The beautiful beaches of Grobust in Westray (Photo: Colin Keldie)
The beautiful beaches of Grobust in Westray (Photo: Colin Keldie)

Orkney – the islands that aren’t just for summer

If you’ve visited Orkney during the summer months, you’ll already know about its breathtaking vistas, rugged coastlines, stunning beaches, incredible archaeology, diverse wildlife, rich culture, and unique food, drink and crafts.

But this is a place that delivers memories all year round, with each season offering something different.

Stretch your legs on a dramatic coastal walk above the sea cliffs at Yesnaby, or make the hike out to see Orkney’s most famous landmark, the 137-metre Old Man of Hoy sea stack.

Find solitude on a stroll along a deserted, pristine beach, keeping your eyes peeled for seals, whales and otters along the way. Travel back in time exploring Orkney’s world-class archaeological and historical sites.

The islands also have dozens of nature reserves covering varied habitats, and you might well see hen harriers, owls, white-tailed eagles and puffins.

The beautiful beaches of Grobust in Westray (Photo: Colin Keldie)

A highlight of an Orkney stay will be when you head indoors, fully refreshed, to sit by a roaring peat fire with a dram of local whisky (or beer, gin, wine or rum).

There, you might find yourself enchanted by a folk tale, whisked up to dance a traditional Orcadian Strip-the-Willow, or engaged in conversation with friendly locals. They’ll probably tell you about the remarkable number of events and festivals taking place in Orkney throughout the year.

Journey out to Orkney’s outlying islands and you’ll learn each has its own distinctive landscape and history.

On North Ronaldsay there’s a traditionally built stone dyke encircling the entire island – it keeps the local seaweed-eating sheep on their shoreline habitat. Travel to Rousay and discover an island dubbed ‘the Egypt of the North’, thanks to a remarkable concentration of archaeology.

Tresness in Sanday, Orkney (Photo: Colin Keldie)

Fly between the islands of Westray and Papa Westray and you’ll chalk up a record-breaking experience – the flight is the shortest scheduled air service in the world.

The islands’ excellent ferry and air services make it straightforward to take in a handful of these gems during a stay.

Indeed, Destination Orkney has just published an inspiring list of itinerary ideas and films for the traveller looking for a real all seasons Orkney experience.

Find out more at