Visit the Dig

Please note: The 2020 excavation has been cancelled and no dates have been set for 2021 – click here for details.
Excavation work under way in Structure Eight as a tour watches on from the viewing platform (Jo Bourne)

Excavation work under way in Structure Eight while a tour watches on from the viewing platform (Jo Bourne)

Visitors are welcome throughout the summer excavation season, but please remember that the Ness of Brodgar is a working archaeological dig in a field. 

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

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

The excavation is only open to the public during the July/August digging season. Over this period, there is no entry if the main gates are closed and there are no staff on site.

The rest of the year the site is closed to the public and the archaeology covered to protect it.

Click here for details of out-of-hours and out-of-season tours.

Where is the Ness?

The Ness of Brodgar is the thin strip of land, in the West Mainland of Orkney, that separates the Harray and Stenness lochs.

The excavation site is on the south-eastern tip of the Ness, between the Standing Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar and about 11 miles from the town of Kirkwall and five miles from Stromness.

Motorists should follow the A965 Kirkwall-Stromness road until reaching the B9055 Road, signposted “Bay of Skaill”. Continue past the Standing Stones of Stenness and the dig site is clearly signposted.

Public Transport

Although there is no public transport directly to the Ness excavation site, buses (service X1) run between Kirkwall and Stromness regularly every day and visitors can ask to be dropped at the end of the B9055 road and walk to the site (a distance of approximately three-quarters of a mile). Click here for bus timetables.

Dig and tour dates 2020

Ness of Brodgar Calendar 2020

Click here for tour details.


On-site parking is free – at your own risk. The site entrance is tight and tricky, however, so please be careful.

Site access and parking

Access to the dig is clearly signposted from the road – the second turn-off to the left after crossing the Brig o’ Brodgar.

Larger vehicles will find it difficult to access the site so owners of these vehicles should park at either the nearby Stones of Stenness or the Ring of Brodgar car parks and follow the footpaths to the dig site.

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

Passing places

  • The passing places at the side of the single-track Ness of Brodgar road are solely for letting other vehicles through.
  • Please do not use them for parking.


  • There are no diggers on site at weekends, apart from the specified special Open Days.
  • There are tours at 11am and 3pm (gates open circa 15 minutes before the tours), when the site shop will also be open. Outwith these hours the site is closed to the public.

Weather closures

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.

Shop and help raise funds

The Orkney Archaeology Society has an on-site shop which raises funds for both the Ness of Brodgar and the society.

The money raised by the shop benefits not only the Ness but other archaeological projects in Orkney.

There you can buy the Ness guidebook, 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, visitors can choose a square from the site and we’ll send you a newsletter at the end of the season to let you know if anything special was found in your square.

Ness Special Days

2020’s “Special  Days” are on Sunday, July 19, 2020, and Sunday, August 16, 2020, from 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.