Be a Viking for the day with Orkney Time Travel
As seen on Secret Scotland with Susan Calman Channel 5
COVID-19 update: All Orkney Time Travel activities have been put on hold for the time being, until such time as the Scottish government deems it safe to resume. Please do not purchase tickets just now, and we will let you know nearer the time whether the planned Viking Feasts on the Beach can go ahead or not. Viking Voyage to Hoy and Viking Week festival are cancelled for this year. Coming back stronger next year!
What is Orkney Time Travel?
Orkney Time Travel offer experiences where you can get a taste of life in Orkney’s past.
Orkney Time Travel is a collaboration between three Orkney tourism businesses: Brodgar, Love Orkney Tours and Spiritual Orkney. We are all trained tourist guides, but also academics, archaeologists, and with experience from outdoor adventures and drama. As a team, we share a passion for bringing the past to life, hands-on.
Our most popular regular event is Viking Feast on the Beach: a two-hour fun-packed session for all ages around the campfire, with hot food, storytelling, crafts and games. The Viking Feast on the Beach runs on Friday evenings during the summer holidays at Scapa beach near Kirkwall. See more info below.
Orkney Time Travel also offer longer and fuller time-travel experiences, such as the Viking Voyage to Hoy. See the events calendar to find out what is on.
You can also book a private Time Travel adventure for your group exclusively. If you are interested in this, please contact us directly to discuss dates and requirements.
Are there any other dates available?
We can put on extra Viking Feasts on the Beach or Viking Voyages for groups as a private tour, as long as we are not already booked for other jobs on that day. Please contact us if you would like to make a private booking.
Is it suitable for children?
Yes, Orkney Time Travel experiences are great for children and families.
The Viking Feast on the Beach is enjoyable for children, who tend to love the beach, the campfire, and activities.
However, all children must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all time. Orkney Time Travel relies on the accompanying adult to keep the child safe from the sea and fire, as well as look after them during activities.
Viking Voyage to Hoy is more challenging, but still perfect for older children as long as they are accompanied by a responsible adult and are able to walk the necessary distance (c. 3 hours’ walk / 7.4 km). Please be aware that there will be open fire and open water nearby.
Are your events accessible to disabled?
Come to Viking Feast on the Beach rather than Viking Voyage to Hoy. There is no walking at the Viking Feast on the Beach. Take a taxi or your own car to and from Scapa Beach. You need to be able to go down some steps onto the beach and a very short distance along the sand.
If you would like to come on the Viking Voyage to Hoy, but avoid the walking element of it, you can contact us in advance and we will do our best to arrange transport for you on the island of Hoy to Rackwick Bay where you will meet the others after their walk for campfire cooking and Viking activities.
Can you cater for special diets?
Yes, some. Since the cooking is authentic Viking Age, we cannot unfortunately cater for all allergies and diets. We can, however, offer vegetarian and gluten free alternatives to the main meal. Please make us aware of your requirements so that we can take it into account when we buy ingredients and prepare.
May I bring my dog?
No dogs, please. Dogs are wonderful animals, but we welcome children and some children are afraid of dogs. We also don’t want to risk the dog hurting itself by getting too near the open fire. It is also a food hygiene requirement that dogs should not be near the food we serve. Thank you for not bringing you dog this time.
Can you refund or change my ticket?
If you bought a ticket, but didn’t turn up on the day, we can’t afterwards refund it, sorry.
If you discover, in advance, that you have accidentally booked for the wrong date, and you contact us in good time, we can change you to another date.
If illness or travel obstructions permit you from participating, you can give your ticket to someone else, or ask us to change to another date.
If we cancel the event, we will of course refund all tickets. We will only cancel the event in extreme and unavoidable circumstances. We do not cancel for a bit of bad weather.
Please see the terms and conditions further down the page.
What should I wear? Do I need a costume?
No, guests do not need to wear a costume. The Orkney Time Travel team will be dressed in Viking costume, however.
Please wear warm and waterproof outdoor clothing suitable for the Scottish climate and sturdy footwear.
Guide profile: Mark Cook
Guide profile: Mark
Mark Cook is a Green Badge qualified tourist guide. He is experienced in bushcraft, wilderness survival adventures and outdoor cooking. When he’s not a Viking, he runs his own businesses: Love Orkney Tours and Afrayedknot ropemaker.
Guide profile: Ragnhild Ljosland
Guide profile: Ragnhild
Dr Ragnhild Ljosland is an academic and Green Badge tourist guide. In her academic role, she teaches and researches many aspects of Orkney and Scandinavian culture and history. Her specialism is in Scandinavian language and literature, including runic inscriptions. She is a keen storyteller and amateur actor.
Guide profile: Mark Woodsford-Dean
Guide profile: Mark Woodsford-Dean
Mark is an historian and archaeologist and Orkney Green Badge Guide. Mark’s main areas of study and interest are British pre-history, the early medieval period and the Viking age. Mark is excited to be a part of the team and for the opportunity in helping guests explore Orkney’s fascinating Norse past.
What's on offer
Viking Feast on the Beach
Take part in a Viking feast on the fabulous sandy beach of Scapa just 2 miles south of Kirkwall. Enjoy Viking food cooked over an open wood fire. Play Viking games. Learn Viking crafts and skills. Listen to stories of Viking Orkney. Fun for all the family.
Come for a Viking Feast on the Beach at the fabulous sandy beach of
Scapa just outside of Kirkwall. Fun for all the family.
We meet at the car park by the beach toilets at Scapa at 6.30 pm.
When arriving at Scapa you will be met by a Viking expert and storyteller, and an outdoor cook and craftsman, both in costume, who together give insight into everyday life in Viking Orkney. Around the campfire you will enjoy storytelling, play a Viking game, and learn Viking skills such as cooking, rune writing and rope braiding or weaving techniques.
There will be hot food. Together, we cook over open fire and eat the Viking way. And drink from a drinking horn, naturally. You will also get the opportunity to bake your own Viking bread and make your own butter to go with it.
Please note that all children must be accompanied by an adult, who is responsible for them at all times, as there will be open fire and water nearby. No dogs please.
Booking is essential. You would help us get the amount of food right by booking at least one day before the event, preferably longer. The earlier you book, the easier you make it for us – thank you!
The Viking Feast on the Beach goes ahead in all weather except if the Met Office has issued a weather warning. We are, after all, Vikings. It is important for your own comfort to come dressed for the weather on the day, including warm and waterproof clothing if necessary.
The Viking Feast on the Beach is held at Scapa beach, 2 miles south of Kirkwall.
How to get there:
You can walk from Kirkwall. It will take you around 40 minutes to one hour. You can also cycle along the beautiful Crantit Trail cycle path.
Alternatively, take bus service 9, from Kirkwall Travel Centre, take a taxi (c. 5 minute drive from town centre) or drive your own car and park in the car park by the Royal Oak Memorial and beach toilets.
Due to popular demand, the Viking Feast on the Beach now runs every* Friday evening in the Scottish school holidays 26 June – 21 August at Scapa Beach, Kirkwall.
*except 31st July 2020
Dates in 2020:
26 June, 3 July, 10 July, 17 July, 24 July, 7 August, 14 August, 21 August.
Time: 6.30-8.30 pm, lasts two hours.
Adults 16+ yrs £20
Concession (60+ yrs / disabled): £10
Children 5-15 yrs: £10
Under 5 yrs: Free
Includes a hot meal.
Viking Voyage to Hoy.
The Viking Voyage to Hoy is a full-day Viking adventure, which takes you over to the stunning bay of Rackwick on the island of Hoy.
The day starts by taking a small passenger ferry from Stromness across to the island of Hoy. From Moaness pier we walk though the roadless valley between the famous Hills of Hoy, said in local folklore to have been dropped there by a giant when the strap broke on his two straw baskets carrying soil for his garden. On the way, we have time to enjoy the fresh air and the stunning, unspoiled Orkney landscape until we reach the secluded valley of Rackwick.
Once inhabited by the Vikings, Rackwick now lies undisturbed, like a green bowl surrounded by imposing cliffs in old red sandstone. We stop on the beach, by the old stone bothy, built in a style reminiscent of a Viking longhouse.
Here, we set up camp. We are met by an outdoor cooking and wilderness survival expert, who lets us into the secrets of the Viking way of life. You will have a go at practical skills such as weaving and braiding techniques and nettle rope making.
We cook over open fire and share an authentic Viking meal by the campfire. We play games, hear Viking songs and try a Viking dance, and listen to ancient stories passed down from the Vikings in the sagas and through local tradition in Orkney.
Please wear good clothes suited to the weather. Warm and waterproof clothing may be necessary. Also please wear sturdy hiking boots. It may, at times, be wet and muddy underfoot.
The hike goes through a valley where there is no road and no groomed trail.
Viking food is included, but please bring a bottle of water and an extra snack should you get hungry on the way.
Ferry ticket to Hoy and bus transport back to the pier is included in the price.
Booking is essential
Please book by noon the day before at the very latest, as we need to confirm passenger numbers with the ferry and bus and buy the food. The earlier you book, the easier you make it for us. Thank you!
This tour starts and ends in Stromness on the west Mainland of Orkney.
How to get there:
Take bus service X1 to Stromness. It runs from St Margaret’s Hope via Kirkwall Travel Centre to Stromness. Get off at the Northlink ferry terminal and walk a short distance to the harbour, where we will meet by the statue of arctic explorer John Rae. We will board the small Graemsay/North Hoy ferry together from there.
12th May 2020, as part of Orkney Nature Festival
10th August 2020, as part of Orkney Viking Festival
On request – We would be happy to put on a private Viking Voyage to Hoy for your group (as long as there’s availability in our calendar).
Starts: 9.30 am Stromness Pier for 10 am ferry
Lasts: 7 hours, you will be back in Stromness for 5 pm.
Terms and conditions
All time-travel events must be pre-booked. Tickets are non-refundable, but if you contact us in good time before the event and explain why you can’t make it we will do everything we can within reason to help. You are allowed to give your ticket to someone else. If you don’t turn up at the right place and at the advertised start time, we will not wait for you, but proceed with the event. We will not refund tickets if you don’t turn up. Should we (Orkney Time Travel) cancel, we will of course refund all tickets. We will only cancel in extreme and unavoidable circumstances. Events go ahead even in bad weather. We do not take responsibility for how you dress, but advise everyone to wear warm clothing suited to the weather on the day. We reserve the right to send away dogs, people under noticeable influence of alcohol, and people behaving in a disruptive manner. By participating in an Orkney Time Travel event you take responsibility for your own and your children’s safety near water and open fire.