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Maeshowe, Stromness

4.4
#3 of 20 in Things to do in Stromness
Ruin Historic Site
Duck through the small passageways that make up the vast underground network of burial chambers at Maeshowe, a World Heritage Site. At first glance from the outside, this cairn may appear as a large grassy mound in the distance. Yet, here lies an underground tomb that is estimated to have taken between 10,000 and 30,000 hours to build. At an incredible 35 m (115 ft) in diameter with a height of 7.3 m (24 ft), the breadth of the site is amplified further by the 14 m (45 ft) wide ditch surrounding the entire structure. The style of Neolithic craftsmanship is typically Scottish. Bring a flashlight in order to see the grafitti scratched into the walls by Vikings who vandalized the site in the mid-12th century. Put Maeshowe at the forefront of your travel plans using our Stromness itinerary builder.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
461 reviews
Google
4.5
  • This ancient site is accessed with a tour guide and reservations only, and well worth the visit. You can make your reservations online. Our tour guide, Carey, was awesome.  more »
  • Very good walking tour...amazing history to be found....and non crawling on knees to get into cairn. Tour guide absolutely wonderul. Does require uneven walk surface and a bit of a distance walk  more »
  • Again if interested in history then this is another must see site. There is a charge to enter as a guided tour of a small group due to its size. This is not a wheel chair friendly site as the entrance...  more »
Google
  • The place itself was very interesting, and it was amazing to be in such an old structure. However the tour guide we had was an English lady with a speech impediment, making it quite hard to understand and take in the history, especially for my father who, being an older gentleman couldn't understand her at all.
  • This is a necessary stop on the Neolithic Orkney site list, and is included in the Orkney Explorer pass (which is worth taking if you plan to visit at least 2-3 sites during your stay -- which you should!). That said, of all the impressive Neolithic sites on the islands, this was the visit I personally least enjoyed. That's not for want of the site being an impressive archaeological discovery, which it was, and there were some interesting parts to the visit (the kids enjoyed entering the tomb through the low-ceilinged entry passage, and I did like the Viking runes carved on the inside walls), but the talk by the guide was much too long. He could have conveyed all the relevant information in 5 minutes instead of half an hour, but then I guess they would find it difficult to justify the entry fee... Also annoying is that you're not allowed to take pictures inside the tomb (although this seems to be a common phenomenon on Orkney...)
  • Paid entrance but a really nice visit. The cairn has a ritch history and is in very good condition.
  • Second visit. Been there about 10 years ago too but still had the same impact as the first time. Fascinating story and Gerry our guide was great! Bit of a strange set up that you only can get there by visiting Skara Brae instead of parking at the Maeshove car park.A must see when visiting Orkney.
  • The absolute high point for me on our six week trip. Atmospheric & stunning. Orkney is covered in ancient monuments and if I return would definitely spend more time here either staying on Orkney or in Thurso We only whizzed in and out spending the night in a lovely B&B in Thurso but we would want to investigate the whole area over a few days. Maeshowe tour guide was brilliant; friendly and very knowledgeable

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