The Ring of Brodgar Orkney is one of the many iconic sites to visit on the islands. This Neolithic stone circle is locate on small band of land between Loch Sternness and Loch Harray. It is part of a central area designated a Unesco World Heritage site which also includes the Standing Stones of Stenness. Below is my guide to plan your visit.
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The Ring of Brodgar Orkney Video
The Ring of Brodgar is one of the largest Neolithic henges (circular enclosures) in Britain (the most famous being Stonehenge).
Archeologists do not know exactly how old Brodgar. They think it probably dates to the late Neolithic period - between 4000 and 4500 years ago.
The Ring of Brodgar is part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney with the Standing Stones of Stenness, the Skara Brae neolithic settlement and Maeshowe. This site has Unesco World Heritage status. Those sites is the reason why Mainland Orkney is one of the most famous Scottish Islands.
Let's start with a short video to give you an idea of what the site looks like before giving you more information about visiting the site and sharing many pictures:
The Ring of Brodgar is one of the Top things to do in Orkney Scotland
Planning Tips - The Ring of Brodgar Scotland
How to get to the Ring of Brodgar location
- Orkney can be reached by ferry from mainland Scotland at Scrabster (2h)
- 10 min drive from Stromness to the Ring of Brodgar via A965
- 20 min drive from Kirkwall to the Ring of Brodgar via A965
The GPS coordinates and location on a practical map are available on my Travel Guide (that simplifies the planning of your road trip):
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Visiting the Ring of Brodgar Orkney Scotland
- Open all day the site is protected in some area to prevent degradation. Please stay on the path
- The parking is close by and the path to reach the circle easy and well maintained
- No facilities
- 30 min to several hours depending on how fascinate you are
- Great location for both sunrise and sunset
Where to stay on Mainland Orkney
Most Orkney accommodations are in the main towns:
- Stromness is small, close to the ferry and charming - Check out the accommodations in Stromness
- Kirkwall is bigger and more lively - Check out the accommodations in Kirkwall
- But you can also find accommodation more isolated in guesthouses and farms if you want a more peaceful experience - check out all accommodations on the Orkney islands
Access to the Ring of Brodgar
A path has been set up for easy access to the stones. Only 36 are still standing. Barriers are set up around some of the stones to prevent degradation with all the people walking on the mound.
Ring of Brodgar facts
The Ring of Brodgar in Numbers
- Perfect circle: 104meters in diameter
- Surrounded by a 10m wide ditch
- May originally have been a circle of 60 stones
- 36 stones are still in the circle today (13 were re-erected after the Stone Ring came into State care in 1906)
- Believed to have been set up 4000 and 4500 years ago
What was the ring of Brodgar used for?
It is thought that the Ring was used as a meeting place for ceremonies possibly involving feasting and commemorating the dead. It sits in a natural amphitheater surrounded by hills and flanked on either side by Lochs Harray and Stenness making it a very public location. However, the center of the henge itself may have been an especially sacred place, with access limited only to certain people
The Ring of Brodgar location
It is easy to understand why all those sites were built in that area. with the small hills making an amphitheater and the isthmus between the waters of 2 lochs, there is something magical about the location.
Images of the Ring of Brodgar - The Stone Circle
Before showing you more detailed photos of the stones, below are pictures of the Ring of Brodgar showing you the circle shape, the alignment of stones.
The Standing Stones of the Ring of Brodgar
Let's have a closer look at the standing stones that make the Ring of Brodgar Orkney:
This stone was struck by lightning on the 5th June 1980 causing it to shatter. Such events mays also have occurred in earlier times and might account for the damage state of several other stones in the Ring of Brodgar:
Ring of Brodgar Pictures
And just a couple of more pictures where I played with the light to show to magical energy of the site:
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