Tomb of the Eagles

Tomb of the Eagles, South Ronaldsay

Tomb of the Eagles
4.5
Ancient Ruins • History Museums
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
About
Perched above the dramatic South Ronaldsay cliffs, the Isbister Chambered Cairn - better known today as the ‘Tomb of the Eagles’ - is one of Orkney’s top archaeological sites. Discovered by chance by local farmer Ronnie Simison in the 1950s, the Stone Age tomb revealed an amazing collection of bones and artefacts, placed here some 5,000 years ago. Roughly half a mile inland from the tomb is a Bronze Age site. It comprises a mound of burnt stone and the remains of a stone building, named after the ‘Liddle’ farm where Ronnie uncovered them. Excavations at the site have led to important discoveries about how people lived and worked in Orkney 3,000 years ago.Enjoy a unique ‘hands-on’ experience at the Visitor Centre, where you can see, and enjoy the privilege of handling some of the original artefacts found at the sites. During the main visitor season, fascinating displays and daily talks offer insights into the lives of these Stone Age and Bronze Age people. Explore some of the questions which remain unanswered. The Gift Shop offers a wide range of items, including many local crafts, books, hot and cold drinks and Orkney ice cream. There is a stunning walk from the Visitor Centre to the tomb, via the Bronze Age site - approximately 1 mile along a well-marked path. The maritime heath and grassland is alive in the summer with birds and wild flowers. More than 50 years after Ronnie Simison came across these remarkable sites, his family invite you to come and enjoy these well-loved visitor attractions.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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Popular mentions

4.5
495 reviews
Excellent
335
Very good
108
Average
32
Poor
11
Terrible
9

matthew l
Woodbridge, UK308 contributions
Closed permanently sign
Jun 2021 • Couples
Driving down the various roads to the Tomb of Eagles to find it is permanently closed. Sign at entrance gate as in the picture. So can't comment on how good or bad it is!
Written 15 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Anthea D
2 contributions
Very interesting and informative
Apr 2021 • Couples
We came in 2005 and loved it. I had a picture of myself with the man who discovered it and we are coming back to Orkney on April 28th for 10 days with our daughter and hope it will be open. We came in June 2005
Written 22 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

dingyding
Edinburgh, UK5 contributions
Always a joy
Dec 2019 • Friends
We visit the tomb of the eagles visitor centre and sites whenever we have family or friends stay. The staff are always very welcoming and knowledgeable. It’s nice to see it has kept the small family feel over the years.
Written 18 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thanks very much for all the stars! Delighted to hear that you enjoy repeat visits.
Written 19 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

angel
United Kingdom6 contributions
Great trip to the edge of the world
Mar 2020 • Solo
Really enjoyed my trip to the Tomb of the Eagles. Kathleen showed me round the exhibition and she was friendly and informative. I then walked out to the two sites they have there. As it is March it was a bit wet so wellies are good although not essential. Also you have to crawl into the tomb so don’t wear your best clothes! The setting is amazing - feels
like you are right on the edge of the world. Very atmospheric and good to ponder on the lives which have gone before us. the cliff side wall is also lovely.
Written 7 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thanks Andy. Delighted to hear you enjoyed your visit. If wellies or waterproofs are required we can supply those to borrow.
Written 19 March 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

emuslushy
London, UK335 contributions
Fascinating and worthwhile
Aug 2019
I wasn't sure what to expect as I'm not overly into history, but this came highly recommended.

I found the talk about the tomb and the objects really fascinating and it was aimed at "joe public", not just those who are interested in this subject. Got to handle some of the objects and this set the tone. The second talk was also very interesting.

The walk out to the tomb was great and we saw the burnt mound aswell.

Access into the tomb was by either crawling or lying on a trolley and pulling yourself in. Once in, was able to stand up and see the tomb. Was really interesting.
Written 31 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thanks very much for your 5 star review...it's very much appreciated and makes all the spring-cleaning chores worthwhile! Delighted that the level of information offered was to your liking. We do try to tailor the tours to suit the audience. With 3 rooms covering several time periods from the Mesolithic through to the Bronze Age and the coastal walk to the sites, there is something for everyone.
Written 1 February 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

KatyT
8 contributions
Highlight of my visit!
Oct 2019
This is the one place that brought me to Orkney, and I wasn't disappointed. The talk in the Visitor Centre was fascinating, and we actually got to handle some real bones from the site. As I'd got there early and heard the first part of the talk, I was bale to slip out and walk to the tomb on my own. It met all my expectations, and there were even seal pups on the beach on the way back! Fantastic day out!
Written 14 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
We can't ask for more! Delighted to hear that the experience lived up to your expectations. The artefacts and tomb seem to hold a special 'magic' for many visitors. Your review is very much appreciated- thankyou.
Written 16 November 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

tassieNigel
40 contributions
Visit of a Lifetime
Oct 2019
Anyone who comes to the Orkneys and doesn't visit this site is making a huge mistake.
The talk at the museum couldn't be bettered and gave us a solid grounding in preparation for the tomb visit itself. I'd easily regard this site as one of the most memorable of our entire UK trip and one I'll never forget.
The tomb itself at it's cliff-top location didn't disappoint, and I'm pleased I took lots of pictures inside.
For a better scenic experience, take the sea-cliff route to return to your car and make sure your footwear is sturdy enough for the hour round trip walk.
Written 2 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Sounds like sound advice from a very happy visitor! Anyone who arrives wearing unsuitable footwear can be knitted out with socks and wellies. Thank you so much for the stars and wise words.
Written 3 November 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Roaming Our Way
Fairplay, CO725 contributions
Outstanding museum
Oct 2019
This is probably one of the best museums we have ever visited. The way they walk visitors through the life cycle of the site, even allowing you to hold pottery pieces that are 5,000 years old, is absolutely wonderful. The people are friendly, knowledgeable and engaging even with young children. It is a bit of a walk to the site so wear comfortable shoes that are waterproof, can be a bit muddy. If you are in the area, this is a "Must See"!
Written 19 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Delighted you have taken the time to give such a glowing review of your visit. It certainly is wonderful to be able to handle artefacts made and used thousands of years ago...brings history to life. Thank you very much.
Written 1 November 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Milton G
Hexham, UK22 contributions
Great tour and location
Oct 2019
This is the second time we've been. The first time, the visitor centre was not open (this was December 2008) and we just went to the site itself. This time, we were able to go to the visitor centre where you get a very informative and interesting tour, spanning two exhibits, and are able to handle artefacts found on the site and ask questions. There's also a third room with more information about the historical perspective of the site and how it was discovered and excavated. The guides have first-hand knowledge of this. The visitor centre really puts the tomb into perspective and after that you get the walk to both sites, where you can get close to the cliffs or stay behind a wire fence if the weather is bad. The tomb itself is pretty small but kids will love pulling themselves in and out using the trolley. We found it well worth the money and easy to reach from our B&B at the north of the island; it's well-signposted and there's a good car park. The visit will take up a few hours so we'd recommend allowing plenty of time.
Written 13 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thank you very much for letting people know of your experience. As all the interpretation is all given in the Visitor centre, going to the sites beforehand, is not advised. It is difficult to guess the various historical uses of the buildings without prior knowledge. Delighted to hear that you came back and enjoyed the full experience.
Written 1 November 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Tracey D
Sydney, Australia17 contributions
Don’t bypass Tomb Of The Eagles
Oct 2018
Well worth visiting. Situated in a beautiful place overlooking the sea. Walk across fields with archaeological features to see on the way. You can enter the tomb if you wish by lying on a trolly and pull yourself in with a rope. I had the place to myself in windy overcast conditions & it felt magical. The walk to the site is great for photography. There is a small museum at the entry gate which was very interesting and contains artefacts they retrieved from the site. I bought a years membership of Historic Scotland before I went which also gave me the magazines , which was well worth it for me & my husband as we visited many of the historic places for free.
Written 27 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thanks Tracey for your lovely review and 5 stars. Can I please just clarify for readers that we are a privately run attraction and not part of the Historic Scotland membership.
Written 29 September 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Tomb of the Eagles

Tomb of the Eagles is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:00 - 12:00