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Kids’ Guide to Ancient Sites in England

by Barbara Rogers

Mar 16, 2023

Spinster’s Rock © Helen Hotson | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Europe

Kids are fascinated by mysteries, so spotting the enigmatic stone structures dotting the English countryside can be a great treasure hunt to keep kids engaged during your family’s travels in England. These stones and the museums that explain the larger ones are a tantalizing glimpse into the Bronze and Iron Ages.

 

Stonehenge, the best-known, is one of England’s most popular tourist attractions. Although it is crowded and you can’t walk among the stones except at specially reserved times, Stonehenge is a good place to begin. The huge stones are impressive (as is knowing how far they were carried to this site), and Stonehenge lies close to London and even closer to Heathrow Airport. The museum gives kids an excellent picture of life in Britain’s pre-historic times.

 

Impressive as Stonehenge is, our kids were far more fascinated by two sites at nearby Avebury. Also a UNESCO World Heritage site, the double stone circle is one of Britain’s largest. Even more exciting to kids is West Kennet Long Barrow. You can explore inside this long stone tunnel of megaliths and discover more about the dolmens you’ll see elsewhere. Both sites are free.

 

While these are popular historic sites, your kids will have as much fun looking for more stones on the landscapes of Dartmoor in Devon. The largest stone circle is at Brisworthy, with others including the Sittaford Stone Circle and Grey Wetehrs, both at Okehampton, as well as Fenworthy Circle at nearby Newton Abbot.

 

Throughout Dartmoor National Park and in surprising spots elsewhere in southwest England, you’ll find dolmens. These consist of standing stones supporting one or more stone slabs that form a roof. These are the remains of ancient tombs once covered in earth (remember West Kennet Long Barrow) that has since washed away.

 

Kids can spot these in pastures, even occasionally in a country churchyard. If your kids are really interested in searching for these, you’ll find directions to dozens more at the Megalith Portal website.

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