Continue exploring the history of Orkney by island hopping, as many of the oldest and most fascinating Neolithic monuments are scattered throughout the archipelago. Due to frequent hop-on ferry services and even the world’s shortest chartered flight, all of Orkney’s engaging history is easily accessible to visitors.
Begin your second day with a visit to the earliest known dwelling in Orkney and the oldest preserved stone house in Northern Europe at the Knap of Howar on Papay. These structures, two oblong stone houses, date from 3600 BC and were continuously occupied by a series of Neolithic farmers for at least five centuries. Continue on the short ferry ride across to North Ronaldsay and visit the Stan Stane, where ancient Neolithic architecture meets modern life. Over 13 ft high, the stone may have once been part of an ancient stone circle like that of Stenness or Brodgar. The stone is now the focal point of an ancient North Ronaldsay tradition, where the island inhabitants gather round to sing in the New Year.
Hop back on the ferry to Rousay, named the ‘Egypt of the North’ due to its archaeological diversity and importance. With over 100 archaeological sites on Rousay, there are a wide range of places to explore and discover. Most famous of the Rousay sites include the complex of Midhowe Chambered Cairn and Broch, an incredibly well preserved burial chamber and the Blackhammer Cairn, dating from around 3000 BC.
With a final ferry ride back to the Mainland, finish your day at the Orkney Museum in Tankerness House. Reflecting Orkney’s heritage with relics dating back more than 5,000 years, the Orkney Museum is a fantastic place to finish your journey into the Heart of Neolithic Orkney. View original relics found in and around the sites you have visited and view real excavation photographs and tools. Trace Orkney’s history from the very beginning, through the Iron Age, Pictish influence and the Norse legacy to the traditions and culture of the modern day.