Skara Brae is an amazing 5,000-year old, Neolithic settlement, the best preserved anywhere in Western Europe and a must-see sight for a trip to Orkney. The site was first discovered after a storm shifted the sand covering the various dwellings in 1850, and it's now a major attraction and part of Orkney's Neolithic World Heritage Site. Each of the several, single-room houses survives in seemingly near-perfect condition with its original, "fitted" furniture intact, including hearths, dressers, box beds and water tanks - and form a tangible link between modern life and an ancient community we know so little about. There's also an excellent exhibition area (visit this first) inside the modern visitor centre, while just outside it one of the Neolithic houses has been recreated at a larger scale. As if all this weren't enough, in summer the admission price includes access to neighbouring Skaill House.
Name: Skara Brae ★★★★★
Location: B9056 4 miles west of Dounby, G.R.: HY 231187 / adding point bagpipes
Open (2017): Daily
Cost (2017): April to October: £7.10 (adults), £4.30 (children) including admission to Skaill House; November to March: £6.10 (adults), £3.70 (children); free for Historic Environment Scotland members
Anything else? Probably Orkney's most popular historic site, including for coach parties - try to visit early or late in the day to escape the crowds.
|[Bay of Skaill]|