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Castlerigg Stone Circle, Keswick

4.5
#2 of 10 in Sightseeing in Keswick
Ruin Historic Site
The stone circle at Castlerigg (alt. Keswick Carles, Carles, Carsles or Castle-rig) is situated near Keswick in Cumbria, North West England. One of around 1,300 stone circles in the British Isles and Brittany, it was constructed as a part of a megalithic tradition that lasted from 3,300 to 900 BC, during the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Ages.Various archaeologists have commented positively on the beauty and romance of the Castlerigg ring and its natural environment. In his study of the stone circles of Cumbria, archaeologist John Waterhouse commented that the site was "one of the most visually impressive prehistoric monuments in Britain."Every year, thousands of tourists travel to the site, making it the most visited stone circle in Cumbria. This plateau forms the raised centre of a natural amphitheatre created by the surrounding fells and from within the circle it is possible to see some of the highest peaks in Cumbria: Helvellyn, Skiddaw, Grasmoor and Blencathra.DescriptionThe stones are of a local metamorphic slate, set in a flattened circle, measuring 32.6 m (107 ft) at its widest and 29.5 m (97 ft) at its narrowest. The heaviest stone has been estimated to weigh around 16 tons and the tallest stone measures approximately 2.3m high. There is a 3.3m wide gap in its northern edge, which may have been an entrance. Within the circle, abutting its eastern quadrant, is a roughly rectangular setting of a further 10 stones. The circle was probably constructed around 3200 BC (Late Neolithic/Early Bronze-Age), making it one of the earliest stone circles in Britain and possibly in Europe. It is important to archaeoastronomers who have noted that the sunrise during the Autumn equinox appears over the top of Threlkeld Knott, a hill 3.5 km to the east. Some stones in the circle have been aligned with the midwinter sunrise and various lunar positions.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
864 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Not on the same scale as Stonehenge, but interesting nevertheless. Visit on a clear day to see the impressive Lake District Mountains all around.  more »
  • Castlerigg Stone Circle is the most atmospheric and dramatically sited of all British stone circles, with great views and the mountains of Helvellyn and High Seat. Constructed in about 3,000 B.C. Reas...  more »
  • Visited this last year and took a remarkable photo and had it made into a canvas. Surrounded by delightful fells it is a truly tranquil place to visit.  more »
Google
  • This is a pretty neat site. One of the great and mysterious stone circles and it is quite well preserved. If you have already seen stone henge, do not compare it to that because it will fall short in every category. Being that it is quite a way off the beaten path, make it worth while and bring a picnic and take in the beautiful views of the mountains and hills that surround. Just don't be that guy sitting on the stones eating a sandwich as other tourists are trying to view and take photos of the sacred stones that your butt is now on.
  • Very Serene and beautiful. Not as collosal or impressive as stone henge but very beautiful. Also a lovely 2.5 hour walk from Keswick
  • The stones are not quite as large as stone henge. However the setting is spectacular as mountains ring the entire horizon. Also the fact that you cat walk up to and touch the stones makes it more special. Definitely worth a visit!
  • Well preserved stone circle. Parking and access very easy. Beware of Castle Lane approach - it is very narrow.
  • An awesome stone circle. Well worth a visit. You can walk there or park on the side of a road.

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Where to stay in Keswick

Cottages and B&Bs are scattered over the valley, and many offer views of the surrounding mountains and countryside. The town center's Victorian edifices often hide guestrooms that overlook the charming streets. Consider a B&B or inn with views of the hills close to the town center and enjoy the best of both worlds.
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