Historic attractions in Orkney

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  • People admiring the Broch of Gurness, Evie
    Broch of Gurness, Evie
  • The Earl's Palace, Kirkwall, Orkney
    The Earl's Palace, Kirkwall, Orkney
  • Orkney Museum, Tankerness House, Kirkwall
    Orkney Museum, Tankerness House, Kirkwall
  • Skara Brae, Sandwick
    Skara Brae, Sandwick
  • St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall
    St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall

Orkney is home to remarkable history attractions, none more significant than the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The UNESCO site is made up of four seperate historic sites which you can visit - Skara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar, Maeshowe and the Stones of Stenness.

Visit a number of religious buildings from the cathedral built by a Viking earl in honour of his uncle, to a chapel built in a nissen hut by Italian Prisoners of War. See inside the island's finest mansion and admire family heirlooms or walk around one of the most outstanding surviving examples of an Iron Age village.

You can also explore a number of museums in Orkney - see the Neolithic carving of the Westray Stone, hear stories from both World Wars and Orkney's involvement, or follow the islands' timeline from Neolithic times right through to the present day.

Explore a number of exciting and unrivalled history attractions in Orkney.

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40 results, currently showing 1 to 10
  1. Knap of Howar

    Type

    Historic Sites

    Gradings

    Papa Westray

    Papa Westray is one of Orkney’s smaller isles, only about six square miles in extent, and much less hectic than its bigger neighbours in Orkney.

  2. Barnhouse Neolithic Village

    Type

    Historic Sites

    Gradings

    Stenness

    Barnhouse is an open site which is free to visit.

  3. Brough of Birsay

    Type

    Monuments & Ruins

    Gradings

    Birsay

    The Brough of Birsay features the remains of a busy complex of Pictish, Norse and later settlements around Birsay Bay.

  4. Churchill Barriers

    Type

    Historic Sites

    Gradings

    South Ronaldsay

    These four causeways were built after the sinking of the HMS Royal Oak while it lay at harbour in Scapa Flow in October 1939.

  5. Ness of Brodgar

    Type

    Monuments & Ruins

    Gradings

    Stenness

    The Ness of Brodgar is the excavation of a massive Neolithic walled enclosure that contains numerous well preserved monumental stone buildings on an unparalleled scale –best known from its media coverage as Orkney’s Neolithic Cathedral’.

  6. Start Point Lighthouse

    Type

    Historic Buildings & Homes

    Gradings

    Sanday

    The first beacon to mark the Start Point on the Orkney island of Sanday was an unlit masonry tower, but this beacon proved inadequate as ships continued to be wrecked on the island.

  7. Vat of Kirbister

    Type

    Historic Sites

    Gradings

    Stronsay

    The Vat of Kirbister was formed when the roof of a large sea cave collapsed.

  8. Gradings

    • 3 Museum
    3 Museum

    Birsay

    Kirbuster is the last un-restored example of a traditional ‘firehoose’ in Northern Europe and was occupied right up until the 1960s.

  9. Skara Brae Prehistoric Village

    Type

    Monuments & Ruins

    Gradings

    • 5 Historic Attraction
    5 Historic Attraction

    Sandwick

    The Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae is one of the best preserved groups of prehistoric houses in Western Europe.

  10. Bishop's & Earl's Palaces

    Type

    Monuments & Ruins

    Gradings

    • 4 Historic Attraction
    4 Historic Attraction

    Kirkwall

    These palaces near St Magnus Cathedral are regarded as two of the finest examples of architecture in Scotland and highlight Orkney’s strong Norse and ecclesiastical links.

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