too close to the stones. Tourists sort of viewed them from afar. While I was researching this trip, I discovered that English Heritage will still allow SMALL groups of people to enter the stones before and after normal visiting hours. It is not prohibitively expensive, but it can be tough to get the tickets. I made our reservations in September 2013. It was completely worth it!

What I did not realize is that the Stonehenge site has JUST been revamped to make it more tourist friendly and you can get near the stones again. Although, you must keep to a path and cannot go into the center of the stones–like we did!

2014 06 09_England 2014_0456We arrived early enough to take a look at the some of the outside exhibits that English Heritage added to the site. The kids and I attempted to push a replica of one of the colossal stones.

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Inside the roundhouse

hutWe also toured the roundhouses. At this point our weather luck started to run out…a evening rain began falling on our heads. I tried to get the kids thinking about what it would have been like to live inside one of the houses. The rain added to the idea of roughing it!

Lucky for us, it only rained for a little while once we actually got to the stones!  I took a picture of Cinco at the stones and I have never actually seen him smile so wide!  It was the most amazing, happy mom feeling in the world.  I got the chance to live my own excitement and look at the world through my son’s eyes!  It was the BEST moment of the trip.

2014 06 09_England 2014_0484We got up close and personal with the stones. We spent time learning how the stones fit together before we left so seeing in person was very exciting for Cinco.

2014 06 09_England 2014_0489We also got so close to the stones we could see the graffiti that other tourists left behind!

The kids got hold of the camera and went wild snapping pics and telling us where to stand.

We only had one hour inside the stones, but the kids LOVED it and we had a very nice time! It was something special that we will always remember!

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Stonehenge and Winchester: Mom Camp Day 16

It was time to say good-bye to our tournament tent. I think we were all sad to leave such a lovely place. But, more adventure called.

The next stop was a day trip to Winchester. In case you don’t know, Winchester was the Saxon capitol of England.

The King Alfred Statue

The King Alfred Statue

It was where the West Saxon kings ruled including, King Alfred the Great. (Shameless plug for my King Alfred book.) So you know we had to stop here!

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Walking Tour Anyone?

I found a great walking tour of the city and we started at the famous King Alfred statue.

After the statue, we followed the river walk. Again perfect weather allowed us to enjoy every minute. The walk took us past the town’s old Roman Walls to Wolvesey Castle.

The Castle was occupied by King Stephen’s brother during The Anarchy and the city and castle played a role in the battles between King John and the rebelling barons. All this means William Marshal would certainly have been familiar with the place. (Shameless plug for my William Marshal book.)

2014 06 09_England 2014_0384_edited-1Wolvesey Castle is now a ruin, but Cinco and I had a great time exploring it.  We practically had the place to ourselves and Cinco took a number of photos on his own!

Finishing up at the castle we followed the walk to Winchester Cathedral.  We opted not to go inside to save time and because we also planned to visit Salisbury Cathedral.

It was time for lunch at the Wykcam Arm.  It is an old pub in the town.  But, the kids couldn’t eat inside so we had our meal in the garden out back.  The best thing I saw there was the toilet.  It seems they have an antique toilet and it was made by Thomas Crapper!  (No, I am not kidding you. The inside of the bowl had the name printed on it and everything!)  The walls of the WC were also decorated with copies of old ads for the toilet.  Now I know where the saying crap comes from— a famous British toilet maker.  Really, how did I forget to bring my phone to the bathroom?

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Photo by Cinco

After lunch we stopped by the Winchester Museum.  Each floor of the three-story building covered a different time period from the Romans, to the Saxons all the way to the present day.

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Roman Mosaics– Photo by Cinco

The kids got another scavenger hunt and away they went!  Cinco had a great time.  He dressed up as a Roman Senator and took lots of photos.

We moved on to the Great Hall and West Gate.  The gate is from the middle ages and the Great Hall is all that remains of the royal palace in Winchester.  The rest of the palace was destroyed by Cromwell.

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The Round Table

Inside the Great Hall, we examined the rendition of King Arthur’s round table–that is about 700 years old!  When I first planned this trip Cinco was much younger and really loved the Knights of the Round Table.  Now, he liked seeing it.  But it was NOT a major highlight.

2014 06 09_England 2014_0421The windows also had lovely stained glass shields of the English Royal houses.

Outside the Great Hall is the Queen’s Garden.  It is a recreation of a 14th century, formal garden.  It was much smaller than I expected.  I was a little disappointed.

After our day in Winchester, we got in the car and headed off to Salisbury.  We arrived too late to check out the cathedral (but don’t worry, we saw it the next day).  A rest and dinner followed and then it was time for STONEHENGE!

And, yes…. I am making this mom camp day into two posts!


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Mom Camp Day 3: Getting Ready for Stonehenge


We have a special visit planned to Stonehenge on our trip as well. You can still walk inside the stone circle you if plan far enough in advance. But, before touring the stones, I really wanted the kids to understand what the henge was all about.

We started by gathering a ton of books from our library and several DVDs on Stonehenge. The kids learned how it might have been built and examined the map of the stones as they remain today. We also discussed the many reasons why it might have been built.

Next, we started brainstorming about building our own Stonehenge. What could we use to make a model of it?

  1. Legos



  3. Marshmellows
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  5. Rice Crispy Treats
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  7. Wine Corks
  8. Water Bottles
  9. Toliet Paper Rolls

So we set about putting our ideas in action. May favorite was “Wine Henge” as we started calling it. I am astounded at the time Cinco took to study the current placement of the stones and to really plot out the henge as t looks today. If you want to make your own “Wine Henge” here’s how to get started:

You will need:

  • Lots of Wine Corks (Try to get the ones still made of cork not plastic)
  • Large piece of Card Board
  • Gray Spray Paint
  • Green Paint
  • A Knife
  • A Glue Gun

Step 1: Cut the wine corks into long rectangles, This means you will need to shave off two sides of the cork. It is best to have an adult do this! Real cork is easier to cut than the newer plastic corks. Don’t throw out the extra bits. You can use these for some of the fallen stones or the “blue stones”.

Step 2: Spray paint the corks. You will need to spray paint one side, let it dry and then flip the corks and paint the other side.

Step 3: Paint your large piece of card board green and let dry.

Step 3: Get a good picture of Stonehenge and start studying. This is a good time to talk with kids about how the henge was made and why. When the corks and board are dry, use the picture to lay out the stones. I highly recommend laying out the stones before you glue. You will want to make sure your stone spacing is correct so you do not end up with gaps that look funny.

Step 4: Using the hot glue gun, glue the stones in place. I recommend an adult do this part unless the student is older can be trusted with the hot glue.

Getting a little more creative we also used the left overs to design our own original henge. After all, there are tons of henges in Britain and not all look exactly like Stonehenge.

If you are looking for other Stonehenge resources, we had fun with the following worksheets fro English Heritage:

Stonehenge Activity Sheet

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