Earl's Palace & Bishop's Palace
St Magnus Cathedral
Founded in 1137 and constructed from local red sandstone, fabulous St Magnus Cathedral is Kirkwall’s centrepiece. The powerful...
Opposite St Magnus Cathedral, in a former merchant’s house, is this labyrinthine display. It has an overview of Orcadian history and...
Judith Glue Real Food Cafe
At the back of a lively craft shop opposite the cathedral, this cafe serves toothsome sandwiches and salads, as well as daily specials...
Lonely Planet review
These two ruined palaces are worth poking around. The more intriguing, the Earl’s Palace, was once known as the finest example of French Renaissance architecture in Scotland. One room features an interesting history of its builder, Earl Patrick Stewart, who was executed in Edinburgh for treason. He started construction in about 1600, but ran out of money and it was never completed.
The Bishop’s Palace was built in the mid-12th century to provide comfortable lodgings for Bishop William the Old. There’s a good view of the cathedral from the tower, and a plaque showing the different phases of the cathedral’s construction.