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Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: Viewforth | Orkney, Burray Village KW17 2SY, Scotland
Phone Number:
+44 1856 731255
10:00 - 17:00
Closed now
See all hours
Sun - Sat 10:00 - 17:00

A recent visitor described the Orkney Fossil & Heritage Centre as a...

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

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 113 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 83
  • 27
    Very good
  • 1
  • 0
  • 1
Well spent 2 hours

Lod this place,very interesting,loved the local history stories involving the Churchill barriers,really well worth a visit.

Reviewed 6 December 2016
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113 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Showing 112: English reviews
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 December 2016

Lod this place,very interesting,loved the local history stories involving the Churchill barriers,really well worth a visit.

Thank follydollytroy
Level Contributor
64 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 October 2016

Interesting to learn about local history and local fossils. Friendly and informative staff. Plenty of parking.

Thank Claire27_12
Kirkwall, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 October 2016

WOW, what a fascinating place to visit. Very informative and education too in an enjoyable sort of way. The museum feature local history and geology along with some stunning exhbits. Nice cafe too for the much need cuppa.

Thank RoseHighleyAndrews
Level Contributor
173 reviews
80 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 September 2016 via mobile

Our tour bus stopped her to let us have a cuppa and some shortbread. It was DELICIOUS and I would have bought the whole shop if it wasn't hidden out the back for the next am customers. We didn't have time to visit the fossil Centre however so can't comment on that.

Thank Kellie I
Level Contributor
60 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 September 2016

This turned out to be a fascinating little museum a good selection of interesting facts and data about the formation of the earth, the rocks and fossils and a display about the Churchill Barriers. Well worth a visit. The tea room also excellent. Lovely cakes and scones at reasonable prices served by friendly staff.

Thank foggy63
Rayleigh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
114 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 September 2016 via mobile

An eclectic mix - the centre exhibits fossils along with the construction of the Churchill barriers following the sinking of HMS Royal Oak, in Scappa flow by the German U boat U47. Upstairs to the centre has exhibits of furniture with some local history and WW11 militaria. There are tea rooms within the centre and a gift shop. Nice little... More 

Thank Half-a-sandwich
Derbyshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
117 reviews
69 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 September 2016 via mobile

This was an out of hours tour for a refreshment break but museum was included. A lovely little museum.tea room lovely. Staff friendly and welcoming. Shop has crafts produced by local people.

Thank jeanf438
Basingstoke, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 September 2016 via mobile

The staff here are always so friendly and welcoming. And the food is brilliant too! The museum is lovely and very informative. I've been a lot here before and intend to be back for many more visits in the future.

Thank Astweed
Kingston-upon-Hull, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 August 2016

Didn't go up to the museum part, just a bite to eat and a look around the gift shop. Had soup and a sandwich which was lovely and then a Sandi Sand Sunday which was delicious

Thank Ima16
Troon, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
55 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 August 2016 via mobile

I found it interesting as many of the fossils were from a local areas so it was good to see the animals that were present in the area.

Thank MrPBSmith

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