Top Choice Cathedral in Kirkwall

St Magnus Cathedral

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 …
Top Choice Distillery in Kirkwall

Highland Park Distillery

South of Kirkwall's centre, this distillery is great to visit. Despite a dodgy Viking rebrand, it's a serious distillery that malts its own barley; see it and the peat kiln used to dry it on the excellent, well-info…
Ruins in Kirkwall

Earl's Palace

The intriguing 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, a bastard in every sen…
Distillery in Kirkwall

Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin

Opened in 2018, this distillery and visitor centre on the waterfront is a new showcase for this tasty Orkney spirit. Tours run for an hour and include an audiovisual display and a tasting; it's wise to prebook onlin…
Museum in Kirkwall

Orkney Museum

This labyrinthine display in a former merchant’s house gives an overview of Orcadian history and prehistory, including Pictish carvings and a display on the ba’. Most engaging are the last rooms, covering 19th- and …
Ruins in Kirkwall

Bishop's Palace

Right opposite St Magnus Cathedral, the ruined but attractive Bishop’s Palace was built in the mid-12th century for Bishop William the Old. There’s a good perspective of the cathedral from the tower. Admission is in…
Distillery in Kirkwall


Two miles south of Kirkwall's centre, on the shores of Scapa Flow, this is one of two Orcadian whisky distilleries and, though less famous than Highland Park, produces a quality, well-balanced, delicate malt. It off…
Museum in Kirkwall

Orkney Wireless Museum

This curious little museum is jam-packed with old radios and war memorabilia. Mostly local in character, it's an impressive collection.