Attractions

Top Choice Archaeological Site in Rousay

Midhowe Cairn & Broch

Six miles from the ferry, mighty Midhowe Cairn has been dubbed the 'Great Ship of Death'. Built around 3500 BC and enormous, it's divided into compartments, in which the remains of 25 people were found. Covered by a…
Top Choice Archaeological Site in Papa Westray

Knap of Howar

By the seashore, this sturdy stone-built farmhouse and storeroom are solidly built testimony to crofting life on the island...5500 years ago. It's one of the best-preserved neolithic houses in northern Europe and an…
Top Choice Castle in Westray

Noltland Castle

A half-mile west of Pierowall stands this sturdy ruined towerhouse, built in the 16th century by Gilbert Balfour, aide to Mary, Queen of Scots. The castle is super-atmospheric and bristles with shot holes, part of t…
Island in Rousay

Wyre

Just off Rousay, and accessed from the same ferry, Wyre was the domain of the Viking Baron Kolbein Hruga (known as ‘Cubbie Roo’). The substantial ruins of his castle, built around 1145, stand dramatically above the …
Archaeological Site in Rousay

Prehistoric Sites

The major archaeological sites are clearly labelled from the road ringing the island. Heading west from the ferry, you soon come to Taversoe Tuick, an intriguing burial cairn constructed on two levels, with separate…
Lighthouse in North Ronaldsay

North Ronaldsay Lighthouse

At the north end of the island, this lighthouse is a Stevenson family special, over 100ft high. A visitor centre and licensed cafe are here, as are bikes for hire and a gift shop selling the woollens made from yarn …
Nature Reserve in Westray

Noup Head

This bird reserve at Westray's northwestern tip is a dramatic area of sea cliffs with vast numbers of breeding seabirds from April to July. You can walk here along the clifftops from a car park, passing the impressi…
Museum in Westray

Westray Heritage Centre

This has displays on local history, nature dioramas and archaeological finds, with some famous neolithic carvings (including the 5000-year-old ‘Westray Wife’). These small sandstone figurines are the oldest known de…
Archaeological Site in Sanday

Quoyness Chambered Tomb

There are several archaeological sites on Sanday, the most impressive being the Quoyness chambered tomb, similar to Maeshowe and dating from the 3rd millennium BC. It has triple walls, a main chamber and six smaller…
Museum in Sanday

Sanday Heritage Centre

This museum in the former temperance hall has intriguing displays on various aspects of island history, including fishing, the wars, archaeology and shipwrecks. In an adjacent field, a typical croft house is preserv…