Skara Brae

Holiday Travel Guide
Skara Brae showing heritage architecture and heritage elements

Discover the secrets of Orkney’s earliest inhabitants and find out what life was like during prehistoric times at this beautifully preserved ancient village.

Learn about prehistoric life at Skara Brae, a small settlement that, despite being thousands of years old, still retains its original shape and structure. The buildings here form one of the best preserved sites of its kind in the British Isles. The layout of the ancient village is still intact, with several of the houses even displaying their original furnishings.

Historians believe that Skara Brae is about 5,000 years old, which means that a community existed here before the pyramids were built. The site was discovered in 1850 when a storm revealed the remnants of the village beneath coastal sand dunes. Stop at the visitor center to read more about the history of this remarkable heritage destination and see artifacts unearthed during archaeological digs. Interactive displays and quizzes help visitors engage with the story of the village.

Explore houses that were once inhabited by Stone Age Orcadians. Fireplaces, beds and even shelves still stand in the stone-walled buildings. Venture inside the replica house that was created to provide an idea of how these houses looked in prehistoric times.

Not all the buildings in this Neolithic settlement were residences. Head to House Eight, which is believed to have been a workshop as it doesn't feature any of the furniture of the domestic structures. Two bodies found in House Seven, one of the best preserved buildings on the site, indicate that it could have been a prison or tomb.

The burial mound at Maeshowe and the stone circles at Brodgar and Stenness are also part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO site. Visit all four major monuments to find out more about the ancient communities of the archipelago.

Skara Brae is about 15 minutes from Stromness by car and about 30 minutes from Kirkwall. Find a gift shop, café and parking at the site. Opening times are shorter in winter. If you plan to visit other key sites on the islands, consider purchasing an Orkney Explorer Pass, as this combination ticket provides access to Skara Brae as well as other attractions such as Maeshowe and the Bishop's Palace.

Top things to do in Skara Brae

Top Trending Hotels Near Skara Brae

The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
2 out of 5
The Pierhead, Stromness, Scotland
The price is £50 per night from 7 Dec to 7 Dec
Situated in Stromness, this hotel is steps away from Standing Stones of Stenness, Mainland and Piers Art Centre. Stromness Ferry Terminal and Stromness Museum ...
4/5 Very Good! (3 reviews)
Friendly hotel. Everything required was supplied.
"Quite a short notice booking. The hotel was very reasonably priced but had everything required for the stay."

Reviewed on 18 Nov 2021

The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
3 bedroom accommodation in Skaill, near Stromness
3 bedroom accommodation in Skaill, near Stromness
Skaill Bay Sandwick, Stromness, SCT
This family-friendly Stromness cottage is within a 5-minute walk of Mainland and Bay of Skaill. Skara Brae and Standing Stones of Stenness are also within 2 ...
4/5 Very Good! (1 review)
Great accomodation
"Enjoyed our stay, great location"

Reviewed on 30 Nov 2021

3 bedroom accommodation in Skaill, near Stromness
Smithfield Hotel
Smithfield Hotel
3 out of 5
Dounby, Orkney, Dounby, Scotland
Situated in Dounby, this inn is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Mainland and within 6 miles (10 km) of Corrigall Farm Museum and Skara Brae. Bay of Skaill and Standing ...
4.9/5 Exceptional! (9 reviews)
"Great location in quiet village. Central and easy to get to tourist attractions. Excellent restaurant with great food and reasonable prices."

Reviewed on 5 Oct 2021

Smithfield Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Skara Brae

Skara Brae

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Top Hotel Deals

The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
2 out of 5
The Pierhead, Stromness, Scotland
The price is £50 per night from 7 Dec to 7 Dec
The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
3 bedroom accommodation in Skaill, near Stromness
3 bedroom accommodation in Skaill, near Stromness
Skaill Bay Sandwick, Stromness, SCT
3 bedroom accommodation in Skaill, near Stromness
Smithfield Hotel
Smithfield Hotel
3 out of 5
Dounby, Orkney, Dounby, Scotland
Smithfield Hotel
Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast
Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast
3 out of 5
Lindisfarne, Stromness, Scotland
The price is £85 per night from 15 Dec to 15 Dec
Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast
Stromness Apartments
Stromness Apartments
3.5 out of 5
Milldam, Cauldhame Road, Orkney, Stromness, Scotland
Stromness Apartments
Standing Stones Hotel
Standing Stones Hotel
3.5 out of 5
Stenness, Stromness, Scotland
Standing Stones Hotel
The Royal Hotel Stromness
The Royal Hotel Stromness
3 out of 5
55-57 Victoria St, Stromness, Scotland
The price is £110 per night from 9 Dec to 9 Dec
The Royal Hotel Stromness
Ferry Inn Stromness
Ferry Inn Stromness
3 out of 5
10 John Street, Orkney, Stromness, Scotland
Ferry Inn Stromness
Charming 3 bedroom family home close to Stromness
Charming 3 bedroom family home close to Stromness
Bu Road, Stromness, SCT
Charming 3 bedroom family home close to Stromness
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.