One of Orkney’s most popular attractions is set to undergo a much needed refurbishment during 2018.

The Scapa Flow Visitor Centre and Museum in Lyness documents Orkney’s role as a base for the Royal Navy through two World Wars, with many of the artefacts and exhibitions housed in a former fuel oil pumping station.

The Scapa Flow Visitor Centre and Museum


Now, thanks to more than £1.1m worth of support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the restoration of the site - including enhancements to the displays and a new building to house an exhibition space, café and toilets - will now be carried out.

No trip to the island of Hoy is complete with a stop at the Visitor Centre and Museum. It tells the story of Orkney’s rich wartime heritage through photographs, artefacts, films and audio.

Inside the Museum in Lyness


There are also examples of military vehicles, cranes and artillery, all painting a picture of wartime life in the islands. At one point during the Second World War more than 12,000 military and civilian personnel stayed at the base thanks to Scapa Flow’s role as the Royal Navy’s principal fleet anchorage.

In recent years it became apparent that the old buildings that make up the site were beginning to deteriorate so investigations were launched to identify potential funding options. The support from the Heritage Lottery Fund will make up part of a package with other grants from Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Orkney Islands Council’s LEADER fund and Capital Projects programme.

An artist's impression of the potential design of the new extension


Work on the project is due to start in spring 2018, with the Museum set to reopen in time for the commemorations marking 100 years since the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow in 1919.

The museum is set to re-open in time for the commemoration marking 100 years since the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow in 1919.


Find out more about the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre and Museum, and the island of Hoy.

You can travel to Hoy via Orkney Ferries.