Brough Of Birsay
Brough Of Birsay
4.5
Historic Walking Areas • Islands
Read more
Write a review
About
This site is closed, but the grounds are open to visitors. Reach this very special tidal island by causeway to explore Pictish, Norse and medieval remains. Brooches, rings and dress pins found on the Brough of Birsay suggest that it was a Pictish power centre.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
325 reviews
Excellent
243
Very good
73
Average
10
Poor
0
Terrible
0

mjm2107
Glasgow, UK288 contributions
May 2021 • Family
We visited Brough of Birsay as we wanted to see puffins which nest here from May to July/August. The Brough is accessed by a causeway, so make sure you check tidal times before visiting. As well as the puffins (the main point of our visit) there are the remains of an ancient settlement, which will be of interest to anyone who likes the history of Orkney.

Definitely worth a visit
Written June 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

DundeeElaine
London, UK24 contributions
May 2021
It's a great walk and you can park right out near the start of the path. There are a few steps down to the beach and you need to walk across a section at each end of the walkway with big stones so it wouldn't be suitable for anyone with mobility issues. Once you reach the island it's an easy to walk path (with an incline) after going up a few steps (we walked through the viking village). We checked the tides and went half an hour before low tide as we weren't sure how long the window for going over would be but it looked like a fairly long window in mid-May. The walk up to the Lighthouse was very windy on the day we visited but it was a clear day and views are wonderful.
Written May 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Karen M
Kirkwall, UK569 contributions
Dec 2020 • Friends
It's a great walk to the Brough, with views across Birsay Bay & back to the mainland once you get there.
CARE - check the tide times before you cross - this can be done online or at the local Palace Stores or Birsay Bay Tearooms.
The causeway appears at low tide - take care it can be very slippy but take time to look into the small pools that get created.
Once across you are straight into an historic settlement site & can wander around the ruins. Follow the paths up, either way around the Brough, & ascend to the lighthouse & steep cliffs. These cliffs house an assortment of birds, & provide excellent nesting grounds including the very cute puffins.
You get an amazing view back to the mainland & coastline of Orkney, sit & enjoy the view.
Scour the sandy beach either side of the causeway & search for the tiny Cowie shells or Groatie buckets 😂
Written December 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

amci
Aberdeenshire, UK508 contributions
Sep 2022
Nice small island accessible 2-3 hours either side of low tide. We went across 2.5 hours before the published low tide time and the path was well clear.
It wasn't a great day weather wise so not much of a view and hardly any birds, we were too late in the year for puffins.
Written September 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Angela R
Grahamstown74 contributions
Sep 2021
Just so much to see with the area, wildlife and history, well worth a visit. Went twice during our week on Orkney as didnt check the tide times on our first visit so went back when the causeway was open to walk across. Well worth organising to walk across to the island but it is popular so the parking spaces so fill up. Wonderful views over to Rousay from the cliff walk. Lots of birds everywhere
Written October 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MalLondon
London262 contributions
Aug 2022
Stunning small island, accessible via a causeway when the tide is out. I checked tide times beforehand at the Kirkwall travel centre to make sure I could walk across to the Broch.

Once on the island, interesting remains of a Pict/Nourse village. A short walk up a small hill to the lighthouse for some fabulous views of the Broch, its causeway and the mainland.

I visited with my small dog and we both had a lovely time.

If you're travelling here by public transport, check timings beforehand as otherwise you might get stuck (I nearly did)!

Definitely visit this!
Written September 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

tomalli68
Falkirk, UK601 contributions
May 2022 • Couples
Fortunately got the chance to visit whilst in Birsay. Make sure you check the tide times to ensure you can cross the causeway. Remnants of an old settlement on crossing. Short walk uphill to the lighthouse and cliffs where birds nest.
Written May 5, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ElenaLM123
Aberdeen, UK18 contributions
Jul 2022
Extremely interesting ruins of a Viking settlement with great views. Check the tides before you visit, as you can cross only at low tide. Good for kids. Our teenage son who is interested in vikings thoroughly enjoyed it. Visit is free.
Written August 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

charlie s
32 contributions
Sep 2021
Before or after you have visited Skara Brae etc, you must visit this island. It is possible to cross dry shod 2.5 hours either side of low tide. It is easy to check on tide times. The causeway is wide and not slippery. The lighthouse is small but imposing. The coastal views are very good too. The Viking settlement is very well presented.
Written September 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

fluteandvoice
United Kingdom171 contributions
Aug 2020 • Solo
One of my favourite spots on Orkney. Check the tide charts online and cross to walk the whole island, a wide range of seas birds and the Brough. Stunning sun sets after a clear day.
Written August 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Showing results 1-10 of 291
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

Brough Of Birsay - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Brough Of Birsay

We recommend booking Brough Of Birsay tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 1 Brough Of Birsay tours on Tripadvisor