Welcome to the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The winter solstice kicks off this Saturday, and with it, thousands of visitors from around the world have gathered at Stonehenge — the mysterious standing set of stones dating between 3000 B.C. and 2000 B.C., in Wiltshire, England — to mark the grand astronomical event when the monument aligns on a sight-line pointing to the winter solstice sunset.
Of course, who are we fooling? On Saturday morning, most of us would probably prefer to snuggle up under the covers than brave the gathering crowds at Stonehenge (even if the new $44 million visitors center, which opened this past Wednesday, sounds interesting, with an exhibition that includes a forensic reconstruction of a Neolithic man). We’ll leave it to the druids, pagans and astronomical diehards currently gathered at Stonehenge to fill us in on the grand event, which, on the flip side, ushers in the longest night of the year.
And it’s here, maybe, we should (delicately) state the obvious: The shortest day of the year can lead to a certain feeling; Richard III didn’t talk about the “winter of our discontent” for nothing. Fortunately, guys, we’ve got you covered with an entire section of our site devoted to winter travel — everything from luxe ski chalets to warm winter escapes, with savory winter food and winter drink ideas thrown in as well to lift your spirits. And if you’re looking to plan by month, check out our roundup of Where to Travel in January and Where to Travel in February.
In the meantime, we salute our fellow travelers gathered at Stonehenge. Like them, we’re savoring the shortest day of the year for what it really means: The start of days that are set to get longer and brighter.