Please note: The 2020 excavation has been cancelled – click here for details.
During the summer excavation season guided tours take place at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on weekdays and 11am and 3pm at weekends.
There is no need to book spaces on the daily tours – just turn up on site in time for the scheduled start.
Tour dates 2020
Tours run from Wednesday, July 8, 2020, until Wednesday, August 19, 2020.
For 2020, we are asking tour guides not to add their clients on to the official site tours. Instead, operators should guide their own groups. There are information boards around the site.
- Tours are free if you guide your groups yourself, but please ask your guests to consider a donation – we depend hugely on visitor support. It makes up 80 per cent of our funding. In addition, please encourage your guests to buy the guidebook.
- For out-of-hours tours, or a guided tour with site director Nick Card (if he is available), we ask for a minimum donation to dig funds of £200 or £10 per head, whichever is the larger. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
- There is no need to book tour slots for groups of less than eight people – just turn up on site, but please follow the parking guidelines.
- For larger groups, please book a slot so we can avoid clashes with other tours and try and avoid the official site tour slots.
- Please check the site opening times – it is not open all day, every day. On most Saturdays and Sundays we are only open around 11am and 3pm. At these times, there are no diggers on site and tours will have to work to suit the official site guides if these are your only available visiting times.
- There is no entry to the site if the main gates are closed and no staff on site.
Out-of-hours and out-of-season access
The site is only open to the public during the July-August excavation season. During this period, there is no entry to the site if the main gates are closed and there is no staff on site.
The rest of the year, the excavation is closed and the archaeology covered to protect it from Orkney’s potentially damaging weather. Sandbags support vulnerable masonry and are covered with several layers of plastic sheeting and geo-textile membrane held in place by thousands of tyres. Severe gales are common in winter in Orkney.
It may be possible to arrange out-of-hours or out-of-season visits with site director, Nick Card, but we ask for a minimum donation to dig funds of £200 or £10 per head, whichever is the larger.
These tours provide behind the scenes access to some of the finds not on public display, a “virtual” illustrated tour, an appreciation of the landscape setting of the Ness and time for questions and answers.
Private lectures/talks by Nick can also be arranged for tour groups to Orkney.
Please contact email@example.com to check availability.