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Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre

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Address: Viewforth | Orkney, Burray Village KW17 2SY, Scotland
Phone Number: +44 1856 731255
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed now
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Sun - Sat 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

A recent visitor described the Orkney Fossil & Heritage Centre as a...

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

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 110 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 80
  • 27
    Very good
  • 1
  • 0
  • 1
Shortbread to die for!

Our tour bus stopped her to let us have a cuppa and some shortbread. It was DELICIOUS and I would have bought the whole shop if it wasn't hidden out the back for the next am... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 4 weeks ago
Kellie I
via mobile
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110 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 109: English reviews
Level Contributor
161 reviews
80 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Our tour bus stopped her to let us have a cuppa and some shortbread. It was DELICIOUS and I would have bought the whole shop if it wasn't hidden out the back for the next am customers. We didn't have time to visit the fossil Centre however so can't comment on that.

Thank Kellie I
Level Contributor
59 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

This turned out to be a fascinating little museum a good selection of interesting facts and data about the formation of the earth, the rocks and fossils and a display about the Churchill Barriers. Well worth a visit. The tea room also excellent. Lovely cakes and scones at reasonable prices served by friendly staff.

Thank foggy63
Rayleigh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
107 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

An eclectic mix - the centre exhibits fossils along with the construction of the Churchill barriers following the sinking of HMS Royal Oak, in Scappa flow by the German U boat U47. Upstairs to the centre has exhibits of furniture with some local history and WW11 militaria. There are tea rooms within the centre and a gift shop. Nice little... More 

Thank Half-a-sandwich
Derbyshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
99 reviews
63 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 5, 2016 via mobile

This was an out of hours tour for a refreshment break but museum was included. A lovely little museum.tea room lovely. Staff friendly and welcoming. Shop has crafts produced by local people.

Thank jeanf438
Basingstoke, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 1, 2016 via mobile

The staff here are always so friendly and welcoming. And the food is brilliant too! The museum is lovely and very informative. I've been a lot here before and intend to be back for many more visits in the future.

Thank Astweed
Kingston-upon-Hull, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 29, 2016

Didn't go up to the museum part, just a bite to eat and a look around the gift shop. Had soup and a sandwich which was lovely and then a Sandi Sand Sunday which was delicious

Thank Ima16
Troon, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
54 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2016 via mobile

I found it interesting as many of the fossils were from a local areas so it was good to see the animals that were present in the area.

Thank MrPBSmith
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 12, 2016

The Fossil and Heritage Centre is a community run attraction on Burray and well worth a visit - either for the centre itself or a visit to the tearoom. I've been several times now and it keeps getting better. The tearoom is very well run with attentive, friendly staff and great cakes. Rare to see a choice of soups of... More 

1 Thank Jim M
Jedburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
232 reviews
110 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 10, 2016 via mobile

Great little place, step back in history to explore the fossils from here and further afield.....even crystals on display. Heritage space again takes you into the interesting space of Orkneys past. Great little cafe and shop to finish it off

Thank KB1285
West Palm Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
565 reviews
301 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 192 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 30, 2016

Besides an interesting and informative museum, there is a lovely gift shop and also a quaint tearoom. My friend and I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon snack there.

Thank Linda M

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