Summer Solstice 2019: When is the longest day of the year? When does summer start? Why do people go to Stonehenge? How do you get in to Stonehenge?

Stonehenge at sunrise
Stonehenge at sunrise
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WHILE the recent weather might not have felt all that summery, the season is almost about to begin. 

The summer solstice, which marks the start of the astronomical summer, will take place tomorrow in the UK and the Northern Hemisphere. 

Thousands of people will descend on Stonehenge to mark Midsummer and the sun will be up for longer than any other day this year. 

Here is what you need to know: 

When is the longest day of the year? 

The summer solstice will take place on June 21 in 2019, which is tomorrow! 

That means that Friday will be the longest day of the year. 

When does summer start? 

There are two different dates for the start of the summer – the meteorological and astronomical. 

For the meteorological calendar, the four season are divided up into three months each. This means that summer begins on June 1 and lasts until August 31. 

However in the astronomical calender, summer actually begins on the summer solstice - so there is no fixed date. 

In 2019, because the solstice falls on June 21 that is when the astronomical summer will begin. Hopefully the weather will start to improve then. 

It will last until the autumn equinox, which falls on September 23, so that is when summer will end. 

Why do people go to Stonehenge? 

It is believed that the ancient monument of Stonehenge was built as a kind of astronomical calendar and on the day of the solstice the rising sun lines up with the Heel stone and the altar stone. 

Thousands of people flock to the ancienct site to watch the spectacular and celebrate the beginning of the summer. 

It is seen as a sacred place to many people. 

How do you get in to Stonehenge? 

English Heritage manages the ancient site and have said that there will be free managed open access to Stonehenge for the summer solstice. 

However they ask that you follow these conditions of entry: 

- Amplified music is not permitted in or around the monument field.

- No alcohol is allowed within the monument or the monument field. Alcohol will be confiscated or individuals in possession of alcohol will be asked to leave. To make arrangements to bring ceremonial mead to Solstice, please contact customer services.

- Drunken, disorderly and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated and anybody considered to be behaving in this way will be asked to leave by security staff and/or the police and will not be allowed back in.

- Illegal drugs are illegal at Stonehenge as they are anywhere else.  The police will be on site and will take action against anyone breaking the law.  

- Please don’t bring any glass in to the monument field. Many people walk barefoot and livestock and wildlife also graze in the area.  Any glass items will be confiscated. To make arrangements to bring ceremonial mead to Solstice, please contact customer services.

- Please do not climb or stand on any of the stones – this includes the stones that have fallen.  This is for your own safety and also to protect this special site and respect those around you.  

- Please be aware that in order to keep everyone safe, searches will be undertaken. Any items that are illegal will be confiscated and your entry refused.

- Camping equipment, fires, Chinese lanterns, fireworks, candles, tea-lights or BBQs are not permitted at Stonehenge, in the Solstice Car Park, or anywhere in the surrounding National Trust land.

- In the interests of safety, sleeping bags or duvets are not allowed on site.  Sleeping on the ground creates a trip hazard and can interfere with the work of emergency services and hinder their ability to help people.  Small ground sheets and blankets are permitted for people to sit on but please do not bring chairs etc. (unless used as a recognised disability aid). Shooting-sticks are not permitted. 

- To help us reduce the amount of litter on site, leafleting or flyering is not allowed.

- Drones or any type of remote-controlled flying devices are not permitted at Stonehenge or in any of the Solstice Car Parks. 

- Objects with a sharp point or sharp edge capable of being used to cause serious injury will not be permitted.

- Counter-terrorism security measures will be in place at Summer Solstice. Only small bags (approx. 30cm x 25cm x 15cm) will be allowed into the Monument Field and searches will be conducted.  We strongly advise you to only bring essential items with you and thank you in advance for your patience.

If you break any of these conditions it will result in entry being refused or your removal from Stonehenge.