St Magnus Cathedral
This labyrinthine display is housed in a former merchant’s house. It has an overview of Orcadian history and prehistory, including...
Earl's Palace & Bishop's Palace
These two adjacent ruined palaces are worth poking around. The more intriguing, the Earl’s Palace , was once known as the finest example...
Judith Glue Real Food Cafe
At the back of a lively craft shop opposite the cathedral, this licensed cafe-bistro serves toothsome sandwiches and salads, as well as...
Broad St · interesting places nearby
St Magnus Cathedral information
Constructed from local red sandstone, Kirkwall's centrepiece, dating from the early 12th century, is among Scotland's most interesting cathedrals. The powerful atmosphere of an ancient faith pervades the impressive interior. Lyrical and melodramatic epitaphs of the dead line the walls and emphasise the serious business of 17th- and 18th-century bereavement. Tours of the upper level (£7.75) run on Tuesdays and Thursdays; phone to book.
Earl Rognvald Brusason commissioned the cathedral in 1137 in the name of his martyred uncle, Magnus Erlendsson, who was killed by Earl Hakon Paulsson on Egilsay in 1117. Magnus's remains are entombed in an interior pillar. Another notable interment is that of the Arctic explorer John Rae.