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Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre

Viewforth | Orkney, Burray Village KW17 2SY, Scotland
+44 1856 731255
Review Highlights
A grand place

Took my 7 year old son here over the summer. Driven past many times and always meant to stop. So... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Kirkwall, United Kingdom
Lovely visit

As a lover of dinosaurs I was eager to see the fossils but enjoyed the history and heritage of... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Lusy S
Burghead, United Kingdom
via mobile
Read all 139 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
  • Excellent74%
  • Very good24%
  • Average1%
  • Poor0%
  • Terrible1%
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All hours
Hours Today: 10:00 - 17:00
Viewforth | Orkney, Burray Village KW17 2SY, Scotland
+44 1856 731255
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Reviews (139)
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1 - 10 of 137 reviews

Reviewed 1 week ago

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 1 week ago 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 2 weeks ago

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 2 weeks ago

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 20 August 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 18 August 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 17 August 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 6 August 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
Reviewed 26 July 2017

Stopped on the way to Tomb of the Eagles and spent much longer here than planned. Well displayed exhibits with great information and a good collection of fossils. There is also a lovely exhibit regarding the Churchill barriers and I particularly liked the stories from...More

Thank Topsy11
OFHC, Manager at Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre, responded to this reviewResponded 2 August 2017

Thank you for your comments. It is amazing how time can pass if you get engrossed reading the various newspapers and books we have in our Archive Room.

Reviewed 23 July 2017

A lovely museum, filled with beautiful fossils and other interesting exhibits. We also enjoyed a coffee and cake in the cafe. I imagine it would be a nice place for lunch.

Thank lounewc
OFHC, Manager at Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre, responded to this reviewResponded 2 August 2017

Nice to hear you enjoyed your visit and the coffee & cake. For lunch we offer home-made soups, sandwiches and platters using local fish and cheese.

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