Stonehenge visitors 'break record'

Stonehenge in Wiltshire Image copyright PA
Image caption Visitor numbers at Stonehenge have risen by nine per cent in the past year

A record number of tourists visited Stonehenge in the past year, English Heritage has said.

Barack Obama, David Cameron and a group of WWE wrestlers are among the 1.3 million people to have visited the prehistoric monument.

The numbers have been counted since the opening of the £27m visitor centre on 18 December last year.

English Heritage said the visitor numbers were up 9% on the previous 12 months.

Image copyright AP
Image caption US President Barack Obama walked among the ancient stones in September

A spokeswoman claimed work to improve facilities for tourists had "transformed" the way people interact with the ancient stones.

As part of the revamp, the A344 next to the stones was shut and grassed over - an idea originally suggested in 1927.

Visitors are now transported about a mile and a half (2km) from the centre to the stones via shuttle bus.

"Stonehenge remains one of the world's most important prehistoric sites and a major tourism site in the UK - attracting visitors from across the world to Wiltshire," said Kate Davies, English Heritage general manager of Stonehenge.

"This month marks the first anniversary of the new Stonehenge Visitors Centre and we are delighted that over 1.3 million people have explored the site during that time."

Stonehenge: The past year in numbers

  • 250kg of grass seed planted on the former A344
  • 250 ancient objects on display in the new visitor centre
  • 165 volunteers worked at the site
  • 142 school visits
  • 5 "Neolithic houses" built over 10,000 hours by 65 volunteers
  • 1 visit by a US president
  • 1 visit by the prime minister

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