How long is your visit?
  •   
  •   
  •   
  •   
  • days
Are you going to Tour Scotland?


Attractions

Broch of Gurness

Find Scotland Tours that feature Orkney.

Address: Broch of Gurness, Evie, KW17 2NH, 01856 751414
Operated by: Historic Environment Scotland
Opening Hours: 1 April to 30 September, Daily 9.30am to 5.30pm / October, Daily 10am to 4pm
Last entry 30 mins before closing time.
Closed November - March
Admission: Adult £ 6.00, Senior £ 4.80, Child £ 3.60
Parking: Yes, ample car parking
Languages: Information boards in English are located around the site and in the small visitor centre .
Accessibility: Most areas are accessible, but it does involve crossing grassed surfaces.
Toilets: No
Shop: No
Cafe/Restaurant: No

 

The Broch of Gurness is the best example of one of these Iron Age dwellings that can be found on the Orkney Mainland. There are several other brochs scattered around the Orkney islands, but only Midhowe Broch on Rousay can rival Gurness for its relative completeness. Both of these brochs overlook the turbulent tidal waters of Eynhallow Sound and have many similarities in their design.

A major difference between the Broch of Gurness and the broch at Midhowe, is the extent of the community that surrounded it. Midhowe has a few buildings outwith the central defensive tower of the broch. By comparison, Gurness has a sprawling village around it.

Although more than 4000 years separate the periods of the 2 communities, the houses at Gurness have some similarities to the ones to be seen at Skara Brae. However, you can touch & wander amongst the ruins at Gurness, where as the archaeological value of Skara Brae means that you can only look.

The broch would originally have stood 8 metres tall (it is now 3.5 metres at its highest point), but through the years the towers defensive role became less important and the building was dismantled to provide stone for other dwellings. It is thought that the broch continued to be inhabited as a farmstead until ~700 AD. The houses of the village were also scavenged for building materials, but you can still get a feel for what appears to have been a neat and organised community. Far more civilised than you might imagine for a culture existing on what was then the edge of the known world.

Another feature of the Broch of Gurness that is not to be found at Midhowe, is a flight of neat stairs which descend to a lower chamber that contains a water tank filled by spring water. We have to take the archaeologists word for this as the steps to the "cellar" are blocked by an iron grid.

Like so many of Orkney's archaeological sites, the Broch of Gurness was not excavated until the late 1920's. At that time it was just a grassy mound. It makes you wonder how many other "finds" might still be buried on these islands.

Read our Travel Blog for more information on the best things to do in Orkney.

Broch of Gurness exterior view

Entrance avenue to Broch of Gurness Broch of Gurness Interior

See the Best of Scotland by buying one of our Scotland Tour Itineraries from £11.99

Or request a Customised Tour.

PlayVideo

Browse Scotland Tours

Browse Our Scotland Tours to find an Itinerary for a route that matches your interests and schedule.

To quickly and easily find the tour you want, use our Tour Wizard.

Customized Tours

Tell us what you want and we will create a Customized Scotland Tour just for you!

Money Back Guarantee

Full refund if you are not satisfied with our service.

Testimonials

Read what Clients say about Secret Scotland on Facebook, Tripadvisor and in their Blogs

View Testimonials

Good Stuff

Save 10% on Car Hire when you Buy a Secret Scotland Tour

More about Car Hire Discounts

Authored on Google+