Historic Scotland

Opening times

Visits are by guided tour only. Tickets can be booked at Skara Brae visitor centre on the same day of the tour. Visitors will be taken by coach to Maeshowe.

Tours leave Skara Brae at 10am, 12pm and 2pm.

Facilities

 

Overview

Stand in awe of one of Europe’s finest chambered tombs, built some 5,000 years ago. Incredibly, the entrance passage to Maeshowe is aligned with the setting of the midwinter sun, so that the light illuminates the tomb’s interior.

Norse crusaders broke into Maeshowe in the mid-1100s, long after it had fallen from use. They too left their mark on the site: this time as graffiti carved in runes all over the main chamber’s walls.

Maeshowe is part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site.

What to see and do

  • Feel far away from the outside world as you stand in the stillness, silence and darkness of the tomb
  • Admire the sheer monumentality of the chambered tomb – this is prehistoric architecture at its most impressive
  • Hear the story of the runic graffiti and how it gives us a rare and lively insight into Norse society