Scapa Flow Tours
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In the Orkney Islands between the North Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, Scapa Flow is one of the great natural harbors of the world. Used since Viking times, Scapa Flow saw its fair share of bloodshed in WWI and WWII, when the harbor served as the naval base for the British Grand Fleet.
You can learn more about the naval history of these sheltered waters at the Scapa Flow Information Centre and Museum on the isle of Hoy. In this converted naval pumphouse, you’ll learn more about the Royal Oak disaster, when a German U-boat torpedoed HMS Royal Oak in 1939, killing over 800 men. You can also see wartime photo collections and read the personal stories and sailors’ letters home, making for a touching visit.
Dotted around the island are many bunkers and emplacements as well as Lyness cemetery, which is covered in thousands of graves, many simply reading “Unknown Soldier.”
While looking out at the quiet waters, try to imagine this spot as the scene of the “Grand Scuttle.” This was on June 21, 1919, when more than 50 German warships were sunk at the orders of their own Rear Admiral so that the boats wouldn’t be captured by the British in the post-WWI peacetime negotiations.
Since Houton is a two-minute walk from Lyness pier, you can take the 40-minute ferry from here to get to Scapa Flow. Entrance to the museum is free, and there’s an onsite gift store and cafe. The site is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with extended Saturday openings from March to October and extended Sunday openings between May and September. The museum is closed in winter.
Address: Lyness, Hoy, Orkney, Scotland
Hours: Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Open Saturday from March through October and Sunday from May to September
1 Tours and Activities to Experience Scapa Flow
Escape the mainland for a full-day tour of the far-flung Orkney Islands from John O’Groats. Journey by ferry across the Pentland Firth to the wind-swept Orkney archipelago, bursting with postcard-perfect natural vistas and mystical landmarks. With a local guide, cruise along the Churchill Barriers to visit villages steeped in Viking mystery like 5,000-year-old Skara Brae and landmarks like the Lamb Holm Italian Chapel and St. Magnus Cathedral.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are Scapa Flow hours of operation?
Scapa Flow hours of operation: Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Open Saturday from March through October and Sunday from May to September. Buy tickets in advance on Viator. If you book with Viator, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.
What's the best way to experience Scapa Flow?
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