Calanais Standing Stones

  • 12m west of Stornoway off the A859, Isle of Lewis



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.’

Cast and crew of 'Call the Midwife', swapped Poplar for the Outer Hebrides to film their 2019 Christmas Special and Calanais Standing Stones featured in the episode.

The visitor centre is owned and managed by Urras Nan Tursachan and has a café, shop and the ‘Story of the Stones’ exhibition.

The visitor centre is currently closed for redevelopment, however reduced facilities including a food trailer, pop-up shop and toilets will be available Monday to Saturday until 26 October 2024. For more info please visit

Read our full report on excavations at the stone ring and alignments at Calanais in the Western Isles.

Calanais Survey and Excavation, 1979-88

Opening times

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

Please stay strictly to the paths on your visit.

The visitor centre is currently closed for redevelopment. Reduced facilities including a food trailer, pop-up shop and toilets will be available Mon to Sat until 26 Oct 2024.

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