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Wiltshire stone monument trumps pyramids.

The county of Wiltshire is already well known around the globe for being home to the World Heritage Site of Stonehenge, with thousands of visitors heading to the ancient stone circle to set their sights upon the awe-inspiring creation each year.

However, it appears that the famous site could have some serious competition on its hands, after the Avebury stone circle, just 20 miles down the road, scooped second place in a ranking of heritage sites.

Travel experts from Which? were so impressed with the Neolithic henge stone circle in Avebury, Wiltshire, that they placed it ahead of world renowned attractions including China’s Forbidden City and the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

The structure, which is the largest stone circle in Europe, scored well on 25 criteria, including preservation of the site and visitor experience. The stone circles at Avebury attract more than a quarter of a million visitors every year, who have praised the fact that they are able to roam between the stones freely, in contrast to the roped off formations at Stonehenge.

Dr Nick Snashall, National Trust archaeologist at Avebury, said: “Our dedicated team of staff and volunteers work year round to ensure that it remains a source of inspiration and delight. “So it’s wonderful to see that the very special qualities of Avebury have been recognised in this way.” A Which? spokesman added: “Avebury came an impressive second in our list of World Heritage sites. “Our experts found the idyllic rural setting, lack of crowds and freedom to wander freely through the historic site made for a rewarding visit.”

First place in the ranking was taken by Mexico's ancient city of Monte Alban, which is described by UNESCO as ‘an outstanding example of a pre-Columbian ceremonial centre in the middle zone of present-day Mexico’. If you are planning a holiday abroad, it’s important to secure travel insurance to ensure that you are covered for every eventuality.

Date Created: 22 January 2013

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