The Orkney islands (there are around seventy in total) are full of things to do and places to go – so much so that I can’t go into much detail here. But, suffice it to say, you’ll be beguiled by its regular festivals, its nightlife, the opportunities for wildlife spotting and even the promise of a ferry ride to yet another gorgeous island – so do take a look at our other pages to the left to find out more. Better still, book a place to stay with us, then come and find out for yourself!
Orkney’s prehistoric and Viking sites are many and have been classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. No visit to the Orkneys would be complete without a visit to at least one of them which include Skara Brae, the Standing Stones O’Stenness, and many more. With many Neolithic sites to its credit, the ancient atmosphere of Orkney permeates even the towns and villages. Oh, and by the way, any children in your travelling party will love South Ronaldsay’s Tomb of the Eagles as they have to pull themselves inside on a trolley!
Arts, music and culture
The Orkney Craft Trail might be worth a try for those whose creative spirit has been rekindled by their Orkneys visit. Visitors could also take a trip to the Pier Arts Centre, Stromness’s brilliant location for all things arty and cultural, then take a look through some of the towns’ wonderful galleries, boutiques and workshops. And of course, many literary works were inspired by the Orkneys and written by Orkney writers, and traces have been left throughout the islands.
Try visiting one of the many museums or heritage centres on the Orkneys. Corrigall Farm Museum on Harray is a traditional ‘but and ben’ farmhouse, and the Orkneys Museum at Tankerness House in Kirkwall tells of Orkney’s rich and varied history from the Stone Age till the present time. The Wireless Museum is small but fascinating, and Orkneys’ other museums provide a specific taste of the past of these amazing islands. Other museums dotted round the islands concentrate on fossils and wartime/historical heritage (the Fossil and Heritage Centre on Burray), its maritime past, British art and prehistory, and the story of local naval anchorage.
Bike and car hire
Once on the islands, you might like to try one of the many bike hire options. Though cycling here can be challenging because of the strong winds and long, gradual hills, bike hire is popular, and the effort is certainly worthwhile. Hiring a car is also a viable option – see the lists at the tourist information offices, but do remember that many of the car hire firms are located on Mainland and some prefer you to stay on that island, so do check before booking.
Scuba and more
Scapa Scuba is based in Stromness and is Orkney’s only PADI dive centre. They offer a range of dive courses and guided dives to discover the many World War I and II relics hidden beneath Scapa Flow’s waters including blockships that were sunk by the Churchill Barriers to protect the British Naval Fleet and three battleships.
From inspiring historical buildings like St Magnus Cathedral, to bustling shopping streets, the Orkneys offer so much to do and see – be it the legacy of prehistoric man or the Vikings, the maritime or wartime history, the beautiful scenery and the gorgeous array of wildlife, birds and flora on the islands.
There’s so much to do in the Orkneys, so book your accommodation now for a trip that’s truly out of this world.