Happy Winter Solstice to All!

a bronze display model of Stonehenge in the new Visitor Centre

a bronze display model of Stonehenge in the new Visitor Centre

There is much to celebrate for Stonehenge lovers this week! Winter solstice is upon us, arguably the date for which Stonehenge was built, and the date of its great early festivals, AND this week marked the opening, at long last, of the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre. No more parking in the car park near Stonehenge and going through a dodgy underpass. Now you pay lots of money , er, we mean, get to go into a world class visitor centre and…

Visitors will be collected by Land Rovers drawing surprisingly elegant little carriages—English Heritage staff have been using them as quiet, comfortable meeting rooms to escape the building site—and taken to the stones.

The nice bit is:

The shuttles will stop halfway at a little wood – one of the myriad abandoned alternative sites for the centre – offering visitors the option of walking across fields to the monument, or continuing on to be dropped a short stroll from the stones. Although English Heritage cares for the monument, thousands of surrounding acres belong to the National Trust, and new signboards are being installed in the fields explaining the barrows, avenues and mounds which speckle the landscape.

a panorama at the Centre permits the experience of solstice sunrise all year long

a panorama at the Centre permits the experience of solstice sunrise all year long

But the Visitor Centre itself is packed with goodies, and an esteemed Friend of the Blog who went in and did reconnaissance for us, says that there are numerous Stonehenge models to be seen there (like the bronze one at the top of this post, with the solstice line marked on it plainly), as well as the panorama/virtual Stonehenge experience, seen above, that allows it to be solstice sunrise all day every day!

The gift shop offers Stonehenge models of various sizes: infant, toddler, child, and teen, from what we can see—the seeds of Stonehenge to be carried far and wide, where people will see them and—voilà!—want to make more Stonehenges! The contagion spreads, while also becoming more concentrated, ever more Stonehenges in the world What is the Stonehenge saturation point? Only time will tell.

And time is what the solstice is all about (see how we crudely and artlessly brought this post back to its subject? Oh, yes we did, uhuh, uhuh!). May your solstice (and whatever other holidays may be scattered in its general vicinity) be lovely and happy and fun and wonderful! Enjoy life while you can still walk around without stepping on Stonehenges. Mark our words: if things continue as they’ve been going, that may not last much longer!

And until next time, Gentle Friends, we wish you and yours happy henging!

A Quick List of Stonehenge Movies!!!

As winter solstice approaches, one thing and one thing only is on the mind of the modern henger: what movies should you play for our solstice movie marathon this year? One year you played every movie that had Sun in the title, but that was a mixed bag, and last year, well, one can only watch The Wicker Man so many times in a row. Someone suggested a Doctor Who marathon, but let’s face it: you know AND WE KNOW that you have been having Doctor Who marathons at least twice a week for the last month (and, frankly, he’s tired and out of breath. Hahahahaha! ha?). In fact, to be honest, we can actually see that you have Doctor Who playing in the background right now as you read this. Get a grip, srsly.

We offer this post to bring you a brilliant solution to your quandary. Here is a list, which we do not claim to be complete, of movies that have Stonehenge—or some Stonehenge-like substance—in them. We aren’t saying all of them (or, perhaps, any of them) are good movies, or that you’ll enjoy them, although you may enjoy each in its own way (except Stonehenge Apocalypse—no one does. Trust us.). All we’re saying is that at some point in each of these, Stonehenge rears its ugly head, at which point you either throw popcorn at the screen or yell “Score!” and take a strong shot of something.

Plus, you and your friends, should you have any, can do some Stonehenge analysis of your own. Which movie replicas are good? Which are lame? And which actually filmed AT Stonehenge. What’s that you say? Yes. Yes. We know. Doctor Who filmed at Stonehenge. Thank you for that.    Nerd.

STONEHENGE MOVIE LIST (replicas unless otherwise marked) no particular order

1This is Spinal Tap   (getting this one out of the way right away)

2The Black Knight —unintentionally hilarious Stonehenge sequence with dancing nymphs and murderous druids at Stonehenge

3. National Lampoon’s European Vacation —Chevy Chase represents all of America as he carelessly topples Stonehenge

4. The Mists of Avalon  —a scene at a Stonehenge-ish thing

5King Arthur  —he marries Keira Knightley there at the end. Beautiful. And the henge is nice, too. 😉

6King Lear  —said to be filmed on a Stonehenge-like set

7Merlin: The Return  —it’s Merlin, so of course, Stonehenge has to come into it

8. Merlin of the Crystal Caves  —includes a young Merlin overseeing the erecting of the stones at Stonehenge

9Tess  —for this one, Roman Polanski built a whole Stonehenge in France. Realistic replica

10. The Colour of Magic  —movie of Pratchett’s book. A woman being sacrificed at Stonehenge is saved. Stonehenge as computer hardware

11Curse of the Demon  —devil cults, death curses, Stonehenge, REAL Stonehenge

12Shanghai Knights  —they crash into Stonehenge. But this is a digitally mocked-up version

13. Fiddlers Three, or While Nero Fiddled  —comedy: people sheltering under Stonehenge in a storm get transported back to Roman times. Hijinks ensue

14.  Robin of Sherwood —Television series from the 80s, Includes a linteled, Stonehenge-ish thing, despite taking place near Nottingham

15Stonehenge Apocalypse  —bad movie, BUT Stonehenge (replica). Everyone says it’s terrible, but, sadly, not funny-terrible

16The Pandorica Opens  —okay, yes, this is Doctor Who. REAL Stonehenge

17. Thor: The Dark World  —Thor, “dark elves”, Loki, Asgard, and of course, Stonehenge. REAL Stonehenge.

18. Transformers: The Last Knight. Unique in having been filmed both at Stonehenge AND at the best Stonehenge replica ever, near Stonehenge in Wiltshire, with rumours, sworn to be true by people we trust (and by Tim Daw 😉 ) of a second secret replica nearby, which we assume got blown up in some enormously satisfying manner. We have not seen it yet and have no movie stills. When we do, this one will get its own post!

Are there more movies with Stonehenges? Indubitably. Are we done here for now? Fo shizzle!

Fill the comments with your corrections and suggestions. We’re ready for you! Let us know how your solstice movie marathon goes!

And until next time, friends, happy henging!

P. S. : 18Halloween III. Have to mention it even though it doesn’t actually qualify, because Stonehenge-y-ness in plot.

[Our thanks to Aberfoyle, no, Abercrombie, no, what’s ’is name—Aber4th? for telling us about Merlin of the Crystal Caves in the comments. Our thanks to Mr. Barry Teague for the tip about Fiddlers Three.]