Historic Scotland

Opening times

Open year-round.

 

Overview

Explore the chambers of an unusual Neolithic burial tomb on a small uninhabited island.

The Holm of Papa Westray chambered cairn is a large and eccentric monument. At around 5,000 years old, this burial monument is very well-preserved. It has a number of unusual elements including the large central chamber and two ‘double’ side cells. It’s also home to a diverse collection of Neolithic artwork.

Today, visitors descend into the chamber through a hatch in the cairn’s reconstructed roof and down a vertical ladder, but in Neolithic times entry was through a long, low and narrow passage. Inside is a 20m-long central chamber, with 12 small cells at low level leading off it.