Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

In Pictures: Crowds gather for summer solstice sunrise at Stonehenge

Solstice-watchers were gifted with clear skies at Stonehenge, where they saw in the longest day of the year.

Thousands gathered at the ancient site in Wiltshire to see the sun rise over the horizon at 4.52am, which was met with cheers from the assembled crowds.

Crowds gather to watch the sun rise behind the Heel Stone. Credit: PA

English Heritage tweeted that it was the "perfect morning for the #SummerSolstice sunrise at Stonehenge".

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device.

Around 9,500 people gathered at the neolithic World Heritage Site to attend the overnight celebration of the longest day of the year, down from the 13,000 people who attended in 2017.

The Summer Solstice also coincided with Selfie Day. Credit: PA

On the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone, the ancient entrance to the Stone Circle, and rays of sunlight are channelled into the centre of the monument.

It is believed that solstices have been celebrated at Stonehenge for thousands of years.

Around 9,500 people gathered to watch the sun rise at Stonehenge. Credit: PA

Stonehenge holds special significance for members of the Druid and Pagan community, who perform rituals and celebrations at the summer and winter solstices.

Around 3,500 less people attended the 2018 Summer Solstice than did in 2017. Credit: PA

The summer solstice is one of the rare occasions that English Heritage opens up the stones for public access.

Alcohol was not permitted at the stones. Credit: PA

Jennifer Davies, English Heritage's head of historic properties for Stonehenge, had asked for those attending to "respect the stones".

Visitors were urged to only take small bags and alcohol was not permitted.

English Heritage also asked that people either shared lifts or took public transport to reduce traffic and emissions.

People celebrate after sunrise. Credit: PA

Wiltshire Police officers were also on hand at the event and armed officers were attending as "a precaution only".

Superintendent Dave Minty described the overnight operation as a "great success", adding that the force was "really pleased with how Solstice 2018 has gone".

He continued: "The majority of those who came to celebrate the longest day of the year did so in a safe and peaceful manner.

"There was a really great atmosphere and we are really pleased to say there were no arrests at Stonehenge."

It is believed that the Summer Solstice has been observed at Stonehenge for thousands of years. Credit: PA

The London Eye also opened extra early, allowing ticket holders views of the sun rising over the capital.

Wiltshire Police described the overnight operation as a 'success'. Credit: PA

While Thursday is the longest day of the year, there will be vastly different amounts of daylight depending on where you are in the UK due to the position of the Earth.

Edinburgh will bask 17 hours, 36 minutes and 21 seconds of daylight, while London will have 16 hours, 38 minutes and 19 seconds, almost an hour less.

Stonehenge holds special significance for members of the Druid and Pagan community, who perform rituals and celebrations at the summer and winter solstices. Credit: PA
Crowds made the most of the photo opportunity. Credit: PA
The sun rose at 4.52am. Credit: PA
The sun rises over London. Credit: PA
The London Eye also opened extra early, allowing ticket holders views of the sun rising over the capital. Credit: PA
Clear skies gave excellent views. Credit: PA