Ancient Sites in West Penwith

From stone circles to neolithic quoits, discover Cornwall’s ancient past.

West Penwith is home to numerous ancient sites – far too many to explore in just one day. There are also so many ways to ‘see’ the sites too, from tours that explore their relationship with the stars to carefully preserved ancient villages that give you a feel for how people lived all those years ago.

We hope these itineraries inspire you to discover more of West Cornwall’s story.

You can mix and match from the suggested activities to create a great day out during your stay. Please note: You will need to contact the venue or experience provider directly to book.

Bronze Age Walk; Archeoastronomy Cornwall

Get a deeper understanding of West Penwith’s ancient sites with a unique tour from an archeoastronomy expert. Carolyn Kennett shares her extensive knowledge of the area and how our ancestors connected with the sky. The Bronze Age tour is a three-mile guided walk to see a Bronze Age village, stone circles, barrows and more.

Ballowall Barrow; English Heritage

Overlooking the dramatic Atlantic Ocean near St Just, you’ll find the ruins of a Bronze age funerary monument. Ballowall Barrow is thought to have been a shrine deliberately built close to the cliff edge. Thanks to the work of English Heritage, you can visit this complex prehistoric tomb and learn about the objects discovered during its excavation.

Carn Euny Ancient Village; English Heritage

Have you ever wondered how people lived thousands of years ago? Carn Euny is an incredible ancient village that’s said to be one of the best-preserved sites in the region. Inside, you’ll find the remains of stone houses and a fogou – a walled underground passage that’s unique to this part of Cornwall. Find out more here.

Chysauster Ancient Village; English Heritage

English Heritage members will be pleased to know that they can put their membership to good use. Chysauster Ancient Village is a Romano-British settlement between Penzance and Zennor. Exploring the stone walls here gives you a real sense of how people must have lived thousands of years ago. Plan your visit here.

Mên-an-Tol; Stone formation near Morvah

Mên-an-Tol is a collection of granite stones believed to date back to the Bronze Age. Its name translates to ‘holed stone’, which makes sense when you see the centre stone’s striking shape. Some say the site is the remains of a stone circle, others claim it’s part of an ancient burial chamber. You can find out more from Historic Cornwall here. If you follow the Penwith Landscape Partnership’s circular walk, you’ll also see Greenburrow Engine House, Bosiliack Entrance Grave and the Nine Maidens Stone Circle.

Chun Quoit; Neolithic burial site (pictured above)

This little mushroom shaped structure is believed to be a burial site dating back at least 5000 years. One of several quoits dotted across the Penwith landscape, others can be visited at Lanyon Quoit, Mulfra Quoit and Zennor Quoit. They are also known as portal dolmens as they would have originally had a doorway through which human remains would have been passed. See here for more information.

Whether you’re walking the South West Coast Path or exploring the ancient sites of West Penwith, make sure you pause for lunch in Zennor. The Tinner’s Arms is a traditional Cornish pub that claims to have been built in 1271. It boasts a crackling fire, local ales and a delicious menu to fuel your adventures. The story goes that DH Lawrence once stayed here for a fortnight.

Places to stay

Retreat to a cosy self-catering cottage or book a stylish hotel in the heart of town. Discover the perfect seaside stay for your winter in Cornwall. Click here for more details

More inspiration?

Visit out of season and step into an adventure. Explore our entire collection of inspiring itineraries and plan a great day out.


Many of the activities in this itinerary will offer accessible access, however we advise that you contact the venue or experience provider in advance to confirm.

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