Timespan Heritage and Art Centre


Dunrobin Street, Helmsdale, Sutherland, KW8 6JA

    Timespan Heritage and Arts Centre is a museum of social and natural history, contemporary art gallery, archive, gift shop, herb garden and cafe.

    Timespan Museum is the starting point on a journey through the colourful historical themes of the area. It provides the visitor with a wealth of information about past ways of life and some of the more turbulent events in Sutherland’s history. It combines local stories and folklore from the past and present with a multi-faceted collection of objects spanning thousands of years.

    The virtual reality room transports you back to the township of Caen two miles north-west of Helmsdale, where everything is exactly as it was 200 years ago.  Based on Ordinance Survey data, Caen virtual world is an authentic reconstruction of the landscape with its longhouses and outbuildings both inside and out. Thanks to finds from an excavation carried out in Summer 2013, the virtual model is even more accurate.

    There is also a selection of five animated films in the virtual reality room about the areas myths, legends and superstitions. The younger visitors can meet our own last wolf and find out why Helmsdale fishermen were so superstitious! Transport yourself back to the time of the Vikings with the story of Frakkok, learn about the tale of two dogs and what life was like living in a croft in Gartymore.

    The museum’s reconstructed croft, byre, smithy, and shop from 150 years ago capture many aspects of a way of life – now long gone. Each reconstruction has its own audio narrative including a Gaelic lullaby and recollections about one of Helmsdale’s best loved blacksmiths.

    The visitor can enjoy an audio tour of the museum with additional informative material on each area and translated sheets are available in German, French, Italian, Dutch and Spanish. The younger museum visitors can enjoy quizzes and puzzles and a selection of replica objects.


    4 Visitor Attraction
    Opening Times
    Open All Year
    2016 Opening Times
    1 Jan 2016 - 31 Dec 2016

    Open daily 10.00 - 17.00 April to October. Open Tues 14.00 - 16.00, Sat and Sun 10.00 - 15.00 November to March
    Entry can be arranged outwith these times, contact enquiries@timespan.org.uk or telephone 01431 821327


    • The main entrance has level access


    • Baby Changing Facilities Available
    • Children Welcome
    • Highchair Available


    • Closed Circuit TV
    • Hearing Loop
    • Level Access

    Leisure Facilities

    • Garden
    • Gift Shop

    Payment Methods

    • Cash
    • Cheque
    • Debit Card
    • Delta Card
    • Electron
    • Maestro Card
    • Mastercard
    • PayPal
    • Switch Card
    • VISA Card


    • Accessible Parking or Drop Off Point
    • Coach Parking Off-site / street
    • Free Parking Off-Site/Street
    • Free Parking On-Site
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Parking


    • Cafe / Restaurant available on site When ever possible, our ingredients are sourced locally, and the herbs are from the garden. Our cheeses on our cheese platter come from Highland Cheeses in Tain, eggs are supplied by Clythe’s Cracking Eggs, Smoked Mackerel, Smoked Salmon and Crab are from Sandy Cowie, Helmsdale.
    • Gluten Free Gluten free bread and cakes available
    • Lunch Available Fresh home made soup with bread, cheese scone or oatcakes. Sandwiches, cheese platter, salads.
    • Tea & Coffee Available Decaffinated and Caffinated teas as well as a selection of Pukka herbal teas and fresh herb teas from the garden. Decaffinated and caffinated coffee for cafetieres or selection of espresso, cappuccino and lattes from the machine. Hot chocolate.
    • Vegetarian All soups are vegetarian. Vegetarian sandwich fillings and salads are for the most part vegetarian.


    • Public Toilet Facilities
    • Toilets

    Languages Spoken

    • French Speaking
    • German Speaking


    • Rural Location On the east coast of Sutherland, the largest county in Britain with the smallest population.
    • Waterfront Location On the banks of the River Helmsdale

    Special Requirements

    • Business Travellers
    • Children Welcome
    • Coach Parties Welcome
    • Disabled Citizens
    • Dogs Welcome
    • Families
    • Groups Welcome
    • Non smokers
    • Pets Welcome By Arrangement
    • School Groups Welcome
    • Senior Citizens
    • Single Travellers
    • Young People

    Public Transport Directions

    Getting there by railway:- From Helmsdale railway station, leave the station yard turning right. Follow the road downhill towards the Telford Bridge. Cross the bridge bearing right, and turn right in to the first small brae. timespan is on your right.

    Transport within Scotland

    For public transport information to visit here from within Scotland, enter your postcode and visit date below.

    Journey Planner

    Access to Public Areas (Displays, exhibits, rides etc)

    • Level access (i.e. no steps or thresholds) or access by a ramp or lift to :
      • a public toilet
      • the gift shop
      • the information point
      • the ticket issuing point


    • Routes / pathways throughout the attraction suitable for visitors with limited mobility
      • all routes
    • There is an audible alarm system
    • Where appropriate there is a hearing loop system [e.g. ticket counter/ gift shop]
    • Clear signage throughout the attraction (e.g. colour contrasted, large lettering, use of pictograms etc.)


    • Parking provided for visitors
      • Parking on site
      • With designated parking for visitors with disabilities
      • Within about 50 metres of the attraction
    • The route from the parking area to the nearest public entrance is :
      • flat, ie. without steps
    • There is a drop-off point for guests immediately outside the main entrance

    Cafeteria / Restaurant

    • Level access (i.e. no steps or thresholds) or access by a ramp or lift to the :
      • cafeteria
    • Catering staff provide meals for guests with special dietary requirements


    • There is a lift

    This information is self-assessed; therefore we accept no liability for its accuracy. Please contact the venue for further information.

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