Visit the Dig

One of the afternoon tours at the Ness of Brodgar Dig Site
Keith Brown, one of the Historic Environment Scotland World Heritage Site rangers, assists with an afternoon tour.

We welcome visitors throughout the excavation season, but please remember that the Ness is a working archaeological dig, in a field.

Be prepared for bumpy ground, sometimes wet and slippy, and areas where it is not safe for visitors to go.

During your visit, please keep to indicated routes and stay away from the edges of the digging areas.

Dig and tour dates 2018

Remember. Tours are free and booking is not required.

Tour groups

Regretfully, for 2018, we’re having to ask tour guides not to join their tours on to the official site tours. The tours are simply too full, so we ask that you guide your own group. There will be information boards around the site (and multi-lingual texts available, if you ask at the site shop). Please also encourage your guests to buy the guidebook.

Tours are free if you guide your groups yourself. Please ask your guests to make donations – we depend hugely on visitor support. It makes up 80 per cent of our funding.

If you would like a guided tour with Nick Card, site director, (if available) for your group, we request a donation to dig funds of £150 or £10 per head, whichever is the larger. Contact

Booking tour slots: There is no need to book tour slots for groups of eight or fewer – just turn up, but please follow our parking guidelines below.

As in previous years, please book a slot for groups of nine or over, so we can avoid clashes with other tour groups and please try and avoid the official site tour slots detailed above.

There is no entry to the site if the main gates are closed and no staff on site. It may be possible to arrange out-of-hours or out-of-season visits with Nick Card, but a donation as above will be requested.

Please always check our opening times – we are not open all day, every day.

On most Saturdays and Sundays we are only open around 1100 and 1500, there are no diggers on site and you will need to work to suit with the official site guides if these are your only available visiting times.

Open Days

This year’s open days are on Sunday, July 15, and Sunday, August 19, 2018, 11am to 4pm.

These feature archaeology in action at the Ness excavation site and at Stenness Community School. Lots of hands-on for all ages. Orkney home baking and much more in the café at the school too. A must-visit element of Orkney’s summer season.


Mike Copper shows some of his superb replica Neolithic pottery at one of the site open days.
Mike Copper shows some of his superb replica Neolithic pottery at one of the site open days.

In particularly bad weather, we might not dig – heavy rain is not only bad for the archaeology but wet and slippy sites are dangerous for archaeologists and visitor alike.


On-site parking is free – at your own risk. The site entrance is tight and tricky.

Larger vehicles will find it difficult to access the site. Owners of these vehicles should park at either the Stones of Stenness or the Ring of Brodgar and walk to the Ness.

Coaches, minibuses and camper vans

The Ness car park entrance is not big enough for coaches or midi coaches. Camper vans will also find it difficult to negotiate.

Coaches, vans, and any other vehicles must not be parked along the side of the Brodgar road, nor in the passing places. They’re there for vehicles to pass one another safely.

We suggest you drop off passengers at the Ring of Brodgar or the Stones of Stenness and let them walk to the Ness excavations.

Please do not drop passengers off at the site entrance – the road is fast and busy and potentially dangerous.

Passing places

The passing places at the side of the main road are solely for letting other vehicles through. Please do not use them for parking.

Shop and help raise funds

The Orkney Archaeology Society has a shop on site which raises funds for both the Ness of Brodgar and the society, which then goes out in grants to other Orkney archaeological work.

Buy the Ness guidebook, great postcards, Ness of Brodgar jewellery and more, knowing that the Ness and Orkney’s other amazing archaeology will benefit directly from your visit. Sterling and Mastercard, Visa, Maestro and Amex accepted.

Sponsor a Square

For a £10 donation, choose a square from the site and we’ll send you a newsletter once this year’s digging is over, letting you know if anything special has been found in your square.

The rest of the year

This is the Ness when we’ve packed up and gone back indoors.

The site is shut apart from July and August, protected from Orkney’s potentially damaging weather. There is no access to the Ness when we’re off-site but click here to find out lots about the Ness.