Thousands turn out to welcome the summer solstice at Stonehenge
The sacred sunrise was watched by 37,000 people who gathered around the ancient stones overnight
An estimated 37,000 revellers flocked to Stonehenge to watch a stunning sunrise this morning on the longest day in the calendar year.
The Summer Solstice has a long history of drawing crowds to the popular tourist attraction on Salisbury Plain, off the A303.
It is known as one of the most important dates on the calendar for latter-day Druids, who believe the stones allow them to commune with ancient ancestors in a sacred setting.
Stonehenge was built between 3,000 BC and 1,600 BC. Its original purpose is still the topic of heated debate for ancient historians.
Wiltshire Police said that 25 people were arrested at the event, mainly for drugs-related offences.
A spokesman said: "We are pleased that the Solstice celebrations at Stonehenge and Avebury have been enjoyable events for the majority of people attending.
"The road system worked well with minimum delays and many people used the public transport as we advised people to do. Every year there are new challenges for us at Solstice but it is always a pleasure to see so many people enjoying the event."
What is the summer solstice?
‘Solstice’ literally means stopping or standing still of the sun. It is used as a name for the longest day of the year – 21 June – when the sun is at its highest point in the northern hemisphere. It is celebrated by thousands of pagans across the world, but recent celebrations at Stonehenge only started in the 20 century.
On the day of the Solstice, the central Altar stone at Stonehenge aligns with the Heel stone, the Slaughter stone and the rising sun to the north east.
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
- 5 9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Tories sack candidate who said she would never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband
9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
Manny Pacquiao begs Indonesia president to spare life of drug smuggler Mary Jane Veloso about to be executed
Yazidi sex slaves undergoing surgery to 'restore virginity' after being raped by Isis militants
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...
£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...