Thousands of druids and pagans have descended upon the Stonehenge site the watch the sunrise on the shortest day of the year.

This year, the winter solstice occurred on the morning of 21 December and marks the day which will have less daylight than any other this year.

People flocked to the famous landmark in Wiltshire to watch the sun rise through the iconic stone monuments, with many dressing up in traditional pagan clothing to do so.

The winter solstice is seen as a more important event in the pagan calendar than the summer solstice, as it marks the "re-birth" of the Sun for the new year.

The annual pagan event, also known as Yule, is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world.

The actually moment of the winter solstice occurs at a specific time when the North pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the Sun.

This moment is expected to occur at around 10:44am GMT, according to science website earthsky.org.

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People look towards the sun as druids, pagans and revellers gather at Stonehenge, Getty
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22 December 2016 will have less daylight than any other this year Getty
winter solstice
The event is claimed to be more important in the pagan calendar than the summer solstice Getty
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Despite a forecast for cloud and rain, a large crowd gathered at the famous historic stone circle Getty

"It is fascinating to witness people performing religious ceremonies and enjoying the solstice at the site."

The amount of daylight during the day is expected to last just over seven hours and 49 minutes, nearly nine hours less than the longest day if the year.

The sun eventually rose around 8:12am, with English Heritage – which looks after Stonehenge – predicting around 3-5000 people turned up to witness it.

A spokesperson said: "We expect people to start arriving between 7am and 7.45am, as they will want to be at the site before sunrise.

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A large crowd gathers at the famous historic stone circle Getty
winter solstice
People take part in a winter solstice ceremony at the ancient neolithic monument of Stonehenge Getty