MORE than three million people experienced the scenes of Stonehenge virtually last night and this morning, to celebrate a cloudy summer solstice.
The longest day of the year, June 21, is thought to have been celebrated at the English Heritage site for thousands of years, as the sun rises behind the Heel Stone and rays of sun are channelled into the centre of the monument.
The event as we know it was cancelled this year, following coronavirus lockdown and restrictions, so English Heritage set up an online livestream so anyone across the world could watch the stones for free.
This morning the charity revealed that more than 3.6million people tuned into the livestream between sunset and sunrise.
Usually the event would attract more than 10,000 people.
It has been reported that despite previous warnings, people still turned up at the site in an attempt to watch the sunrise, with druids being turned away by security.
Stonehenge director Nichola Tasker described this morning’s sunrise, at around 4.50am, as “rather wet but nonetheless atmospheric”.
She added: “We were delighted to see that so many people around the world were enjoying the unique experience of seeing the dawn at Stonehenge on midsummer’s day.
“We were sorry not to be able to open for solstice this year but we hope that our live stream offered the opportunity for people near and far to connect with this spiritual place at such a special time. We look forward to welcoming everyone back next year.”
Nichola added: “Stonehenge will be opening to visitors again on July 4 and we look forward to offering people a warm – and safe – welcome then.”
On Twitter English Heritage said: “The sun might have been elusive, but more than 3.6 million of you managed to watch sunset and sunrise with us from Stonehenge.
“We wish all our followers a happy and peaceful summer solstice.”