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London, sunrise

6 pagan places in London to celebrate the summer solstice

Celebrating the solstice? Forget Stonehenge and check out these alternative spots to hang out on the longest day of the year

By Alice Saville

This Thursday (June 21) is the summer solstice – the longest day of the year. While thousands of revellers will flock to Stonehenge to mark the occasion, there are plenty of pagan spots to celebrate in London. Here’s our pick of the best ones.

Epping Forest

Attractions Forests Essex

The last remnant of a vast ancient wood, Epping Forest has been crossed by pagans for centuries. Here you can walk paths that were first carved out by the Celts, tangle with nature and, if the gods are smiling on you, maybe stumble upon some twenty-first-century druidic revelry.

Treadwell's Bookshop

Shopping Bookshops Bloomsbury

Before you start gathering sacred herbs or hunting for virgins to sacrifice, mug up on the true meaning of solstice at London’s best pagan and occult bookshop. It’s the longest day of the year, so summer solstice rites are typically all about celebrating the power of the sun. Robes: optional. Mead: pretty much compulsory.


Gosnells London Mead Brewery

Things to do Food and drink events Peckham

Brewed from honey, mead is civilisation’s oldest alcoholic tipple. And there’s a fair chance that ancient pagans were more than a bit tiddly when they conducted their rituals. Raise a glass to London’s ancient heritage at Gosnells, Peckham’s very own meadery, which opens its yard to punters every Saturday.

Hilly Fields Stone Circle

Things to do Parks and gardens Brockley

Lewisham’s hallowed stone circle dates from a far away, distant time known as… the year 2000. Okay, this quirky landmark created by local artists isn’t exactly ancient, but the granite boulders themselves are up to 400 million years old. Plus, it acts as a giant sundial, which is totally appropriate for a day that’s all about catching rays.


The London Stone at Museum of London

Museums History Barbican

Once believed to have been a druidic altar for human sacrifice, this ancient limestone block is shrouded in legend, and has stood at the heart of the city since pre-Roman times. Visit the Museum of London to feel the stone’s pagan power for yourself. Warning: attempts to dance naked around it will probably result in getting kicked out.

The Grapes

Bars and pubs Limehouse

Compared to The London Stone, this atmospheric east London boozer is a whippersnapper – it ‘only’ dates from 1583. But the closest thing modern London has to a druidic wizard is Ian McKellen (aka Gandalf) and he’s donated the staff he carries in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies to his beloved local pub. Magic.


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