21/06/2018 11:16 BST | Updated 21/06/2018 12:11 BST

Thousands Gather At Stonehenge To Welcome Summer Solstice

It's the longest day of the year!

Crowds cheered the rise of the sun at Stonehenge this morning as thousands gathered to celebrate the summer solstice.

Those who observed the spectacle at the neolithic Wiltshire monument were blessed with clear skies as the sun glinted over the horizon at 4.52am.

English Heritage tweeted that it was the “perfect morning for the #SummerSolstice sunrise at Stonehenge”.

GEOFF CADDICK via Getty Images
Revellers prepare to witness the sunrise 
Ben Birchall - PA Images via Getty Images
A woman wears a colourful headdress as she celebrates the dawn of the longest day in the UK 
Ben Birchall - PA Images via Getty Images
A woman dances on the stones as the sun rises 

Up to 25,000 people were expected to attend the overnight celebration of the longest day of the year at the World Heritage Site.

On the summer solstice, the sun rises behind the Heel Stone, the ancient entrance to the Stone Circle, and rays of sunlight are channelled into the centre of the monument.

It is believed that solstices have been celebrated at Stonehenge for thousands of years.

Toby Melville / Reuters
Antlers at dawn inside the stone circle 
PA Wire/PA Images
A couple share a kiss as they are bathed in sunlight 

Jennifer Davies, English Heritage’s head of historic properties for Stonehenge, had asked for those attending to “respect the stones”.

Visitors were urged to only take small bags and alcohol was not permitted.

English Heritage also asked that people either shared lifts or took public transport to reduce traffic and emissions.

In 2017 around 13,000 people attended Stonehenge on June 21. Wiltshire Police officers were also on hand at the event and armed officers attended as “a precaution only”.

People can expect more than 16 hours of daylight today, with the sun expect to begin setting in London at 9.22pm.