Top things to do

Top Choice Archaeological Site in West & North Mainland

Skara Brae

Idyllically situated by a sandy bay 8 miles north of Stromness, and predating Stonehenge and the pyramids of Giza, extraordinary Skara Brae, one of the world's most evocative prehistoric sites, is northern Europe’s …
Top Choice Archaeological Site in West & North Mainland

Maeshowe

Constructed about 5000 years ago, Maeshowe is an extraordinary place, a Stone Age tomb built from enormous sandstone blocks, some of which weighed many tons and were brought from several miles away. Creeping down th…
Top Choice Archaeological Site in South Ronaldsay

Tomb of the Eagles

Two significant archaeological sites were found here by a farmer on his land. The first is a Bronze Age stone building with a firepit, indoor well and plenty of seating (a communal cooking site or the original Orkne…
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 Nature Reserve in Unst

Hermaness National Nature Reserve

At marvellous Hermaness headland, a 4.5-mile round walk takes you to cliffs where gannets, fulmars and guillemots nest, and numerous puffins frolic. You can also see Scotland's most northerly point, the rocks of Out…
Top Choice Scottish in Kirkwall

Foveran

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

Shetland Museum

This museum houses an impressive recollection of 5000 years’ worth of culture, people and their interaction with this ancient landscape. Comprehensive but never dull, it covers everything from the archipelago’s geol…
Top Choice Archaeological Site in Rousay

Midhowe Cairn & Broch

Six miles from the ferry on Rousay, mighty Midhowe Cairn has been dubbed the 'Great Ship of Death'. Built around 3500 BC and enormous, it's divided into compartments, in which the remains of 25 people were found. Co…
Top Choice Archaeological Site in Papa Westray

Knap of Howar

By the seashore, this sturdy stone-built farmhouse and storeroom are solidly built testimony to crofting life on Papa Westray island…5500 years ago. An astonishing sight, it's one of the best-preserved neolithic hou…
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…