From ancient tombs and imposing stone monoliths, to palatial cathedrals and spiritual hideaways, the UK is awash with sacred sites which radiate our ancestral past. But with so many antique sites smattered across Britain, which one do you choose for your cultural daytrip? Recently, the BBC released an article listing their top 10 extraordinary sacred sites around Britain, which included the Avebury Stone Circle in Wiltshire, St Nectan’s Glen in Cornwall and the Glastonbury Tor in Somerset. Suitably inspired by the Beeb’s shortlist, I thought I’d share a few more sacred sites with you which I feel warrant a mention. Whether you’re planning a cottage holiday in the UK or simply looking for somewhere to take the kids during the weekend, these sites are perfect for discovering the peace and mystery of Britain’s favourite spiritual spaces.
Arranged atop a leafy plateau in the midst of some of Lakeland’s prettiest Fells, the Swinside stone circle has been exposed to the harsh Cumbrian elements for nigh on 3,500 years. Erected as part of an ancient megalithic tradition, the stones are thought to have been used for ceremonial and spiritual purposes, though this is widely contested. Indeed, local folklore tells that the site was originally intended for a church whose construction was unremittingly thwarted by the devil- all we know is, it’s a splendid place for a stroll!
St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall
Splashed across a plethora of Cornish postcards and trinkets, St Michael’s Mount is arguably the most serene sacred spot on our shortlist. This tiny island, located 5 miles south of Penzance, is dedicated to St Michael, an archangel who is said to have appeared before local fisherman in the fifth century. Topped with a medieval castle and tropical gardens, and connected to the mainland by an evocative swath of Cornish shale, St Michael’s Mount is a dreamy day trip destination fit for any curious couple or adventurous family.
Fountains Abbey, North Yorkshire
OK I admit, this was a selfish choice. Fountains Abbey, darling of the North Riding, is one of my favourite sacred sites in the UK. Peaceful and inspiring, this 300 hectare World Heritage Site features a 12th century ruin, Cistercian corn mill and expansive Georgian water garden, making it the ideal place for a winter wander or a pleasant summer’s picnic. Founded by Benedictine monks in 1132, the Abbey was left in ruin after Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. Nowadays, the ruinous shell of the abbey makes for an extraordinary photograph, whilst the surrounding gardens and deer park serve as an ideal spot for some quiet contemplation.
Stanton Drew, Somerset
Supposedly formed when the Devil wreaked havoc at a wedding and turned the party to stone, Stanton Drew is the third largest collection of ceremonial stones in England and the largest stone circle of its type at a mighty 113 metres across. It’s thought the stones have been stood tall in this beautiful Somerset valley for 3,500 years, making them over 1,000 years older than the Egyptian pyramids! If you fancy laying your hands on these enchanting sacred boulders, book yourself a holiday cottage in Somerset. We’ve hundreds of self-catering holiday homes within easy reach of this impressive site; plus, two of the stones stand in the garden of the village pub- need I say more?