See & Do

Orkney offers a diverse range of activities across its 70 islands, meaning every member of your party will be entertained no matter what you are interested in.

The islands are steeped in history. Nestled in the west mainland is the heart of Neolithic Orkney, including sites such as 5000 year old Skara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar and the recently uncovered Ness of Brodgar. To fast forward in time and explore slightly more recent history, pay a visit to St Magnus Cathedral or the Earls Palace in Kirkwall. Fast forward again and discover the key role that Orkney – specifically the bay of Scapa Flow – played in the two World Wars by visiting the world famous Italian Chapel on Lambholm, the Orkney Museum, or the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre in Lyness, which is located on the slightly smaller island of Hoy.

Natural beauty and diverse wildlife are two of the factors that make Orkney so appealing to so many people. There are various beaches located across all of the islands; both Scapa and Inganess beaches are popular with locals and are a 30 minute walk away from the centre of Kirkwall. Waulkmill Bay, near Orphir, offers a vast stretch of sand when the tide is out, whilst at the Brough of Birsay a short causeway leading to a Neolithic brough is revealed at low tide.

Lochs are plentiful and are popular fishing spots. The smaller islands are just as bountiful in activities; Hoy and Westray are to be recommended for bird watching and wildlife.

Orkney has a lot to offer the average gastronome, ranging from a variety of high quality restaurants located throughout to the locally produced Highland Park whisky and Orkney Beer (both the distillery and brewery offer a variety of tours). Alternatively, follow the craft trail to view a selection of what local artists can offer; from jewellery to watercolours there will be something for everyone.

Of course, there is also the Pickaquoy Centre in Kirkwall, which boasts a swimming complex, a one-screen cinema and a variety of sports and exercise activities.