Standing Stones of Stenness

Holiday Travel Guide
Standing Stones of Stenness featuring a monument, general coastal views and heritage elements

Gain insight into the rich Neolithic heritage of the Orkney Islands at this ancient monument, which consists of a circle of megaliths.

Discover ancient history at the Standing Stones of Stenness. This collection of monoliths forms one of the oldest henge sites in the British Isles and is an ideal starting point to explore the prehistoric legacy of the Orkney Islands. The stunning landscape and diverse wildlife provide additional appeal to this iconic Orcadian landmark.

The stones of Stenness were raised about 5,400 years ago in a henge formation, with a ditch forming an ellipse around the site. Like many similar stone circles in the U.K., the origin and exact purpose of the monument is shrouded in mystery, although most experts suggest it was likely used for religious observances or early astronomy.

Take a guided tour of the site, led by one of Historic Scotland's rangers. The tour leads visitors to Stenness and the neighboring Ring of Brodgar, as well as through the surrounding nature reserve. Watch for otters, hares and several different bird species which inhabit this area. The tours run every day in June, July and August in the early afternoon.

Look for the impressive Watchstone monolith, which stands separately from the ring. The 19-foot (5.6-meter) stone marks the entrance to the strip of land between two lochs, where the Ring of Brodgar sits. Visit this famous Neolithic henge, where 27 stones form a perfect circle.

Walk north of the stone circle to reach the Barnhouse Settlement, an archaeological excavation of a Neolithic village. Inspect the remains of 15 ancient buildings, the biggest of which is believed to have been a meeting room. Enjoy the wild, windswept landscape and admire views across Loch Stenness and out onto the hills of Hoy in the distance.

The stones at Stenness and Brodgar are part of the UNESCO-listed site, the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, which also includes the excavated burial mound at Maeshowe and the prehistoric village of Skara Brae. For a more comprehensive understanding of Orkney’s Neolithic heritage, be sure to see all four monuments. The Standing Stones of Stenness are less than 10 minutes away from Stromness by car. Use the site’s available parking.

Top Trending Hotels Near Standing Stones of Stenness

Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast
Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast
3 out of 5
Lindisfarne, Stromness, Scotland
The price is £80 per night from 1 Nov to 1 Nov
Situated in a rural location, this bed & breakfast is steps away from Mainland and Standing Stones of Stenness. Stromness Ferry Terminal and Piers Art Centre ...
4.8/5 Exceptional! (36 reviews)
"What a great property! The house is very homely, welcoming and comfortable. The Pepper family were great. Breakfast was very tasty with an excellent selection. I would absolutely recommend the Lindisfarne B&B."

Reviewed on 1 Oct 2021

Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast
Ferry Inn Stromness
Ferry Inn Stromness
3 out of 5
10 John Street, Orkney, Stromness, Scotland
The price is £130 per night from 17 Oct to 17 Oct
Located in the heart of Stromness, this hotel is steps away from Standing Stones of Stenness and Piers Art Centre. Stromness Museum and Maes Howe are also within ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (89 reviews)
"Convenient location right next to ferry. There is public parking next door which is free from 5pm to 9am, but actually there is one hour free parking, so in effect it is free from 4pm to 9am or 5pm to 10am. Staff were nice and room was clean and comfortable. Breakfast was amazing (particularly the ..."

Reviewed on 23 Aug 2021

Ferry Inn Stromness
Standing Stones Hotel
Standing Stones Hotel
3.5 out of 5
Stenness, Stromness, Scotland
Situated in Stromness, this hotel is steps away from Mainland and Standing Stones of Stenness. Maes Howe and Ring of Brogdar are also within 2 miles (3 km).
4.4/5 Excellent! (8 reviews)
Dog friendly, clean & well kept.
"The team at Standing Stones could not do enough for us. They were attentive and friendly. The hotel was in nice condition, the room was stylishly decorated and clean. The hotel was accommodating to our dog. Highly recommend."

Reviewed on 2 Mar 2020

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The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
2 out of 5
The Pierhead, Stromness, Scotland
The price is £64 per night from 10 Nov to 10 Nov
The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
Ferry Inn Stromness
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The price is £130 per night from 17 Oct to 17 Oct
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Standing Stones Hotel
Standing Stones Hotel
3.5 out of 5
Stenness, Stromness, Scotland
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Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast
Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast
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The price is £80 per night from 1 Nov to 1 Nov
Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast
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
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3 out of 5
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3.5 out of 5
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The Stromness Hotel
The Stromness Hotel
3 out of 5
The Pierhead, Stromness, Scotland
The Stromness 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.