The Orkney Folklore & Storytelling Centre

Events Venue

Sandwick (A967), Orkney, Scotland, KW16 3JF

    The Orkney Folklore & Storytelling Centre engages audiences through Orkney Storytelling Evenings & family workshops of island legends, lore & social customs through traditional music, song & dance & join a town or coastal walks (STGA qualified)


    The Folklore & Storytelling Centre: Events, Workshops & Guided Walks

    Booking essential call / email Lynn 01856 841 207 /

    Peatfire Tales of Orkney: A magical  evening of storytelling & social customs

    Tuesdays & Fridays from 8PM - for 8:30PM storytelling start. Adults £10/children £6.

    Island Tales & Ales: An atmospheric evening of storytelling & social customs

    Sunday & Wednesdays from 8PM at the Still Whisky Bar, Stromness Hotel, including a complementary Orkney ale/whisky or wine.  Cost £10 per person. Book with Lynn or at Stromness Hotel.

    Private group bookings : 6 - 35 guests offering a bespoke “A Taste of Orkney” tailored to group interests. Includes Island Legend & Lore, Social Customs, Traditional Orkney dance & music.

    Handfasting & Wedding groups welcome.

    Family & Children’s Island StoryCircles : 2 hour workshops for 2 - 6 people. Parents/children welcome to your Orkney Island adventure, make Island creatures/characters in puppets, masks & Storyboards. Cost £40 (inc. materials & light refreshments)

    For guided town and coastal walks (STGA qualified guide) see

    The Power of Story Workshops & Summer Schools - a series of creative learning workshops for staff, volunteers, carers & parents in communication, social skills & expressive arts. Of particular interest to those working in the field of special education, early learning education, social care & mental health.

    Workshops offered including StoryCircles, drama, creative movement, environmental art & sculpture, mask & puppet design. Discover storytelling, story writing & story sharing. Enjoy these active learning workshops realizing the transforming power of our own imagination through exploring language, visual communication & our five senses using the above techniques. All within the safe parameters of “THE STORY”.

    Outreach offered at your own venue

    Read on below for more information about these experiences or visit


    The Folklore & Storytelling Centre Experience


    As a centre of Orkney Heritage Tourism we welcome you to listen to the Orkney Islands oral traditions of storytelling, ballads, sagas, song & poetry with a particular emphasis on the Island fishing & farming peoples & their traditions. Discover who these “Fisherman With Ploughs” are as George Mackay Brown called them in his “Poem Cycle”. Experience the past Islander’s sea legends, crofting tales, customs & beliefs, how the Island calendar & partnership with this ancient landscape & surrounding seas has shaped today’s social landscape on these North Atlantic Islands.


    Folklore & Heritage Library

    Sit in candlelight by the peat fire & browse through the local social customs & heritage, exploring the old Orkney books, newspapers, prints & photographs.


    The Hamnavoe Room

    Listen to local Orkney music or dialect while exploring contemporary Orkney writer’s books including George Mackay Brown & Gregor Lamb or Island craft books & the children’s Orkney books such as Faraway World: An Orkney Boyhood by W. Towrie Cutt.


    Folk Arts Studio

    “A time in the old Orkney crofts with their cruisie lamps under the rafters,

    the feeblest of glimmers, with the old soft mouths at the edge of darkness.

    telling their spells & stories over & over again”

    George Mackay Brown


    Gather round our big peat fire surrounded by wall murals & collages of the Islands’ legends & myths alongside the masks, puppets & models of Orkney folkloric characters & creatures. Here is where we transport you with our stories & music by the light of the peat fire. From 8PM


    The Garden of Island Legend & Lore

    “Memory loves to linger,

    around that sacred spot,

    recalling scenes that’s by-gone,

    but cannot be forgot”

    John Merriman, Via, 13 January 1891


    Explore our outdoor creative space inspired by the four elements - Earth, Air, Fire & Water set in the ancient landscape of Via. From the old Norn word “Veeo”, “Via” means “a sacred place” - discover the story of the Stones of Via & the Bronze-age burial mound. Let your imagination wander whilst sitting surrounded by sculptures & forms created from recycled materials inspired by characters of Island folklore & legends.  Donations welcome for local charities or not for profit organisations connected to fishing & farming communities.


    The Peatfire Tales of Orkney : The Experience


    On Tuesdays & Fridays evenings you are invited to gather round our peatfire to listen to the magic of these North Atlantic Islands legends & myths. Indigenous music, rhymes, customs & dances are woven through this Island tapestry of storytelling. In our Folk Arts studio travel back with us in time to when the stories, tales & crafts of the fishing & farming Islanders were passed on from one generation to another through their oral traditions.


    You are welcome to come from 8PM to enjoy the Heritage Library, Hamnavoe Room & Garden of Legend & Lore, Peatfire tales commences at 8:30PM in the Folk Arts studio


    A light refreshment of juice will be offered at the interval



    Adult £10 / children £6. Group concessions offered. Booking essential


    The Island Tales & Ales : The Experience


    “The enchanting tongues went on & on beside the fish oil lamps,

    then the grey of morning entered the crofts,

    & called the Islanders back once more

    to their hard work of ploughing & fishing”

    George Mackay Brown



    The Stromness Hotel’s private Still Room Whisky Bar has a rich heritage of the fishing & farming people of Stromness sharing their daily stories about real people, real lives & real places at the end of the day over a jar of ale or nip o’ whisky. Share an evening in the Still Room Whisky Bar reminiscent of a 19th Century Stromness ale house. Sit around the peat fire, at your candlelit table & enjoy a complimentary drink on us whilst listening to the legends, customs & social heritage of the Island people who worked the land & fished the sea.


    Wednesday & Sunday night from 8PM to hear sea-salted tales of Stromness including smugglers, seamen, tales of the tide & selkies song.


    Getting there

    The Still Room Whisky Bar is on the second floor of the Stromness Hotel, next to the reception.



    £10 per person, complimentary Orkney ale/whisky or glass of wine offered. Booking essential


    Family Story Circles : The Experience


    Come along as a family or small group (2 - 6 people) to enjoy your Orkney Island adventure creating your own Storyboards & Storymaps, bringing folklore & legend character/creatures to life through mask & puppet making


    Workshops are led by Lynn Barbour who has extensive experience in communication arts, drama & dance along with the design of mask & puppet theatre. Lynn has developed creative learning programmes to use storytelling as a tool to help stretch the imagination & build the confidence in children who have difficulties in social skills, education & communication.


    Workshops are interactive where children & adults alike can create their own stories, tell their own tales, sing their own songs & rhymes...Leave Orkney with your own folklore inspired puppet or mask.  


    All materials are provided & include recycled & locally sourced items. Light Orkney refreshments provided also including Orkney fudge & biscuits.  



    £40 all inclusive workshop


    Small, private groups welcome, both walks can be combined by arrangement


    Opening Times
    2015 Opening Times
    1 Jan 2015 - 31 Dec 2015


    • Children Welcome


    • No Smoking Permitted


    • Coastal Location
    • Rural Location
    • Waterfront Location


    • Accessible Parking or Drop Off Point
    • Bike Storage Available
    • Free Parking On-Site


    • Public Toilet Facilities

    Leisure Facilities

    • Garden

    Payment Methods

    • PayPal

    Wedding Services

    • Reception Facilities

    Road Directions

    Getting there

    Main road A965 turn onto the Ring of Brodgar  Standing Stones road (Ring of Stones to your left) & proceed to the road end (aprox 3miles) at T junction follow sign (Left 600m... Peatfire Tales evenings of Storytelling.) Centre is opposite Loch Clumly on A967

    Public Transport Directions

    We can arrange transport to our Centre with a local firm for groups of up to 30 people to have their own individual, bespoke evenings of Island storytelling,Music and traditional dance,Legends.lore and social customs or StoryCircles courses and workshops.

    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
      • a public toilet suitable for visitors who use a wheelchair


    • The route from the parking area to the nearest public entrance is :
      • flat, ie. without steps
      • with a ramp
    • There is a drop-off point for guests immediately outside the main entrance
    • Parking provided for visitors
      • Parking on site


    • Routes / pathways throughout the attraction suitable for visitors with limited mobility
      • all routes
    • There is an audible alarm system
    • There is a visual alarm system
    • Seating available throughout the attraction at appropriate intervals, for visitors with limited mobility
    • Tactile routes for visitors with visual impairments


    • Staff who have contact with visitors have disability awareness training
    • Staff have specialised disability knowledge or skills (e.g. sign language)

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

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