Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement

Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement

Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement
4.5
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Monday
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Tuesday
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Wednesday
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Thursday
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Friday
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Saturday
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Sunday
9:30 AM - 5:30 PM
About
Visitors can explore the grounds of Jarlshof, but our visitor centre and facilities are currently closed. The Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse settlements in Shetland are one of the most important and inspirational archaeological sites in Scotland. Jarlsholf is located at Sumburgh Head near the southern tip of Mainland Shetland. This extraordinary site has a complex of ancient settlements which cover more than 4,000 years of human history. You will be amazed to find such a range of archaeological treasures in one place, including late Neolithic houses, a Bronze Age village, an Iron Age broch and wheelhouses, a Norse longhouse, a medieval farmstead and a 16th century laird’s house. The fascinating interpretation centre houses a hands-on display of local materials traditionally used on site including wool, stone, slate and bone. Visitors can also learn all about prehistoric life and history of the site.
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  • wishiwasonholiday68
    134 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Ancient site in a beautiful location
    A really well designed site which you can use an audio guide to navigate. Remains of ancient houses,a broch, Viking long houses to a laird’s house demonstrate a layered history of site use. Would recommend.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 1 August 2023
  • Barry and Nicol... G
    Reading, United Kingdom1,185 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A historic site, a must see.
    Wow what a prehistoric site this is. Over 4000 years ago people lived here at the Jarlshof site. The audio tour explains the site as you walk around the numbered boards. You are truly walking through a historic site. Park in the car park off the hotel and walk down the path. Well worth the £7.50 entry fee.
    Visited August 2023
    Written 27 August 2023
  • Elizabeth S
    Derbyshire, United Kingdom82 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A really interesting evening
    My husband and I booked on to an evening tour of Jahlshof. Our guide was John, and he was so knowledgeable about the site and its history. You could get quite confused, as there are a number of buildings of quite different ages on the site, but he made it all very clear. At the end of the tour, we went back to the reception building, where John kindly made us a cup of tea and we could talk further about Jahlshof. Not only is the site really interesting, it's also in a beautiful location overlooking the sea and Sumburgh Head.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 11 September 2023
  • Cindy P
    Keller, Texas9 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great visit for a local histort
    Excellent site for local history. Well maintained with great staff. Easy to get there on local bus. Get off at the hotel (Apple or google maps will show the wrong bus stop, need to get off before the airport) and walk about a 1/4 mile up the road to the entrance. There is a sign on the road. Bus was about $15 roundtrip for two.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 17 September 2023
  • Colin S
    15 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    An outstanding attraction, overnight literally thousands of years of history
    This is undoubtedly a five star attraction. It is really quite large and very open for public viewing of all parts. The interpretive boards and audio complement what you’re seeing very well. The staff are excellent too. To top it all, what a location, looking out on to sea cliffs and the lighthouse. Outstanding.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 24 September 2023
  • Lucy D
    High Wycombe, United Kingdom23 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Not be missed archaeological site
    Brilliant site. Very knowledgeable and helpful custodian. Audio guide just the right level of information providing a brilliant self guided tour. Amazing glimpse into 4000 years of history in one place.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 8 October 2023
  • TartanWanderer
    England, United Kingdom4,793 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Superb spot to visit
    This is a great piece of British history to come and visit. Similar in appearance to Skara Brae in Orkney. Cost £7.50 for adults. Easy to reach by his fromLerwick. Allow plenty time. Be ready for weather that changes very quickly!!
    Visited February 2024
    Travelled with friends
    Written 1 February 2024
  • Chris M
    Wetherby, United Kingdom1,389 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellently preserved and interesting ancient site
    This site was included in the itinerary for our group tour of Shetland. The entrance is a little way off the road behind the Sumburgh Hotel. We were provided with an electronic guide device and followed the numerical sequence around the impressive and ancient site, with good information being provided for each point. Despite being next to the sea, this large site has been very well preserved. Care is needed accessing some of the locations via stone entrances with low headroom! There is a small shop at the entrance and the staff on duty were friendly and helpful. This is well worth visiting to gain an insight into really ancient history and links with Norse settlers
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 28 February 2024
  • pakabay
    Adelaide, Australia2,513 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Stunning
    The Jarlshof historic site, on the southern tip of Shetland is simply mind blowing. With clear evidence of Bronze Age, Iron Age, Norse & Medieval habitation, on the same site it has to be on the must do list for every visitor to the isles. Rough 4,500 years of human habitation, all on display (not recreations) and so very well presented and explained. The audio guide, provided with your entry fee is comprehensive can be stopped & restarted at any point. Graphic storyboards around the site add to the experience & understanding. The similarities with Skara Brae, on Orkney, go well beyond just their seaside location and their accidental discovery following storms. Give yourself at least 90 minutes onsite, we were probably there for a couple of hours, despite the driving wind & rain. And a special mention of Lucy, the Historic Scotland staff member who was welcoming, knowledgeable & enthusiastic.
    Visited March 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 17 March 2024
  • Alice H
    10 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    An interesting place to visit!
    This is a great place to visit if you love history or archeology. You’re able to get up close to the different remains of buildings (some being over a thousand years old) and get a real sense of what it might have been like to live on Shetland all those years ago. A special thanks to Lucy, who answered all are questions informatively and was polite and helpful. I would definitely put this on the list if you’re planning a holiday to Shetland. As you’re already so close, would also recommend driving over to Ness of Burgi after, for a short but exhilarating coastal walk ending, at an Iron Age building.
    Visited April 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written 9 April 2024
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles509 reviews
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barenskiem
London, UK8 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020 • Solo
I enquired about this at the Tourist Office in Lerwick. After a long bus journey I discovered it was 'closed' or so it seemed to suggest. Someone was asking £6.00 but apart from the gate there was no sign of a real entrance.
Wonderful views, though, across a bay and up towards the Lighthouse.
Written 24 October 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andrew M
Tucson, AZ13 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Couples
Fascinating site, with layer upon layer of settlement over time. Our guide Jackie had the perfect balance of knowledge with examples of how people may have lived here. All with a dash of humor. Jackie was good a projecting her voice so that we could hear (we were a group of 25).
Written 1 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jane P
Ipswich, UK496 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
A very interesting stop if you are interested in the history of the island, the audio sets bring to life what you are seeing. The addition of headsets would really help, especially on a colder or windy day.

During our visit there was some maintenance work in progress, which included adding some new gravelling on the pathways. The two people carrying this work out did not seem particularly tolerant of, or able to work around the visitors on site. We were reading one of the display boards and had a quantity of gravel deposited in front of our feet with no ‘excuse me’. We appreciate this sort of work needs doing but consideration of how it is carried out during opening times is important, maybe by roping off the areas being worked on?
Written 3 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Amanda C
9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022 • Solo
This site is fascinating. It’s incredible to see all the layers of housing through the years. I highly recommend using the audio tour that is of no additional charge. It provides a lot of context and information to walk you through the site. It is also easy to take the public bus from Lerwick to a stop that is a short walk away.
Written 26 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alice H
10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
This is a great place to visit if you love history or archeology.
You’re able to get up close to the different remains of buildings (some being over a thousand years old) and get a real sense of what it might have been like to live on Shetland all those years ago.
A special thanks to Lucy, who answered all are questions informatively and was polite and helpful.
I would definitely put this on the list if you’re planning a holiday to Shetland.

As you’re already so close, would also recommend driving over to Ness of Burgi after, for a short but exhilarating coastal walk ending, at an Iron Age building.
Written 9 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

pakabay
Adelaide, Australia2,513 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
The Jarlshof historic site, on the southern tip of Shetland is simply mind blowing.

With clear evidence of Bronze Age, Iron Age, Norse & Medieval habitation, on the same site it has to be on the must do list for every visitor to the isles.

Rough 4,500 years of human habitation, all on display (not recreations) and so very well presented and explained. The audio guide, provided with your entry fee is comprehensive can be stopped & restarted at any point. Graphic storyboards around the site add to the experience & understanding.

The similarities with Skara Brae, on Orkney, go well beyond just their seaside location and their accidental discovery following storms.

Give yourself at least 90 minutes onsite, we were probably there for a couple of hours, despite the driving wind & rain.

And a special mention of Lucy, the Historic Scotland staff member who was welcoming, knowledgeable & enthusiastic.
Written 17 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jo B
Northallerton, UK39 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022 • Family
It was our second visit to Jarlshof after an interval of 10 years. It’s an absolutely fascinating place and this time they had an audio tour which was really good. Amazing history and told in an engaging way too. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit which took around 2 hours so was great value. You get a real sense of domestic life through the ages. The person managing the site was such a great host. Highly recommend, especially using the audio tour. It’s virtually all outside so dress warmly. You can park at the hotel nearby and walk down. Gravel paths make most of it accessible for buggy’s and wheelchairs.
Written 9 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Colin S
15 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
This is undoubtedly a five star attraction. It is really quite large and very open for public viewing of all parts. The interpretive boards and audio complement what you’re seeing very well. The staff are excellent too. To top it all, what a location, looking out on to sea cliffs and the lighthouse. Outstanding.
Written 24 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Roger W
Milnthorpe, UK7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Friends
As someone not overkeen on archaeological sites I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the £6 (£7.50 without senior concession) on this site. How wrong I was! It is utterly fascinating to wander around the remains of dwellings dating back to the Neolithic and Bronze Age. Make sure you get one of the electronic guide thingies - no extra charge for this. I now know my broch from my wheelhouse (I know, I too thought the latter was found on a boat). The weather helped.
Written 3 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chris Gilbane
Manchester, UK195 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Couples
This is an amazing opportunity to see 4000 plus years of continual habitation in one site. I was blown away by the iron age wheel house, and which is basically complete bar the roof which is the most complete building on site by a long way. But then it would be unfair not to mention also the remains from 2500BC, the other iron age houses, the broch, the bronze age remains, the norse longhouses, the medieval ruins and the lairds house. Really liked the audio guides which brought the site to life. If you like history and archaeology this is a must visit place
Written 12 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement, Sumburgh

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