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Visit Orkney’s Archaeological Wonders

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced the opening times of its sites across Orkney. Some are open all year round and free to visit like The Neolithic Ring of Brodgar.

the standing stones at the Ring of Brodgar at the summer solstice
The Ring of Brodgar at the Summer Solstice

The Broch of Gurness will open in early April. Visitors can explore Scotland’s best-preserved broch village, with numerous houses and a Viking grave of a woman and her grave-goods.

8 Apr to 30 Sept:
Sat and Sun, 9.30am to 5.30pm
Last entry 4.30pm

There will be free entry to the Broch on Sat 15 & Sun 16 Apr.

Soon after in April, Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces will be welcoming visitors daily. Situated in Kirkwall, the Bishop’s Palace is one of the best-preserved medieval builds from when the town was a bustling Norwegian port, centuries before Orkney joined Scotland. The Earl’s Palace was a 1600s addition by Patrick Stewart, Earl of Orkney, who wished to build a splendid palace complex on the island. Now, visitors can explore Kirkwall’s medieval street plan and learn about Orkney’s history as part of two nations.

We recommend booking online in advance to guarantee entry.

5 Apr to 30 Sept: 
Daily, 9.30am to 5.30pm
Last entry 4.30pm

On 10 April, the two sites will be joined by Hackness Martello Tower and Battery. Three guided tours a day, available on Monday through Thursday, offer visitors the chance to explore mighty military defences along the coast of South Walls. Men were stationed here throughout the 1800s, despite the towers and battery never seeing enemy action.

10 Apr to 30 Sept:
Visit is by guided tour (10.15am, 12 noon & 2.30pm), and you must book online in advance to guarantee entry.

1 Oct to 9 April: Closed

Skara Brae Neolithic Village

We recommend booking online in advance for the best price and to guarantee entry.

1 Apr to 30 Sept:
Daily, 9.30am to 5.30pm
Last entry 4.45pm

1 Oct to 31 Mar:
Daily, 10am to 4pm
Last entry 3.15pm

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