Attractions

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 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…
Top Choice Museum in Stromness

Stromness Museum

This superb museum, run with great passion, is full of knick-knacks from maritime and natural-history exhibitions covering whaling, the Hudson's Bay Company and the German fleet sunk after WWI. Recent finds from the…
Top Choice Museum in Burray

Fossil & Heritage Centre

This eclectic museum is a great visit, combining some excellent 360-million-year-old Devonian fish fossils found locally with a well-designed exhibition on the World Wars and Churchill Barriers. Upstairs is a select…
Top Choice Castle in Westray

Noltland Castle

A half-mile west of Pierowall stands this sturdy ruined towerhouse, built in the 16th century by Gilbert Balfour, aide to Mary, Queen of Scots. The castle is super-atmospheric and bristles with shot holes, part of t…