Why the Orkney Islands?

Just off the north coast of Scotland, an archipelago of around 70 islands and skerries creates a glittering array of shapes set against clear blue waters. The smaller isles of Orkney offer a world of serenity on sandy white shores while the Mainland houses the majority of the population and many attractions including an arts and crafts trail. Beautiful beaches combine with heritage, culture and wonderful wildlife to make any trip to Orkney distinct and magical.

History and Heritage

The Orkney Islands have a long and colourful history. It is no exaggeration to say that the isles are a place where this history remains a part of everyday life. Every corner of the islands has its ancient monuments, most of them in a remarkable state of repair. From the Stone Age Orcadians, who left a legacy of monuments that continue to inspire today, through to the Vikings, who took the islands in the ninth century and made them the centre of a powerful Earldom and part of the kingdom of Norway, and beyond. Houses and tombs dating back 5,000 years share the landscape with Bronze Age cemeteries, standing stones, 2,000 year old brochs, Viking, medieval and Renaissance palaces.

Activities and Attractions

With a wide range of famous and iconic attractions the Orkney Islands provides a jaw dropping array of places to visit while you’re in the Orkney Islands. Saint Magnus Cathedral, known as the light in the North was founded in 1137 and is the magnificent church of the people on the coast of Kirkwall. Just south of Saint Magnus Cathedral is the smaller but equally beautiful Italian Chapel built by Italian POWs during the Second World War is a quaint but stunning chapel. If there is one site that has come to represent Orkney’s ancient heritage it’s the Ring of Brodgar. The stone circle in the centre of a natural cauldron formed by the hills is assumed to have dated back to around 2000 BC. The Bishop’s and Earl’s Palace located near Saint Magnus Cathedral is regarded as one of the finest examples of architecture in Scotland highlighting Orkneys close Norse links. Wide a host of other stunning locations to visit you are spoilt for choice on the Orkney Islands. Additionally there is a range of walking and cycling routes taking you along the craggy coastal countryside’s beautiful location such as Yesnaby Cliffs so don’t wait around and book a visit to the Orkney Islands today.

Food and Drink

The Orkney isles may be small in size but they're very big here on producing a fantastic range of delicious food and drink of exceptional quality. With over 1,000 miles of coastline surrounded by the cool waters of the North Sea, Orkney is blessed with a constant supply of fresh, appetising fish and shellfish while the rich farmland produces some of Scotland’s most flavoursome beef and lamb - look out particularly for the famous seaweed-fed North Ronaldsay lamb. The islands have also carved out an enviable reputation for their cheeses, not to mention a little something to wash it all down, particularly whisky and beer. With such amazing local produce to draw on, eating out in Orkney is always an experience with a great range of award-winning restaurants, cafés and bars to choose from. For a real foodie experience of your own making, you can pick up these fabulous fresh ingredients at farmers’ markets and butchers, fish mongers and a variety of local shops.



(Photo: ©VisitScotland/ScottishViewpoint)  

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