History and heritage in Portmahomack

Tarbat Discovery Centre

Map
Tarbat Discovery Centre, Tarbatness Rd, Portmahomack, Tain, IV20 1YA

A Local Museum of National Importance

Described as ‘the Iona of the east’, The Tarbat Discovery Centre is a fascinating building with an intriguing story set in a beautiful location away from the hustle & bustle of the A9 and the regular tourist routes. It is a museum, as well as a learning and activity centre, dedicated to displaying and preserving the heritage of the intensely historic Tarbat peninsula.

Housed in the refurbished Old Parish Church, it is the site of the only Pictish monastic settlement excavated in Scotland to date and, as such, is of national importance. The Church is in itself an historic time line of six churches that have stood at the same location, with the remains of the crypt dating from as early as the 8th century.

There’s a lot to see - from Pictish carvings and many other finds, including the Viking Silver Hoard, to the Tarbatness Lighthouse exhibition, featuring copies of Stevenson’s original plans for building the lighthouse. There’s also a gallery of stunning  photographs taken by local astronomer, Denis Buczynski.

Sit back and take a journey through time with an audio-visual programme showing what life would have been like when Tarbat was a busy medieval settlement. Visit the Activity Room with its user-friendly touch screens designed to make learning more about the centre's displays fun, and helping both children and adults alike get the most from their visit.

Last but not least, don’t miss out on a well-stocked shop offering a fine selection of gifts and beautiful, locally manufactured craft goods to remind you of your visit.

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Opening Hours

April  (from Easter)

Mon - Sat: 14.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs

June - September

Mon - Sat: 10.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs

Sunday: 14.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs

October

Mon - Sat: 14.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs

Sunday: 14.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs

Other times

Groups may visit outside these hours and dates by appointment. Tarbat Discovery Centre can be hired for private events.

01862 871351