Orkney contains some of the oldest and best-preserved Neolithic sites in Europe – but there’s so much to see and do there.
Not only does Orkney have a fascinating history, there’s plenty currently happening which is worth discovering.
We present 10 things you have to do it you visit.
A great way to see Orkney’s best craftspeople and artists at work. The Creative Trail makes it easy to discover the amazing, traditional and contemporary, arts, crafts and design businesses that thrive on these inspirational islands. Whilst doing so, visitors explore the sensational landscape that makes these beautiful islands so unique.
TOMB OF THE EAGLES
This 5,000-year-old tomb on South Ronaldsay contained an incredible collection of bones and artefacts, some of which you can handle at the visitor centre, which also has a range of fascinating displays and a gift shop.
This Victorian castle on Shapinsay is a rare example of a calendar house – with seven turrets, 12 external doors, 52 rooms and 365 sections of window. It has wonderful gardens and hosts a number of activities and special events.
THE ORKNEY MUSEUM
This museum in Kirkwall tells the story of Orkney from the Stone Age to the Picts and Vikings, through to the present day. Collections include old photos and an excellent fine art collection. There are also activities for younger visitors.
ORKNEY NATURE FESTIVAL
Running since 2013, the inaugural Orkney Nature Festival is a celebration of Orkney’s wonderful natural history with boat trips, seabird cruises, wildlife walks and a wealth of events. Find out more HERE.
A stone-built Neolithic settlement on the west coast of the Orkney mainland. Built 5,000 years ago, it is one of the bestpreserved groups of prehistoric houses in Western Europe, with a fantastic interactive visitor centre, gift shop and café.
ST MAGNUS CATHEDRAL
Dominating Orkney’s capital Kirkwall, Britain’s most northerly cathedral was founded in 1137 by the Viking Earl Rognvald in honour of his uncle Magnus. Its stonework and stunning interior make the ‘light in the north’ a must-see attraction.
THE STROMNESS MUSEUM
A unique collection of artefacts and displays relating to Orkney’s natural history and maritime past. Learn about explorer Sir John Rae, Arctic whalers and the Hudson’s Bay Company, and see all sorts of items salvaged from the sea.
WORLD’S SHORTEST FLIGHT
Many people come to Orkney simply to take the world’s shortest scheduled commercial flight – around a minute, from Papa Westray to Westray. The flight is commemorated with a certificate and a whisky miniature.
SCAPA FLOW VISITOR CENTRE AND MUSEUM
Situated in Lyness on the island of Hoy, the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre and Museum houses an important record of the role the Royal Navy played in Orkney during both world wars, with displays and an impressive collection of military equipment.
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