English Heritage has opened a newly-designed permanent coach park at Stonehenge.
It marks the completion of the first phase of a major improvement project aimed at giving tour groups arriving by coach a better and more streamlined welcome to the World Heritage Site and at easing pressure points for all visitors at the popular site at peak times.
The re-designed coach park provides spaces for 52 60-seater coaches in an upgraded layout which makes coach arrivals and departures more efficient and enhances pedestrian safety.
A new Visitor Transit Shuttle pick up point now allows groups to go directly from the coach park to the Stone Circle, where an enlarged drop off/pick up layout has also been created.
The new system makes the shuttle service more fluid and flexible so that it can provide more visitor journeys at times of peak pressure if required.
Phase two of the improvement project is scheduled for completion by late summer.
It will see the opening of a new group reception building, complete with extensive WC facilities, located conveniently close to the coach parking bays and next to the shuttle pick up point.
The improvements are already making arrivals, parking and departures easier and the movement of pedestrians safer within the coach park.
The addition of the Group Reception Building in the summer will simplify and speed up ticketing and audio guide collection and provide double the number of WCs currently on site.
Jennifer Davies, Stonehenge general manager said: “We are delighted to have opened the first phase with minimal impact to group arrivals while the work was underway.
“The improvement project was implemented following an extensive review of our operation at Stonehenge and feedback from tourism professionals to find the best way to meet demand and ease congestion at this significant and busy attraction.
“Once complete, the improvements will help us deliver a world class experience for the 1.3 million visitors we welcome each year from across the globe, so that they can more fully appreciate this ancient wonder of human endeavour.”