Top things to do

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 Scottish in Kirkwall

Foveran

Three miles down the Orphir road, one of Orkney's best dining options is surprisingly affordable for the quality. Tranquilly located, with a cosy eating area overlooking the sea, it shines presenting classic Orcadia…
Top Choice Distillery in Kirkwall

Highland Park Distillery

South of the centre, this distillery is great to visit. They malt their own barley; you can see it and the peat kiln used to dry it on the excellent, well-informed hour-long tour. The standard 12-year-old is a soft,…
Pub in Kirkwall

Kirkwall Hotel

This grand old waterfront hotel is among Kirkwall’s better dining places. The elegant bar and eating area packs out; it’s a favourite spot for older couples or a clan evening out. A fairly standard pub-food list is …
Pub Food in Kirkwall

Helgi’s

There’s a traditional cosiness about this place, but the decor has moved beyond the time-honoured beer-soaked carpet to a comfortable contemporary slate floor and quotes from the Orkneyinga Saga plastering the walls…
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, executed in Edinburgh …
Cafe in Kirkwall

Reel

Part music shop and part cafe, Kirkwall’s best coffee-stop sits alongside the cathedral, and bravely puts tables outside at the slightest threat of sunshine. It’s a relaxed spot, good for a morning-after debriefing,…
Cafe in Kirkwall

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 daily specials and succulent seafood platters. There's a strong emphasis on sus…
Museum in Kirkwall

Orkney Museum

This labyrinthine display is housed in a former merchant’s house. It has an overview of Orcadian history and prehistory, including Pictish carvings and a display on the Ba’. Most engaging are the last rooms, coverin…
British in Kirkwall

Lynnfield Hotel

This sizeable hotel restaurant by the Highland Park distillery offers well-presented, rich cuisine that's long been a local favourite. The menu changes, but expect quality meat and fish, including North Ronaldsay la…