Skaill House, Orkney

Skaill House

Skaill House is just a stone’s throw from Skara Brae on Orkney, in fact it was the owner of the house who discovered Skara Brae on the beach after tons of sand had been blown off the settlement during a huge storm in 1850. If you buy a ticket for Skara Brae it also gives you access to the house. It’s apparently Orkney’s finest 17th century mansion, it’s certainly very homely for such a grand house.

Skaill House

The dining room is just a nice size, it would be very cosy I think. The dinner service on display in the built in dresser belonged to Captain Cook, it was on one of his ships and he gifted it to the then owner of the house. It’s very fancy, I had imagined that anything onboard would have been much more utilitarian.

Skaill House  dinner Service

The library is great with lots of 1930s-1970s book club favourites as well as older no doubt rarer books.

Skaill House  Library

Skaill House  Library

I took a lot more photos but that’ll do for now. I really enjoyed going around Skaill House but according to some comments I’ve seen it seems that not everyone has been all that enamoured of the house and only went to see it because the ticket was included in the price of the Skara Brae one. They even thought that having Captain Cook’s dinner service on display was ‘scraping the barrel’. Honestly – some people just live to moan about things online!

8 thoughts on “Skaill House, Orkney

  1. The books on the shelves have just the kind of covers that I get excited to spot in a shop or sales-table. Sure enough, I see in the last photo some P.G.Wodehouses I have, and a Dornford Yates I don’t have…yet!
    What an interesting place altogether.

    • Valerie,
      I would have loved to see these books in a shop. I’m intrigued to know what Dornford Yates books are like, I see them in just about every bookshop I look in, but have never known anyone who reads them.

      • His books are regarded by some as old-fashioned, but for me they’re sheer escapism, particularly the humorous “Berry” books.
        I love the felicitous turns of phrase Dornford Yates achieves in his writing – sometimes I find it good mental exercise to read it aloud to myself to appreciate it even more.

  2. Oh that dinner service in the dresser is so pretty ! 🙂 An interesting read…maybe I,ll get to go there one day …but it is such a very long way from me down here , in the far west of Cornwall ! What was the garden like ?

    • Daisy Debs,
      Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment. There is a sort of sunken lawn which I presume was used as a croquet lawn. There is also a sort of sunken herbaceous rectangle but it’s quite overgrown, mind you given the location it’s amazing that anything survives the winter weather. Cornwall is a very long way away from Orkney, we live in Fife, not far from Edinburgh and we’ve only been to Cornwall once as it’s such a long drive. Going to Orkney was a long trip even for us.

  3. I’ll fight Valerie for those books! They’re exactly the kinds I look for, too. Captain Cook’s china looks very feminine. I would have expected something plainer, too. The house itself looks so stark on the outside, so I guess I’m not so surprised that it’s not as ornate as I might expect. It does seem fairly cozy for a big house.

    • Joan,
      It’s a typical Scottish house of its time really, but internally there have been quite a few changes, such as bathrooms being added. I was envious of those books.

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