Historic Scotland

Opening times

The Calanais Standing Stones are free to visit and open year-round.

For information on the Visitor Centre opening times and admission prices telephone +44 (0)1851 621 422

Facilities

 

Overview

Walk among the megaliths at one of Scotland’s most magnificent and best-preserved Neolithic monuments.

The Calanais Standing Stones are an extraordinary cross-shaped setting of stones erected 5,000 years ago. They predate England’s famous Stonehenge monument, and were an important place for ritual activity for at least 2,000 years.

We don’t know why the standing stones at Calanais were erected, but our best guess is that it was a kind of astronomical observatory.

Patrick Ashmore, who excavated at Calanais in the early 1980s writes: ‘The most attractive explanation… is that every 18.6 years, the moon skims especially low over the southern hills. It seems to dance along them, like a great god visiting the earth. Knowledge and prediction of this heavenly event gave earthly authority to those who watched the skies.’