Celebrate winter solstice with Pitchup.com
Nov 24 2014 Gepost door Samantha Marsh
At this time of year, the significance of winter solstice offers a time to reflect and consider the future, and where better to do this than at a stone circle? These Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments are linked to the calendar and winter solstice holds particular significance at many.
Stonehenge is the best known but Pitchup.com has dozens of other suggestions for staying near the UK’s 1,300 other stone circles, far from the crowds and where anyone can get up close to the stones themselves.
This winter solstice, you can catch the sunrise or sunset on the shortest day (21 December 2014) at a stone circle with one of these quirky places to stay:
Stanton Drew - Somerset
Stanton Drew is the third largest collection of prehistoric megaliths in England, comprising three interrelated stone circles. Today, visitors can see the Great Circle which has a circumference of 355 metres and has 26 upright stones, although there is evidence that these were once part of a much larger site. Local legend has it that a wedding party was once held here on a Sunday, but the only musician playing was the Devil in disguise. At the end of the dance the partygoers were turned to stone for their wickedness and that is what remains today. The site is still an important location for pagan weddings and ceremonies and visitors may even find small offerings hidden in the holes of the stones - however it is considered to be very unlucky to remove them. Pitchup.com has some very funky accommodation nearby at Middlewick Farm. This 16-acre site offers exceptional facilities for guests staying in its E-den cabins. There is something for everyone including a heated indoor pool, children’s petting farm, steam room, outdoor barbecue area and outdoor pizza oven! These luxury cabins are centrally heated for winter and come with a private shower room plus all bedding and towels. A two-night stay over winter solstice will cost £130.
Newgrange - Ireland
Constructed over 5,000 years ago, the monument at Newgrange is older than Stonehenge and even the pyramids of Egypt. This ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site covers over an acre of land including a vast mount surrounded by 97 stones. Winter solstice is one of the best times to visit Newgrange as the passage which leads into the main chamber is illuminated by the sun creating a spectacular display. It is thought that people have been visiting the site on this date since it was built, coming to enjoy the unusual light which allows visitors to see into the chamber on even the shortest of days. Pitchup.com has accommodation at Newgrange Lodge Campsite which is just a ‘stone’s’ throw from the monument. Visitors will need to bring their own tent or motorhome but at just £19.70 per night for a non-electric grass pitch, it’s a bargain! The facilities on site are all housed in the main lodge and include free wifi, a self-catering kitchen and showers/toilets.
Castlerigg Stone Circle - Cumbria
For spectacular views, Castlerigg near Keswick has to be one of the best stone circles in the UK. The stones sit in a natural amphitheatre and are surrounded by some of the region’s highest peaks including Blencathra and Skiddaw. It is also one of the oldest stone circles dating back to around 3000 BC. Forty stones remain in place, covering a circle that is 30 metres wide. The positioning of the stones is believed to have specific association with the midwinter sunrise and the orbit of the moon, so winter solstice is the perfect time to visit. The Quiet Site near Penrith is an ideal choice for a place to stay. The heated pods offer a perfect place to relax after spending time at the stones and there is a pub on site for food, drink and entertainment. A two-night stay to coincide with winter solstice costs £80.50 and the pod can sleep up to four people.
For more information visit www.pitchup.com. All prices correct at time of writing.
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