Revellers at Stonehenge to celebrate Summer Solstice

Revellers watch the sun rise over Stonehenge

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About 20,000 revellers were at Stonehenge to mark the Summer Solstice, each hoping to see the sun as it rose above the ancient stone circle at dawn.

Police described the event on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire as one of the safest in years, although 34 people were arrested for minor drug offences.

Sunrise, marking the longest day of the year north of the equator, occurred over the circle at 0452 BST.

The Heel Stone, just outside the main circle, aligns with the rising sun.

Peter Carson from English Heritage said: "It has been quieter this year but it's been a great solstice.

'Monday morning'

"It's an improvement on the last few years - the last time I remember seeing the sun rise was in 2003 - so it's great to see the sun has put in an appearance.

"This year there are about 20,000 people and last year it was about 35,000 - so that is quite a bit down which has meant the operation is a lot easier. "

He said two years ago the solstice happened early on a Saturday and about 30,000 people attended.

He added: "I think the days of the week do make a considerable difference to the number of people who come along - this year it's a Monday morning.

Pagan roots

"The people who are streaming out now - a lot of them are going to work."

Victoria Campbell, 29, was among those marking the solstice.

She said: "It means a lot to us...being British and following our pagan roots."

The Londoner, who works in the finance industry, added "getting away from the city" was a major draw.

On Sunday police chiefs said they had planned for "all eventualities" ahead of the event.

Last year a record 36,500 revellers attended, causing traffic chaos and road closures.

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Mail Online UK The longest day: 20,000 flock to Stonehenge for an all-night party to mark summer solstice - 5 hrs ago
Wakefield Express 20,000 gather at Stonehenge for solstice - 10 hrs ago
Andover Advertiser Sun at Stonehenge Solstice - and a giant ancestor - 18 hrs ago
IC Cheshire 20,000 attend Stonehenge Solstice - 19 hrs ago
Calne Gazette & Herald The sun comes up on the solstice in Wiltshire - 22 hrs ago

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