Summer Solstice 2020 UK: What is it, when is it and the best places to celebrate
Each summer, thousands of people gather around the country to celebrate one of the UK’s oldest festivals – the summer solstice. But what actually is the summer solstice, when does it take place and where are the best places to celebrate it? Take a look at our guide and pair your next camping trip to one of the summer solstice events.
What is the summer solstice?
Occurring once every year, the summer solstice is the longest day of the year and marks the end of spring and the start of summer.
Despite widely thought to last a whole day, the summer solstice represents an individual annual moment when the sun is at the northernmost point from the earth’s equator.
The summer solstice is not to be confused with the winter solstice, which is when the exact opposite occurs. The Sun is at its lowest in the sky, giving us our shortest day of the year. This usually takes place around six months after the summer solstice – on December 21st.
When is the summer solstice 2020?
Typically, the date of the summer solstice rotates between the 20th and the 21st June, and this year the summer solstice will take place in the UK on Saturday 20 June 2020.
On this date, in the northern hemisphere, the sun will rise at around 4:45am and set around 9:15pm.
Although celebrations will be taking place all day, the exact moment when the sun is at the northernmost point from the earth’s equator will be at 9:44pm.
Despite being the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice doesn’t actually have the earliest sunrise of the year. Generally, the earliest sunrises of the year occur before the summer solstice.
Where are the best places to celebrate summer solstice 2020?
Across the UK, the summer solstice is celebrated in a diverse variety of ways. Perhaps most famous is the celebration at Stonehenge, where around 10,000 people gather to watch the sunrise. However, there are more places than the Neolithic monument to celebrate the solstice in 2020. Take a look at our list of the best places to celebrate this year as well as our nearest campsite to each one.
1. Stonehenge, Wiltshire
Over the course of many years, the summer solstice has become synonymous with Stonehenge. Arguably Britain’s most recognisable landmark, Stonehenge is an important ancient monument and one of England’s most popular tourist destinations.
Each year, tens of thousands of people set their alarms early and gather around the prehistoric stones to cheer the sunrise at the start of the longest day of the year. Tourists travel from around the world to participate in this event which has become a common feature on most people’s bucket list.
On the morning of the solstice, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone and rays of sunlight shine directly through the centre of the monument. Stonehenge is a 15-minute drive from our Salisbury Club Site, which makes it the perfect location to return to after the early sunrise for a campsite breakfast.
2. Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire
Hosting Midsummer celebrations each year, Little Moreton Hall has become a tourist hotspot during the Summer Solstice. Nestled near the town of Congleton in rural Cheshire, Little Moreton Hall is a timbered manor house with a surrounding moat.
Each year, Little Moreton Hall pays tribute to the Tudor celebration of Midsummer. During the Tudor times, it was a significant festival and was celebrated by decorating your house and planting your crops.
Taking place over the course of the weekend, Little Moreton Hall has lots to see and do, including hobby horse racing, parades with giant puppets, and live music from historical instruments such as shawms, crumhorns, rauschpfeifen and bagpipes. This Midsummer festival is also within driving distance from our Leek Club Site.
3. Glastonbury Tor, Somerset
After Stonehenge, Glastonbury Tor receives the most tourists to celebrate the longest day of the year. Overlooking the Somerset countryside, Glastonbury Tor is an imposing hill with a roofless tower sat at the summit.
Like the summer solstice, Glastonbury Tor is intrinsically linked to paganism and mythology. It is said that the Tor is a magic mountain, an Arthurian hill-fort and once hosted Druid initiation ceremonies. It is no surprise then that this place is filled with tourists waiting to see the sunrise on the longest day of the year.
With an elevation of over 500ft, you can see as far as the Black Mountains of Wales on a clear day. These panoramic views make it a great location to watch the sunrise. Are you looking for somewhere to stay near Glastonbury Tor? Our Cheddar Mendip Heights Club Site is a short drive away.
4. Ben Nevis, Scotland
Where better to watch the sunrise from than the highest point in the UK? Start your escorted excursion to the summit of Ben Nevis at 11:30pm, reaching the top at around 4:00am, just in time for sunrise at around 4:27am. The experienced Mountain Leaders lead this daunting challenge at Rich Mountain Experiences.
Make your ascension to the top, before sitting down with a piece of cake and a drop of scotch and watching the sunrise up above the towering Munros. Then, descend via the Pony Track, marvelling at views of mountains and lochs soaked in the morning sunshine.
The start of the trek, the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre, is a short drive away from our Glencoe Club Site.
5. Avebury Henge, Wiltshire
Despite often being thought of as the lesser-known neighbour of Stonehenge, Avebury Stone Circle is larger than Stonehenge and just as mysterious. When the summer solstice comes around, druids, pagans and other sun worshippers congregate at the small Wiltshire village.
With people visiting from all over the world, Avebury is one of the busiest places to celebrate Midsummer. Set your alarm early, walk up to the stone circle and watch the sunrise above the Neolithic stones.
With so many people visiting such a small village, it can be difficult to find somewhere to stay after the celebration. Fortunately, our Devizes Club Site is located just a short distance from Avebury Henge.
Why not tick something else off your bucket list? Read our guide to the best places to see the Northern Lights on your next camping trip. Want to explore the fascinating history of the UK? Take a look at our guide to the best castles in the UK.