We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Want the lowest hotel prices? You're in the right place. We check 200+ sites for you.

“Fascinating” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre

Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: 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
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Kennoway, Fife
Level Contributor
29 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 May 2014

This is a brilliant place to visit. All the specimens are clearly displayed and well lit with informative cards that are easy to read. The geological specimens and fossils are absolutely stunning and there is even a 'dark room' where you can see the minerals under UV light. One room is dedicated to the Churchill Barriers and its picture window overlooks Scapa Flow. The upstairs gives insight into life in Orkney and there is also a heritage resources room. The entry fee is reasonable and you get a free informative guide.
There is a tearoom attached which serves excellent food at reasonable prices.
There is disabled access but I saw no sign of a lift to access the upper floor.

Visited May 2014
Thank Dave M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

113 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Stirling, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
59 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Well worth a visit, not to be missed!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2014

It looks small from the outside but when you step inside it's just like a tardis. There is so much history about the fossils and lots of fascinating items on display. The exhibition about the Churchill barriers was very interesting too. The historical displays upstairs is not to be missed either. It's cheap to get in and a visitor booklet is included in the price. Had a meal in the cafe and was very impressed with the choices on offer and what I had was great and prices were very reasonable. The staff were very friendly and helpful. I'll certainly be back!

Visited May 2014
Thank JillAdventures
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dudley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
92 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Fossil and Heritage Museum”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 May 2014

Very interesting visit with a free return visit thrown in. Lots of description about geology and examples of Neolithic and Jurassic life! Would recommend to anyone with an interest in the distant past of Orkney.

Visited May 2014
Thank mritim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Poole, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“a really hidden gem of Orkney”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 May 2014

this is a fantastic little place, so much is inside, it's like a tardis with something for everyone. World war one history, the building of the churchill barriers, history of scapa flow, camera's, fossils, gemstones, tools and a fantastic gift shop. Once you have taken in the many wonderful displays there is a delightful community cafe serving hot food and homebakes. The cake was wonderful and the tea really hit the spot. All food is sourced from the Island, what more could you ask for? The staff were incredibly helpful and very friendly! Toy boxes were around for the kids to play with which was a major bonus

Visited May 2014
Thank SamanthaM101112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
584 reviews
334 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 150 helpful votes
“Lots to see”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 May 2014

We visited this place after crossing the Churchill Barriers and visiting the Italian Chapel, mainly for lunch. It has an excellent cafe, with lots of home cooked food. The museum was only a couple of pounds, and was full of fossils, etc., as and also lots of information on the Churchill Barriers and the war.

Visited May 2014
Thank Pam D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre also viewed

South Ronaldsay, Orkney Islands
Kirkwall, Mainland

Been to Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing