Search More


Orkney Category Historic Sites
Maeshowe image

Maeshowe, considered to be one of the finest architectural achievements of prehistoric Europe, is across the road from Tormiston Mill. The mound, 35m in diameter and 7m high, consists mostly of packed stones and clay, with an inner layer of stones around the chamber itself. This chambered cairn was constructed with great care, the large dressed slabs being carefully set together and finished. The chamber is 4.5m square and about the same in height. A tapered orthostat faces each corner buttress giving an impression of space and strength. The whole impression is of majesty and the idea of a Neolithic cathedral comes to mind.

Maeshowe is the most spectacular and biggest of the Maeshowe-type chambered cairns. The quality of the construction, and size of the sandstone blocks used, together with the precision in quarrying and stone-cutting would tax the best builders today. Note how the orthostats at each corner appear to be free-standing and how much they resemble the monoliths at the Ring of Brodgar.

Local area map

Get directions
  • Event Location
  • B&B
  • Self-Catering
  • Caravan Pitches
  • Multiple Accommodation

You may also like

  • Ness Battery


    On the outskirts of Stromness, just a short walk from the town, stands Ness Battery. This important relic of Orkney’s wartime heritage once defended Scapa Flow...

    More information
    • Historic Sites
  • Yesnaby Cliffs


    Few localities combine the wealth of geological interest with the stunning setting of Yesnaby. As the swell crashes in from the Atlantic, the cliffs resonate...

    More information
    • Nature & Wildlife
    • Historic Sites
  • The Orkney Museum


    The Orkney Museum tells the story of Orkney, from the Stone Age, to the Picts and Vikings, right through to the present day. There is a large collection of old...

    More information
    • Museums & Galleries
    • For the Family
  • Skara Brae


    The Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae, near the dramatic white beach of the Bay of Skaill, is one of the best preserved groups of prehistoric houses in...

    More information
    • Historic Sites