Scapa Flow Museum

Museum Closed for Winter
Reopens Mar 2024
Free Entry

Lyness, Island of Hoy, KW16 3NT

T: 01856 791300

Welcome to Scapa Flow Museum

After undergoing a £4.4m renovation, Scapa Flow Museum has reopened to the public, showcasing objects never seen before alongside favourite exhibits telling the story of Scapa Flow as centre of the British naval universe during both world wars.

Discover the equally important story of how this influx of thousands of service people affected the daily lives of the people of Orkney and their lasting legacy on the archipelago. 

Scapa Flow Museum’s role is to chart Orkney’s military involvement in the First and Second World Wars and provide a safe home for a major collection of wartime artefacts, many of national and international importance. The many stories are brought to life through a world class display of over 250 artefacts and interactive exhibits.

In 2023, Scapa Flow Museum was shortlisted for  Art Fund’s prestigious Museum of the Year prize, the largest museum prize in the world. Whether you’re interested in wartime history or just looking for a day out, making the trip across to Hoy to visit Scapa Flow Museum wis an experience not to be missed

What to see

Scapa What to See 2

Original Building

The pumphouse, which is the original part of the museum, was constructed in 1937 as a crucial part of the base infrastructure for pumping heavy fuel oil from the 16 above ground fuel storage tanks to vessels for the fleet to be fuelled. In the building you will see equipment original to the pump house such as the ‘Wilson Lancashire Type Boilers’ which produced the steam to operate the pumps and other machinery within the pumphouse.

You will also be able to gain an appreciation for the scale of the base at Lyness through modern VR experiences and detailed graphics.

Scapa What to see 3

New Extension

After closing in 2017 for re-development, Scapa Flow Museum finally re-opened to the public on the 2nd of July 2022. The museum is back better than ever before. In the new extension you will see exciting new exhibits and artefacts, not seen by the public before, these will help show the scale of Lyness during wartime and help confer the human stories that came from it.

You’ll be able to see artefacts showing how up to 100,000 service men and women were entertained; learn about the tragic loss of HMS Hampshire, Vanguard and Royal Oak and experience how the salvage industry boomed in the post war years.  There are so many aspects and different interest points to the museum, you’ll be hard pressed not to be impressed.

Scapa what to see 1

German High Seas Fleet Gun from SMS Bremse

SMS Bremse was a vessel from the WW1 German High Seas Fleet. She was the 2nd of her class and was light minelaying cruiser. At the end of the first world war she came to be interned in Scapa Flow along with 73 other ships of the German Fleet. Whilst in captivity, the order to scuttle the fleet was given. An attempt to save her was made but it left her bow above water after a grounding on the Island of Cava.

She was then raised by Ernest Cox and towed to Lyness to be broken up. Today you can see one of her 15cm guns on display in the Romney Hut at Scapa Flow Museum where it is back on display to the public after 3 months away for conservation. 

Plan your visit

Scapa Flow Museum

Lyness, Island of Hoy, KW16 3NT
T: 01856 791300

What Three Words Location

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Admission

Free Entry, Donations welcome

Opening Times

Museum open

Mar 2024: Tues-Sat 9.30am – 4.15pm,

Apr 2024: Mon – Sat, 9.30am – 4.15pm
May – Sep 2024: Daily, 9.30am- 4.15pm
Oct – Nov 2024: Tue – Sat, 9.30am – 4.15pm,

Dec 2023: Thurs-Sat, 9.30am – 4.15pm

Jan-Feb: Closed

Entry is through the main double doors which is a short walk, but within sight of, the car park.  

To get to Lyness from mainland Orkney, you can catch the Hoy Head ferry from Houton, their timetable is available here http://www.orkneyferries.co.uk/. 

If you are coming from Kirkwall then you can board the Number 2 Stagecoach bus from the Kirkwall Travel Centre, which will meet the ferry at the Houton Ferry Terminal on departures and arrivals. 

The museum shop is now open, selling a range of books and gifts, including local crafts.

There are accessible toilets located within the main entrance of the building.

Baby changing facilities are available at the toilets nearest the main entrance.

There is a ‘dome’ area where members of the public are free to browse our small collection of archival folders and documents. 

There is a great new café onsite which is ready to serve you delicious fresh food! 

The museum is all on one level therefore fully accessible for those who have limited mobility. 

There is a hearing loop located at reception within the main entrance of the museum. 

Assistance dogs are welcome in the museum.

We ask you to use the hand sanitiser provided on entering and leaving the building. 

Face masks are not required on entry, but free face masks are available if you require one. 

To get to the Museum it is necessary to cross substantial areas of uneven ground between the car park and ferry at the Houton Terminal, and again between the Ferry and the Museum at Lyness. We would therefore recommend visitors with mobility issues consider bringing their vehicle. The Museum building itself is fully accessible 

We only allow assistance dogs within our museums.

We have a wonderful cafe on site that is open from 09:30-16:15 in line with the museum.

Meals can be ordered up until 15:30 but cakes and hot drinks are available throughout the day.

If you would like to arrange a school trip to the museum, then please get in touch via email to museum@orkney.gov.uk or phone 01856 791300. 

Currently there are no scheduled guided tours but if you would like to organise a private tour then please get in touch via museum@orkney.gov.uk

Currently there are no scheduled guided tours but if you would like to organise a private tour then please get in touch via museum@orkney.gov.uk 

If you are organising a group tour, then please let us know via email at museum@orkney.gov.uk. Although entry is free, donations are greatly appreciated. 

If you would like to hire space in the museum for an event or potentially a pop-up exhibition, then please get in touch via email at museum@orkney.gov.uk 

Once you have finished visiting the Scapa Flow Museum, why don’t you also do some exploring of Hoy and Graemsay? Learn more about what to see and do here: https://www.orkney.com/explore/hoy-graemsay

Stay connected to Scapa Flow museum for the latest news, stories, exhibitions, events and visitor information by signing up to our mailing list.

Events & Exhibitions

Support us

Your support is vital and helps the Museum to share the collection with the world.

Scapa Flow Museum relies on support from a wide range of sources and there are many ways that you can donate to help care for and preserve the collection for future generations. You can donate as an individual, or through a foundation, trust or company. Your support helps us to do the following:

To learn more about how you can support Scapa Flow Museum

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The History of Scapa Flow

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Scapa Flow Museum Part 2, The Galleries

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Scapa Flow Museum Part 1, The Pumphouse

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Our Funders

A £4.4m major redevelopment, completed in July 2022, was funded by Orkney Islands Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, the Orkney LEADER 2014-2020 programme, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Museums Galleries Scotland, and the Scottish Government’s European Regional Development Fund programme, managed by NatureScot through the Natural & Cultural Heritage Fund. (The Natural & Cultural Heritage Fund is part of the Scottish Government’s European Regional Development Fund programme, which finishes in 2023. NatureScot is also managing another element of the programme – the Green Infrastructure Fund. The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund and the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information the Scottish Government website)

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