Avebury named second best World Heritage site by Which?

Avebury stone circle
Image caption More than 250,000 people visit Avebury's ancient stone circle every year

Avebury in Wiltshire has been named the second best heritage site in the world for visitors by a panel of experts in Which? Travel magazine.

It came second to Mexico's Monte Alban, but outscored sites such as Peru's Machu Picchu and India's Taj Mahal.

The sites were judged on 25 criteria, including visitor experience, the preservation of the site and the holiday appeal of the local region.

Avebury's stone circle attracts more than 250,000 visitors each year.

Wiltshire Council's Stuart Wheeler said: "We have always known we have a wonderful piece of history on our doorstep and now we have official confirmation.

"Being placed second only to Mexico in providing visitors with the best heritage site experience in the world is a wonderful accolade."

Image caption Avebury came above India's Taj Mahal in the list

The Which? report described the Unesco World Heritage site as "the best-preserved and most impressive complex of prehistoric sites in Europe".

The report states Avebury's key attraction is the "quiet, bucolic setting, the lack of crowds and the ability to wander freely".

Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust archaeologist at Avebury, said: "Our dedicated team of staff and volunteers work year round to ensure that it remains a source of inspiration and delight.

"So it's wonderful to see that the very special qualities of Avebury have been recognised in this way."

A Which? spokesperson said: "Avebury came an impressive second in our list of World Heritage sites with a score of 78%.

"Our experts found the idyllic rural setting, lack of crowds and freedom to wander freely through the historic site made for a rewarding visit."

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