Exploring Ancient Monuments

Travel advice from Holiday Extras

When you think stone circles, you probably think first of Stonehenge. Yet a more in depth adventure in to Britain’s mystical history will lead you to a long series of beautiful locations that house a variety of stone circles from different eras. There are hundreds of sites that you can visit and it’s easy to access most of them by road. Many of these stone circles have been restored to the original glory, standing ominously in fields with wonderful legends of maidens turned to stone, mischievous devils and thirsty soldiers that come to life on new years day. Here’s our pick of the best places to go to see ancient monuments in the United Kingdom.

Orkney Islands

After flying in to Edinburgh, stop for a night at an Edinburgh hotel to rest, then head straight off to  the Orkney Islands for a visit to another of the United Kingdom’s stone circles, The Ring of Brodgar, which dates back to 2500 BC. It’s the third largest perfect circle of its kind in Britain. The location is beautiful and reached by Ferry. You can spend hours wandering around the isle, wandering through the stone circle, and enjoying the brisk breezes of the Loch of Harray.

Merry Maidens

After Brodgar has whet your appetite, hop on a plane and over to Bristol, grab your hire car and drive south to visit the Merry Maidens in Cornwall. There’s a little parking lot on Highway B3315 and from there just a little walk across the fields to the stones. In the area, there are a few sets of stones, the Pipers to the north of the Maidens and the Fiddler to the west. All were named after the local legend that they were girls turned to stone for dancing on the Sabbath. They date back to the Neolithic area and were restored to their proper positions sometime in the mid 1800s.

Swinside Stones

For a less visited, and off the between track path, just a short two hour drive from Liverpool, in Cumbria, lies the Swinside stones. A set of fifty-five slate stones that date back to the Bronze age are one of the finest set in the United Kingdom perhaps in Europe. Legend has it that the Devil himself pulled the stones from a church that was being built in a fit of mischief, though the truth is that the slate probably came from the nearby slate fells.

Chipping Norton

The Rollright Stones near Chipping Norton are less than an hours drive from Oxford. The set of almost seventy-seven stones which include a stone circle often called the King’s Men, a solitary stone referred to as the King Stone and a burial chamber. Legend has it that the stones go for a drink at midnight on January first of each year.

Other ancient monuments in Britain

With so many to choose from it’s tough to know which to visit! Here’s a quick list of other stone circles and ancient monuments worth checking out.