The best Celtic sites in Britain

Uffington White Horse, photo by Dave Price

The British are, and have been for the past several centuries, one of the most powerful people not only in Europe, but in the entire world. But if you look back at the UK’s admittedly exciting history, you will notice that the country took the shape it has today as a result of suffering a series of conquests and invasions. The earliest inhabitants of the British Isles were various tribes of Britons, who today are collectively called Celts. They were conquered by Romans, next came a wave of Anglo-Saxons, then Normans, and finally you can glimpse the beginning of Britain as we know it now. So if you want to see the roots of modern UK, the Celtic sites are a great place to start – so here are some of the best Celtic sites in Britain.

Maiden Castle, Dorset

Maiden Castle, photo by slideshow Bob

Hill forts are some of the most interesting remnants of the ancient Celtic Iron Age civilizations that are still observable throughout the British Isles. Maiden Castle, despite being nothing more than the outline of an age-old fort, is still capable of sending a shiver down your spine. The castle is huge, the size of 50 football pitches, and thus the largest hill fort in Europe. Climb the vast ramparts covered in green grass and imagine what life was like there several millennia ago.

Balnuaran of Clava Cairns, Inverness, Scotland

Clava cairns are a type of chamber tomb cairns built in the Bronze Age, which get their generic name from the Balnuaran of Clava cairns in Scotland, some of the best preserved caves of this kind. The three cairns lie close together not far from Inverness, and they are surrounded by small stone circles. It’s not certain which tribes built them, but they certainly are very old.

Halliggye Fogou, Cornwall

Halliggye Fogou, photo by Trish Steel

Fogous are ancient underground complexes found all over Scotland, but no one really knows what their purpose was. the Halliggye Fogou is the largest complex of this kind in Cornwall, and although when it was discovered it had been already emptied out, the treasure hunters who first found it probably found something interesting in these dark tunnels.

Grimspound, Devon

If Grimspound is any indication, Bronze Age settlements must have been very scenic and these Celtic people had a real knack for small and cozy homes. Grimspound is a settlement of over 24 huts surrounded by a wall, and although the little houses are in ruins now, their outlines are plainly visible.

Uffington Castle and the White Horse, Oxfordshire

Uffington Castle, photo by Pam Brophy

Uffington Castle is nice but not unusual when it comes to Iron Age hill forts, but what makes this are one of the best Celtic sites in Britain is the surreal figure of a white horse etched into the slopes of White Horse Hill. The hill figure must have taken a great effort to create, and its elegant lines cannot fail to impress.

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