Skara Brae, Neolithic Settlement

Skara Brae

Five thousand years ago, before the pyramids were built or Stonehenge was constructed, Skara Brae was a bustling village.

In 1850 a severe storm hit Scotland and ripped the turf off a knoll in Skaill Bay, Orkney.  The storm revealed a complex of houses that had been buried by sand and soil for thousands of years.

Before you walk around the site there is a small exhibition in the visitor centre, which gives you an idea of what life was like 5000 years ago.  The display shows a variety of artefacts from the settlement, which are quite interesting.  However, we didn’t spend too long there, as we felt the need to see the real settlement.

Skara Brae Orkney

Outside the visitor centre is a reconstructed house, which you can walk into and explore.  There is a central hearth, stone beds, a dresser and containers that are likely to have held water to store seafood in.  There are also little niches in the walls that are considered to be storage areas, which the boys liked exploring!

Skara Brae Orkney

Skara Brae Orkney

After a short walk along the coastline, reading the stones depicting events from present to 5000 BC, we arrived at Skara Brae.

Skara Brae Orkney

We were immediately amazed at how well it has been preserved, the walkways (which would originally have been covered) were paved in stone and all the stone furniture is still in place.

Skara Brae Orkney

To preserve the site you’re not allowed to actually walk around the houses, instead you can view them from the walkway.

Skara Brae Orkney

Nowadays our homes are a bit more varied in layout, but the houses here all have a very similar layout, which is interesting.

Skara Brae Orkney

One building does not have the same layout and a large amount of chips of antler, bone and stone was found on the ground.  This is considered to have been a workshop area.

Skara Brae Orkney

Skara Brae Orkney 11

The boys enjoyed looking at the houses and Mr O seem quite interested in how they lived then.  However, Mr A at 2 years old wasn’t quite as interested in the houses, but he did spend a long time watching some sparrow fledglings calling for food from their parents.

Skara Brae Orkney

Skara Brae Orkney

We would highly recommend Skara Brae if you’re visiting Orkney and if you’re visiting several of the Historic Scotland site you may find it more cost effective to buy a Historic Scotland Explorer Pass for Orkney.

Skara Brae Orkney

Which neolithic sites have you visited?

J x


  1. June 21, 2016 / 10:47 pm

    I bet the kids loved exploring this great site.

  2. June 22, 2016 / 5:01 am

    This looks amazing!!! I love how rich the history is in the UK, so much for our kids to learn from places like this (and us for that matter!) #whatevertheweater

  3. June 22, 2016 / 8:30 am

    It look indeed very well conserved. Seems that the little ones really enjoyed themselves. And you had nice weather as well. Perfect! #Whatevertheweather

  4. June 22, 2016 / 9:29 am

    Places like this are always fascinating. To think that it was a bustling village all those years ago is remarkable. It’s also a great place for children to learn about history.
    Potty Adventures

  5. June 22, 2016 / 9:39 am

    Oh wow this is fascinating, I love seeing real history. I can’t believe how well those stone houses are preserved! I can understand a 2-year-old not quite getting it, but for older kids it’s definitely very educational xx

  6. June 22, 2016 / 10:05 am

    It looks fascinating – we’d all love to visit Skara Brae, my daughter studied it last term as part of her Neolithic topic. We have visited Stonehenge and some burial mounds in our area, but nothing as intact as this. Fab photos too x

    • June 22, 2016 / 2:25 pm

      They would love it there! So much historical settlements and tombs to visit as well as gorgeous scenery, beaches and wildlife. I’ll be writing a post about how Orkney was important to WWII as well. Definitely recommend you going there for a holiday. 🙂 x

  7. June 22, 2016 / 10:25 am

    It’s amazing! I know Mai (my brother’s girlfriend) has worked near this site before whilst studying archaeology – I still need to find out which part she will be working out in the next few weeks. Sarah #WhateverTheWeather

  8. June 22, 2016 / 10:27 am

    I would love to visit Skara Brae with my family! I have seen it on lots of documentaries & it looks fascinating. What stunning coastline too & beautiful weather. Perfect. #whatevertheweather

  9. June 22, 2016 / 11:13 am

    Wow, how cool is this! My little one is a huge explorer, so he’d be desperate to get round those little houses. #whatevertheweather

  10. June 22, 2016 / 12:35 pm

    Fascinating place. Love places like these and it looks beautiful there too. Would love to visit.

  11. June 22, 2016 / 2:05 pm

    Oh, this is fascinating. Oddly, we were reading about it when we were up in Scotland last, I’d love to visit some time.

  12. June 23, 2016 / 7:36 am

    This looks really interesting and that coastline view, just wow!

    Clare x

  13. Fi Ni Neachtain
    June 23, 2016 / 1:01 pm

    It’s great to see sites like this so well preserved and seeing little ones so
    interested in them too. As a family we love visiting historic sites. That beach looks so beautiful too #whatevertheweather

  14. June 23, 2016 / 3:12 pm

    what a beautiful view of the coastline! I’ve never been to Scotland but it is def on my list of things to do 🙂 #Whatevertheweather

  15. June 23, 2016 / 8:12 pm

    Wow this looks so cool. Im sure our boys and us parents would enjoy exploring here! #whatevertheweather

  16. June 24, 2016 / 10:58 am

    I am an Architecture graduate and this place just blew me away! I wish I can go and visit. Amazing site to see! #whatevertheweather

  17. June 24, 2016 / 1:55 pm

    What a fascinating place – I can’t believe how well-preserved it is. My kids love exploring this kind of site, I love how getting hands-on really grabs their interest and imagination. #whatevertheweather

  18. June 29, 2016 / 9:00 pm

    That looks a great place to explore and run around! Like a big maze for kids, with windows and places to hide. What fun!

  19. June 30, 2016 / 11:54 pm

    This looks like a brilliant place to explore. Was it easy to keep the kids out of the houses? I think mine would want to jump down for a closer look!

  20. February 11, 2017 / 6:48 pm

    Awesome. My boys would love to visit a stara brae village

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