Thousands of people including Pagans, Druids and Witches gathered at Stonehenge to witness the sunrise on the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.
Crowds started to arrive at the Wiltshire landmark before dawn with many others travelling on to the Avebury stone circle, which is also in the county.
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The winter solstice marks the point when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun.
The December solstice happens at the same instant for all of us, everywhere on Earth. This year the solstice occured on Tuesday December 22nd at 04:49 GMT (Universal time) with the sun rising over Stonehenge in Wiltshire at 08:04.
In the UK the shortest day lasts 7 hours 49 minutes and 41 seconds, almost nine hours shorter than the longest day of the year.
The monument in Wiltshire has long been thought of as a place of magic used by the ancient druids, with mystery surrounding how it was built and its exact use. It is believed to have been built between 2000 and 3000 BC.
The midwinter sun sets at an exact point between two upright stones at the monument, leading many to believe it was purposely built as a calendar, with a similar event taking place for the summer solstice. Unfortunately cloudy weather looks set to spoil any clear view of the moment the sun hits the monument.
The date changed in recent years from December 21 to 22 due to the modern calendar not corresponding exactly with the solar year of 365.2422 days. In 2009 the solar year calculation was not considered, leading to a crowd gathered in traditional druid clothing arriving 24 hours early.
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