Brough of Birsay

Orkney | Birsay | Island | ★★★

[Norse settlement and causeway, Brough of Birsay]

From a distance the Brough of Birsay looks like a featureless, grassy slope of an island, well under a kilometre across at its widest point. But peel away the surface, like archaeologists have already done here, and you can explore a Viking settlement and Romanesque monastery on the eastern half of the island. Head to the west side along one of the numerous coastal paths and you'll find 40-metre cliffs home to puffins and other seabirds in early summer, overlooked by a stumpy lighthouse. The path to the island from Birsay is via a tidal causeway flanked by some of the most sealife-rich rockpools anywhere in the UK.

[Brough of Birsay lighthouse]

Location & info

📌 Brough of Birsay (buildings) ★★★
On Brough of Birsay island, 1 mi northwest of Birsay, Orkney Mainland. Visitor centre is at G.R.: HY 239285 ///soccer.reseller.hike
🚌 Bus to Birsay (1 mi) | 🚗 Car park at G.R.: HY 243284 ///feels.glorified.latitudes
Always open (visitor centre open daily, mid June to September, tides permitting) | £6 adult / £3.60 child / free for Historic Environment Scotland members. Charges only apply during visitor centre opening hours.

💬 From the car park it's a 5-min walk (each way) to the visitor centre, across a concrete tidal causeway. Check safe crossing times and leave ample time for return journey.

📌 Brough of Birsay (island) ★★★
1 mi northwest of Birsay, Orkney Mainland. Lighthouse is at island's northwest tip, G.R.: HY 234286 ///spin.pebble.samplers
🚌 Bus to Birsay (1 mi) | 🚗 Car park at G.R.: HY 243284 ///feels.glorified.latitudes
Always open | Charges only apply when visitor centre is open - see above

💬 From the car park it's a 15-min walk (each way) to the lighthouse, across a concrete tidal causeway then uphill on grassy paths. Check safe crossing times and leave ample time for return journey.



[Rockpools surrounding the causeway are rich in sealife]

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