Highland Village

Highland Village, Iona: Hours, Address, Highland Village Reviews: 4.5/5

Highland Village
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Experience the lifestyle of the Scots in Nova Scotia at the Village's Outdoor Pioneer Museum or look up your Cape Breton roots at the Genealogy and Family History Centre. The Highland Village is situated on a beautiful site overlooking the Bras d'Or Lakes and is open from May to mid October.
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4.5
334 reviews
Excellent
244
Very good
75
Average
8
Poor
5
Terrible
2

Terence D
Halifax, Canada89 contributions
Meet some interesting characters
Sep. 2021
This was my second time here, the previous time being maybe 5 years prior. The first time was interesting, but a much better experience this time. There is a time line, and there are people situated in all the stopping points who are in character, and if you talk to them, they'll respond in character and give you a real feel for what life was like at the time represented. You have to play your part too. We went into one house that had a fiddle on the table and asked if anyone played. Sure enough, one of the residents did, and played for us.
Also, a nice drive to and from.
Written October 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Bryan W
Ottawa, Canada521 contributions
Worth visiting!
Aug. 2021 • Couples
This place compliments our experience at the Fortress of Louisbourg nicely. The setting overlooking the Bras D’Or lakes is spectacular, and this outdoor museum is very well set up. We booked an online reservation, but it wasn’t needed - it wasn’t busy at all, and it was free. I’m not a huge fan of the characters in period costume that interact with you, but they were very well done - maybe better than Louisbourg. The idea of taking you through the buildings in sequence of time is clever and effective. I highly recommend this place.
Written August 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sterton
Port Hastings, Canada70 contributions
Lovely Place
Jul. 2021
It was free and not busy at all. We were able to take our time and look at everything. Staff were always willing to be chatted up. Our toddler had a great time!
Written August 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

May S
3 contributions
Wonderful Place!
Jul. 2021
I was able to talk to so many people. They answered my questions and were very knowledgably. Nice to have so many staff around. Two great bathroom locations: clean and new! My almost two-year-old LOVED it! Many things to look at and enjoy! You can actually go in the homes which is nice!
Written July 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

LuluReview
Canada506 contributions
An absolute must!!!
Jul. 2020
This impressive outdoor living history museum tells the story of Gaelic settlement in Cape Breton. It was rainy and a bit foggy on the day of our visit, but we found it only added to the ambiance. All of the villagers were dressed in period costumes and provided first-person narration of stories and experiences appropriate to the time.
They were clearly knowledgeable and passionate about sharing their Gaelic culture and identity, and it felt like we had travelled back in time and were visiting these characters in their own homes. Many of the villagers were also fluent Gaelic speakers which added to the authenticity of the experience. There is also a nice gift shop providing an opportunity to purchase some of the items that are actually made by the villagers.
Of course the changes required due to Covid meant that we couldn't partake in sampling some of the goodies that emerged from the warm ovens, but the wonderful aromas wafting through the air enhanced our overall experience.
We would highly recommend a visit to this unique and fun museum!
Written July 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

econospan
Chase, Canada113 contributions
very poor planning
Oct. 2019
we went in oct to visit this site... the weather was horrid. raining sideways type of thing.. we found the staff very unhelpful. showing the signs of the weather i think.. our guide was not attentive at all.. the site is not for the faint at heart... the guide would not keep pace with the majority of the group.. the climb is stressful when the conditions are not ideal. when the guide stopped to explain something, there was no thought at all about the weather. trying to listen was a chore and very concerning.. we went to the first hut. very smoky and lots of add ons to our group. we were shoved to extremities of the hut when more folks showed up.. when we left the add ons stayed with the group making it even more difficult to keep up.. we abandoned the tour shortly after and went on our own... there should be a means of transportation other than steep climbs.. like a horse and wagon.. just saying.
Written February 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Brenda201049
Ashington, UK143 contributions
A taste of Scottish history in Sydney
Sep. 2019
We visited this open air museum on a cruise ship coach tour and were not disappointed. Only down side is that we could have stayed longer! Lots of interesting buildings from the past with equally interesting guides in each building. They are dressed in their period costumes and stay in character all the time. The buildings have been cleverly transported from elsewhere and re built on this site:- farm houses, a school, shop, lumber yard and much more. Well worth a visit. A nice café and shop too. Everyone was very friendly and helpful.
Written November 6, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for visiting and taking the time to write about your experience. We have a dedicated staff who take pride in telling the story of Gaelic settlement in Nova Scotia. We will pass along your kind comments to them.
Written November 7, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

firebug1087
chesterton, IN63 contributions
a good cultural learning experience
Sep. 2019 • Friends
This was part 2 of a tour we went on through Holland America. It was very education about the Scottish people starting in the late 1700's - 1920's. They stay in character as you go through the home and times.
Written November 3, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Anne B
Lilydale, Australia235 contributions
A small but impressive museum
Sep. 2019
This is a place for those who are interested in history, especially of Cape Breton. Most of the buildings are original and have been transported from their original position. Even hearing stories of moving them on barges and up that hill were impressive.The doscents were all dressed in traditional costume and were fabulous in their knowledge of the period of time that they represented. I loved seeing the women cooking on the orginial stoves and thinking about how difficult life must have been for them. Possibly the most poignant was the first dwelling, as it would have been back in Scotland and why they were about to migrate.
My only issue with the site is that people with any walking issues might find the initial steps, the hill and the stone paths difficult to manage.
Written October 29, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

johnG2004FS
Nanaimo, Canada51 contributions
A big disappointment on a rainy day
Oct. 2019
The Highland Village is about an hour drive from Sydney. We chose this excursion on a recent Oceania cruise because of its high overall ratings. However, we were very disappointed with this excursion. The village is very spaced out and, as it was a very rainy day, we got soaked going from building to building. While the village is somewhat interesting, there were only a handful of people dressed up in period costumes and in character on our visit. At the end of our short visit we found the washrooms were disgusting and then the power went out. This museum needs some major investment to bring it up to North American standards. There are definitely better sight seeing opportunities when visiting Sydney.
Written October 25, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Highland Village tells the story of Gaelic Settlement in Nova Scotia. Like you, they also arrived by boat. Unlike you, they were fleeing persecution in Scotland and we're looking for a better life for their families. In any Cape Breton telephone book names beginning with "Mac" will always take up the most space. They literally had to chop their way inland and clear enough space to build their first shelters to survive the harsh Canadian winter. These are the people whose story we tell at the Highland Village. Many of the people who work here and tell that story also have "Mac" at the beginning of their name and proudly tell the story of their ancestors. We regret that you experienced some discomfort on your visit. We are at the beginning of a two year building process that will replace the washrooms on the upper level and create a brand new visitor welcome centre at the entrance. We hope you can return one day and spend more time exploring all that Cape Breton has to offer
Written October 27, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Highland Village

Highland Village is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.