Would you visit 'Celtic Britain'?

Open navigator

1. Before you go

Blue-chested warriors, human sacrifice and lots of porridge; 'Celtic Britain' was not a destination for the faint-hearted.

But get over those initial off-putting impressions, and you would have found a territory made up of a diverse array of cultures. In fact, the people of 'Celtic Britain' had a greater affinity to their tribe or region than any overarching sense of nation.

There's plenty to explore and experience, so step back in time and discover what Britain was like in the Iron Age.

2. Where to stay

Click through the postcards to see the accommodation on offer in Iron Age Britain.

1/4 Roundhouse: Standard accommodation built from mud-bricks, with charming features including a central hearth, bread oven and a grain pit. Its single entrance, facing the south-east, allows the morning sunrise to flood the house with light.

Getty Images

2/4 Hillfort: Offering a taste of Celtic commual living, these are well defended settlements of roundhouses thriving with activity. Before the locals welcome you with a bowl of gruel, make sure you pay your respects to the fort chieftain.

Greg Balfour Evans / Alamy

Getty Images

3/4 Crannog: These man-made islands, built in the middle of secluded lochs with restricted entrances, are highly attack resistant, making them ideal for romantic retreats. You’ll find them in Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

Getty Images

4/4 Brochs: Fit for Iron Age elites, these circular structures have multiple levels and winding stone staircases. Some house families while others are surrounded by further settlements, perfect for group getaways in a rugged Scottish landscape.

© Nisbetwylie photos / Alamy

Getty Images

3. Travellers' essentials

All you need to know about Celtic Britain

BBC

4. CLICKABLE: Things to do

You can't experience everything Celtic Britain has to offer in a single trip, but here’s a guide to some of the must-see sights. Click the labels to find out more.

This content uses functionality that is not supported by your current browser. Consider upgrading your browser.

Satellite map courtesy of Getty Images

5. Useful phrases

Celts in Britain share a common language, developed over centuries through contact with tribes along the Atlantic fringe. It's an oral tradition so we have no written accounts of Celtic life or language – we have to rely on Classical sources for that. There are regional differences, but these phrases should help you get by during your visit:

"Poi wedoi essi ti?"

"Hello, how are you?"

Although they have a reputation for being hot-headed, many Celts are well socialised thanks to regular trade with tribes in Western Europe. Greek historian Diodorus Siculus recommends seeking out the inhabitants of Belerion on the Cornish coast, a tribe 'especially friendly to strangers.'

"Arut regami mag."

"I honour you, long-haired lord."

Celtic society is very hierarchical. The warrior elite command loyalty from their people based on their ability to keep the tribe safe and well-fed. If you fail to ingratiate yourself, expect to feel the sharp end of an iron sword or spear.

"Monnimi prinuman turki."

"I want to buy a boar."

Feasting is an important communal event and a chance to improve your social standing. Celts look kindly on those who can bring booze or meat to the table - rare luxuries in Celtic daily life - so impress your fellow diners by bringing along an indulgent offering.

"Peiu legiu esti sindon?"

"Where is the sacred grove?"

Celts mark the changing of the seasons with religious festivals. Expect bonfires, unbridled alcohol consumption and lavish gold offerings to the gods.

6. Trip advisers

What are others saying about 'Celtic Britain'?

Tacitus

Historian from Gaul

Review:

'Awful weather'

c. 98 AD

"The climate is wretched, with its frequent rains and mists, but there is no extreme cold. Their day is longer than in our part of the world."

Strabo

Geographer from Amaseia

Review:

'Avoid the North'

c. 7 BC

"[It's] the home of men who are complete savages and lead a miserable existence because of the cold."

Julius Caesar

Statesman from Rome

Review:

'Visit Kent'

c. 50 BC

"The most civilised of all these nations are they who inhabit Kent."

Virgil

Poet from Lombardy

Review:

'Get away from it all'

c. 40 BC

"[Britain is] totally cut off from the world."