Summer solstice at Stonehenge to take place online with virtual live stream

Summer solstice at Stonehenge will take place online with a virtual live stream after the annual gathering had to be cancelled due to coronavirus.

The sunset will be streamed on Saturday night at 9.26pm and Sunday’s sunrise will be streamed at 4.52am via the English Heritage Facebook page.

Both streams will begin at least 30 minutes before the sun sets and rises.

English Heritage, which has provided access to the event since 2000, has warned visitors not to travel to the 3,000BC Neolithic monument for the summer solstice this year.

No-one is able to enter the site due to the ban on mass gatherings and security guards will surround the site to prevent anyone from getting in.

The online gathering means people from across the world will be able to join in celebrating the summer solstice.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>People stop to look at Stonehenge in Wiltshire (PA)</figcaption>
People stop to look at Stonehenge in Wiltshire (PA)

The live streams are an alternative for the annual gathering on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, where traditionally thousands of druids and spectators flock to the landmark to celebrate the summer solstice.

However, not all druids are happy with the alternative.

Senior druid King Arthur Pendragon told The Guardian: “I intend, as is my right, to be as close as is legally possible in order to observe the sunrise on solstice dawn.”

However, he said he was not encouraging people to visit the monument.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>The gathering is normally attended by thousands of people (PA)</figcaption>
The gathering is normally attended by thousands of people (PA)

Stonehenge has been closed to visitors since mid-March.

Speaking last month, Stonehenge director Nichola Tasker said: “We hope that our live stream offers an alternative opportunity for people near and far to connect with this spiritual place at such a special time of year and we look forward to welcoming everyone back next year.

“We know how strong the draw to come is for some people, but I would take this opportunity to say please do not travel to Stonehenge this summer solstice, but watch it online instead.”

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