Castlerigg Stone Circle
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: One of the earliest stone circles in Britain
If you only have time to visit one stone circle in Britain, you could do a good deal worse than to make Castlerigg the one. Castlerigg has been called the most beautifully located stone circle in Britain, and for good reason. The circle, about one-third of an acre in area, is sited on a high moor in an open bowl of hills above Keswick, a spectacular setting that can be breathtaking at dawn or dusk.
Castlerigg was one of the first stone circles built in Britain, dating from about 3000 BC. The circle actually isn't (isn't a circle, that is), with one side flattened and a large gap between two huge stones on the north side, which suggests an entrance of some sort.
There is a small rectangle of stones within the circle, an unusual feature in stone circles. There is also a small mound inside the circle, which suggests a burial place. We don't know for sure if there are burials here, because there have been no excavations at Castlerigg. Perhaps it looks too pretty to dig up?
Some archaeologists have suggested that Castlerigg functioned as an astronomical observatory. Certainly there are astronomical alignments that can be found for some of the stones, but there is no evidence that the makers of the circle used it as an observatory.
Castlerigg is one of my favourite stone circles in Britain. Visit and see if you don't agree. For an unforgettable experience, try to visit at sunset! Summer sunsets at Castlerigg are an amazing experience, but you will often find it crowded with people making the short jaunt from Keswick, so if you want to experience Castlerigg in silent splendour, come in the early morning, when you may have the entire site to yourself.
The location is beautiful, and the proximity to Keswick and the main A17 road makes access simple.
Address: Keswick, Cumbria, England, CA12 4TE
Attraction Type: Prehistoric Site
Location: off A66, just east of Keswick
English Heritage - see also: English Heritage memberships (official website)
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Opening Details: Open access site, usually accessible at any reasonable time
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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Keswick Museum - 1.1 miles (Museum)
Derwent Island House - 1.1 miles (Historic Building)
Crosthwaite, St Kentigern's Church - 2 miles (Historic Church)
Derwentwater - 2.1 miles (Countryside)
Lodore Falls Waterfall - 2.5 miles (Countryside)
Dodd Wood - 3.7 miles (Countryside)
Bowder Stone - 4.2 miles (Countryside)
Castle Crag - 4.5 miles (Countryside)
Nearest Accommodation to Castlerigg: