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Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre

Viewforth | Orkney, Burray Village KW17 2SY, Scotland
+44 1856 731255
Review Highlights
Excellent trip through geological time.

Very well thought out set of displays covering the geology of the orkney islands. Super examples of... read more

Reviewed November 7, 2017
John C
Tillicoultry, United Kingdom
A great local museum

A superb mix of fossils, geological specimens and local memorabilia. Well worth two hours or more... read more

Reviewed October 13, 2017
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Read all 140 reviews
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A recent visitor described the Orkney Fossil & Heritage Centre as a "hidden gem". Housed in converted farm buildings on the island of Burray, the Centre has an intriguing collection of fossils from Orkney and around the world, including some rare and beautifully preserved specimens. There are also local heritage displays, including a fascinating exhibition about the construction of the Churchill Barriers. The collections were donated to the people of Orkney by local builder Leslie Firth who, with his father Ernest, developed an interest after finding fossils at their quarry in Sandwick, West Mainland. Recently updated exhibitions downstairs showcase the extensive fossil and rock collection, with detailed information and illustrations of 380 million year old fish! Ernest firth was also a great collector of heritage objects. His interest was not in fine antiques or valuable rarities, but in the objects used in everyday life by Orcadians. His extensive hoard includes furniture, household china, cameras and tools, providing an intimate portrait of life in Orkney in the last century. The heritage galleries have been upgraded over the winter of 2015-16, with new information about boatbuilding in Burray and exhibits about life in Orkney during the First and Second World Wars, including a feature about the other 'Italian Chapel' built at POW Camp 34 on Burray. Heritage Tearoom New for 2016, the Heritage Tearoom is still run by the local community, but has taken on a new look! We have adopted a heritage theme, with decor including some of the Museum's heritage exhibits and old fashioned uniforms to match. The Heritage Tearoom serves good home-made food, a range of hearty soups, local produce and delicious home-bakes in a warm and friendly environment with lovely views. Larger groups are best booking in advance, and we are happy to cater for special diets - we provide a range of gluten-free options on our menu, as well as special Orkney dishes. Well-stocked gift shop selling books, toys, fossils, jewellery, Orkney music CDs and a wide range of locally made crafts. Free wi-fi available
  • Excellent73%
  • Very good25%
  • Average1%
  • Poor0%
  • Terrible1%
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Hours Today: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Viewforth | Orkney, Burray Village KW17 2SY, Scotland
+44 1856 731255
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1 - 10 of 138 reviews

Reviewed November 7, 2017

Very well thought out set of displays covering the geology of the orkney islands. Super examples of fossils and minerals from around the world with sensibly priced gift shop offering the enthusiast a wide range of books, fossils and other items. Staff also most welcoming...More

Thank John C
OFHC, Manager at Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre, responded to this reviewResponded December 10, 2017

Thank you for your lovely review. We are delighted that you enjoyed the geology and fossil galleries. For visitors who may be more interested in social history the Heritage galleries upstairs cover a wide range of local history and the 'Building the Barriers' exhibition (ground...More

Reviewed October 13, 2017

A superb mix of fossils, geological specimens and local memorabilia. Well worth two hours or more of exploring. Then the cafe and it's home baking will finish off your visit perfectly.

Thank CMEmbra
Reviewed September 18, 2017

Took my 7 year old son here over the summer. Driven past many times and always meant to stop. So glad we finally did. An excellent little facility well worth a visit and the food in the cafe was lovely too. We'll definitely be back.

Thank LAM791
Reviewed September 15, 2017 via mobile

As a lover of dinosaurs I was eager to see the fossils but enjoyed the history and heritage of Orkney just as much - especially how the Churchill barriers affected village life.

Thank Lusy S
Reviewed September 8, 2017

Much better than it sounds. Imaginative and up-to-date displays plus excellent cafe. Don't miss the glowing rocks. (Our 3-yr-old liked them so much we went back to them, oh, about 12 times.)

Thank Gwandryas
Reviewed September 6, 2017

This is a good visit for a rainy day, but a good visit at any time. Great exhibition of fossils from Orkney and round the world. Also a display on building the Churchill barriers in world war II. Upstairs is a display of local history....More

Thank peediequine
Reviewed August 20, 2017 via mobile

Good cafe with nice selection of cakes and soup/sandwiches. Fast service despite being busy with tourists. Food is reasonably priced. Plenty of parking and easy to find on the main road between Burray and Kirkwall.

Thank Claire I
Reviewed August 17, 2017 via mobile

Great visit. Fascinating collection. Interesting exhibitions too. Lovely wee shop. Had lunch in the cafe. Afternoon tea was delicious as was the ploughman's and excellently priced.

Thank JillAdventures
Reviewed August 17, 2017

Great variety of fossils and rocks also various Orkney history themes on display, great place to spend an hour or two also excellent cafe for lunch or a coffee and cake well worth avisit

Thank jamesaj2017
Reviewed August 6, 2017

A fascinating way to spend a couple of hours. The Churchill Barriers display, the fossil gallery and the local history/ WW2 section are all most interesting and informative. Good for adults and children alike. And the volunteer-staffed tearoom is excellent. We had lunch before heading...More

Thank AnnieB2116
OFHC, Manager at Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre, responded to this reviewResponded December 10, 2017

Thank you for leaving us a review and apologies for the delay in posting a response. We are delighted that you enjoyed your visit and hopefully will see you again next season?!

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