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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 99 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 72
  • 24
    Very good
  • 1
  • 0
  • 1
Delightful tearooms

The tearooms are run by volunteers and they all did very well. We enjoyed platters of orkney cheeses and the best platter looked to be the fish platter that my son really enjoyed... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed yesterday
Horndean, United Kingdom
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99 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 98: English reviews
Horndean, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
113 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

The tearooms are run by volunteers and they all did very well. We enjoyed platters of orkney cheeses and the best platter looked to be the fish platter that my son really enjoyed. The restaurant is visited by coaches and two that had been before we arrived had used up all of the speciality bread. Certainly very worth a visit... More 

Thank PeterPietro
Dorchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
37 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

After two visits to this little cluster of buildings, with its ample car parking, I can recommend it. It consists of a café, gift shop, history centre and fossil collection - the history of the Churchill Barriers which join these south-easterly islands together, to give vehicular access, is well illustrated and explained. It was formerly owned by a private individual... More 

Thank anything1
Shapinsay, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Had a day out on Mainland Orkney with a friend. We had lunch at the Fossil Centre in Burray. The choice and quality of food on the menu was excellent and prices very reasonable, hard to believe it is staffed and run by volunteers . The Museum/Heritage Centre is well worth a visit with plenty to see. The gift shop... More 

Thank Shepherdess02
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
40 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

This is a fun spot to check out, perfect for a rainy day. Or kids LOVE it. Not cheap but a fun visit!

1 Thank AmberB460
Kirkwall, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Museum with locally found and nationally found fossils, Beautifully laid out and interesting. Upstairs is a museum with local history and wartime information. There is a lovely wee gift shop and café downstairs, with delicious home bakes ! Easy parking, Good access . A grand way to spend a wet morning :)

1 Thank Mara T
Chichester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
46 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 weeks ago

Interesting display of fossils and rocks. Good amount of information and cleanly and neatly displayed. Usefully next to a cafe !

1 Thank Janet T
Torpoint, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
215 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2016

This small café has a warm welcome and elegance from the staff who wear traditional waiting 'uniforms'. We enjoyed a light lunch - smoked fish platter and a cheese platter. Enjoyed both enormously as well as enjoying the delightful service. We will return!

1 Thank Scotuk
Level Contributor
271 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 145 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2016 via mobile

Stopped off here for the cafe at lunchtime. Staff in traditional dress. Pleasant and polite. Tried the soup and Sandwich which was good. Cakes are nice too. Recommended

1 Thank EBUman
Telford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2016

A fascinating and most informative place to visit clean toilets and a lovely old world café well worth a visit

1 Thank Mickpeep
St. Helier, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2016

I am biased because they fascinate me - as I collected them as a 9 year old in west eire This is a remarkable museum full of almost ever fossil known. Ammonites and Trilobites - it's just breathtaking! The museum of life in Orkney upstairs is especially interesting The shop is truly excellent Full praise indeed to you all -... More 

1 Thank Edward M

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