Ancient Orkney

Our islands’ history stretches back 5000 years and has some of the finest neolithic monuments in Europe. This tour gives you the best of ancient Orkney – in a day! 

Skara Brae

Step back 5000 years to explore one of Europe’s best preserved prehistoric settlements, a neolithic village older than the Pyramids of Giza. It was first uncovered during a storm and most of the houses, including furniture are still standing exactly where they were built.

Ancient Orkney - Skara Brae

Skaill House

The finest 17th century mansion house in Orkney and home to the man who discovered Skara Brae in 1850. Still in the ownership of the same family after 400 years.

The Ring of Brodgar

A near perfect circle makes up one of the most spectacular and largest henge monuments in the British Isles. Originally 60 stones of which 27 still stand. Archaeologists still puzzle over its original purpose – lunar calendar, ritual ceremonial site or 5000 year old community party venue!

Ancient Orkney - The Ring of Brodgar

The Stones of Stenness

This is a ceremonial stone circle in use around 3100 BC, making it one of the oldest in Britain. It originally consisted of 12 standing stones of which 4 large monoliths still survive. Excavations in the 1970s revealed a central hearth which may have been the focus for rituals important to the Neolithic people of Orkney.

Ancient Orkney - Stones of Stenness

Unstan Cairn

One of the oldest tombs in Orkney, in use around 3500BC, it is unusual as it features both stalled and chambered burial areas within its walls. During 19th century excavations grave goods consisting of pottery bowls were found which have given their name, Unstan ware, to a specific design of round bottomed Neolithic bowls. The tomb also contains Viking graffiti.

St Magnus Cathedral

Orkney’s most loved building and the resting place for the bones of St Magnus, patron saint of the islands. Built in 1137 of warm red and yellow sandstone, it is one of the finest examples of Romanesque and early Gothic architecture.

Ancient Orkney - St Magnus Cathedral

The Ness of Brodgar

One of the most exciting Neolithic archeological digs currently underway, the Ness is making historians rethink all their ideas about the Neolithic period in Britain! The site is open to the public during the digging season.

Contact us to find out more about this and our other tours.