Orkney - 85 Attractions You Must Visit

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About Orkney

Orkney, also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast of the island of Great Britain. Orkney is 10 miles north of the coast of Caithness and has about 70 islands, of which 20 are inhabited. The largest island, Mainland, is often referred to as "the Mainland", and has an area of 523 square kilometres, making it the sixth-largest Scottish island and the tenth-largest island in the British Isles. Orkney’s largest settlement, and

Types of Attractions in Orkney

Activities Around

List of Attractions in Orkney

Balfour castle

Balfour castle

Iconic Buildings

Castle Balfour was built around 1620 for Sir James Balfour of Glenawley. It was one of many castles designed to secure the Plantation of Ulster during the 17th century. It was built in the Scottish style of fortified houses. It is a Category A listed building and the landscape and formal gardens are listed in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland.

Barnhouse Settlement

The Barnhouse Settlement is a Neolithic village located in Antaness, Orkney, Scotland, which was inhabited between c. 3300 and 2600 BCE. The early settlement consisted of at least six small houses similar in style to the early circular houses at Skara Brae. These were set around a larger and more elaborate building. Situated on the shore of Harray Loch, and accessed from the Standing Stones of Stenness, Barnhouse is a stone age village.

Barony Mill

Barony Mill

Old Ruins

The Barony Mill features the only working water wheel in Orkney, and it's the only one in the world milling bere. The present Mill was built in 1873, and has changed little since. Remains of older mills are adjacent awaiting restoration. Like most northern mills of this period, a kiln for drying the grain is integral with the building.

Birsay Earl's Palace

Birsay Earl's Palace

Palaces

Old Ruins

The Earl's Palace in Birsay, Orkney, Scotland, is a ruined 16th-century castle. It was built by Robert Stewart, 1st Earl of Orkney , illegitimate son of King James V and his mistress Euphemia Elphinstone. The palace is in the care of Historic Environment Scotland as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Bishop’s and Earl's Palaces

The Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces are located in Kirkwall. It is essentially a simple, two-storey hall house and, although little of the first-floor hall remains, the ground level is largely intact. You can also climb to the top of the tower, known locally as the 'Moosie Toor', for views over Kirkwall. Earl's Palace, which was constructed around 1606 by Patrick, Earl of Orkney - one of Orkney's most notorious rulers.

Blackhammer Chambered Cairn

Blackhammer Chambered Cairn

Outdoors - Other

Old Ruins

Blackhammer Chambered Cairn is a Neolithic cairn on Rousay, in Orkney, Scotland. It is a scheduled monument in the care of Historic Environment Scotland.It is thought to date from around 3000 BC. The structure is a typical stalled cairn, with an interior divided into seven compartments by pairs of upright stone slabs. The cairn has a modern roof, as the cairn originally was only a few feet high. Access is by a hatchway and ladder in the roof, as the original entrance was sealed

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village on the northeast coast of Mainland Orkney in Scotland overlooking Eynhallow Sound, about 15 miles north-west of Kirkwall. It once housed a substantial community. It is perched on the edge of the Orkney's west mainland - part of a coastline that, at one point, would have been lined with brochs. Across Eynhallow Sound you can see another well-preserved example at Midhowe in Rousay.

Brough of Birsay

The Brough of Birsay that you see today is a collection of Viking buildings that date from the 10th century when the Vikings ruled Orkney. It is located around 13 miles north of Stromness and features the remains of Pictish and Norse settlements as well as a modern light house.

Burray

Burray

Islands

Burray is a small island between South Ronaldsay and the Orkney Mainland. Attractions in Burray include the Fossil and Heritage Centre at Viewforth. The island has a reasonable amount of birdlife, with Eurasian curlew, herring and lesser black-backed gulls breeding here.

Calf of Eday

Calf of Eday

Outdoors - Other

The Calf of Eday is an uninhabited island in Orkney, Scotland, lying north east of Eday. It is known for its wildlife and its prehistoric ruins. There is a Neolithic chambered cairn in the southwest overlooking Calf Sound, which separates the island from Eday. Rectangular in shape, the cairn was excavated in 1936–37 and contains a small chamber with two compartments and a larger one with four stalls that has a separate entrance and was probably added at a later date.

Churchill Barriers

The Churchill Barriers are a series of four causeways linking the Orkney Mainland to the islands of Lamb Holm, Glimps Holm, Burray and South Ronaldsay with a total length of 1.5 miles. The barriers were built between May 1940 and September 1944, primarily as naval defences to protect the anchorage at Scapa Flow, but since 12 May 1945, serve as road links between the islands.

Copinsay

Copinsay

Islands

Copinsay is an uninhabited island in the Orkneys, famous for its large colonies of kittiwakes, guillemots and razorbills. Fulmars and puffins also breed along the cliffs of Copinsay. The island reserve consists of the main island of Copinsay and the four smaller islets of Corn Holm, Ward Holm, Black Holm and the Horse of Copinsay. The historic Copinsay Lighthouse sits atop 250’ high cliffs that extend for a mile along the coast.

Corrigall Farm Museum

Corrigall Farm Museum is a traditional ‘but and ben’ laid out as a typical Orkney farmhouse and steading in Victorian/late 19th century period, although it was still lived in like this until the last inhabitants left in the mid-20th century. It's a fascinating place to visit, and it provides a particularly interesting counterpoint to the Kirbuster Museum, which is around five miles north west as the crow flies, though slightly further by car.

Cubbie Roo's Castle

Cubbie Roo's Castle

Iconic Buildings

Old Ruins

Cubbie Roo's Castle is one of the oldest examples of its type in Scotland. Built as the base for a Viking named Kolbein Hruga, it's thought the structure could have been three storeys high, commanding strategic views out over Gairsay Sound and the surrounding approaches. The ruin we see today has been identified as the castle described in the saga, and 'Roo' is probably a corruption of 'Kolbein Hruga'.

Cuilags

Cuilags

1 Day Treks

Mountain Peaks

Cuilags is a summit in the Hoy region or range in Scotland. Cuilags is 435 metres high. A good trekking destination and also there are so many other options too. All the walking routes up Cuilags on Mud and Routes can be found below. The top can be identified by the large cairn (third from E) on possibly man-made mound.

Cuween Hill Chambered Cairn

It is a fine example of Neolithic architectural design, with evidence of complex burial rites. It was constructed by Neolithic farmers as a burial place.The cairn was excavated in 1901 and the remains of several humans and dogs were found, including skulls. In the 1990s, excavations uncovered the remains of a small Neolithic settlement at Stonehall, at the foot of Cuween Hill, and in 2019 images of a forensic model of one of the dog skulls were published.

Deerness

Deerness

Outdoors - Other

Deerness is a peninsula located to the east end of Mainland, Orkney. It forms a part of the civil parish of St. Andrews and Deerness. Deerness is connected to the rest of the Orkney Mainland by a narrow isthmus, known as Dingieshowe. Deerness parish consists chiefly of the peninsula, but also takes in its surrounding islets of Copinsay, the Horse of Copinsay and Corn Holm.

Dwarfie Stane

Dwarfie Stane

Monuments

This 500 years old monument lies in a steep sided valley between Quoys and Rackwick on the island of Hoy. A huge block of hollowed-out red sandstone measuring about 8.5 metres long, the Dwarfie Stane is thought to be Britain’s only example of a rock-cut tomb. It should be stressed, however, that not all archaeologists share this opinion. The stone is a glacial erratic located in desolate peatland. The site is managed by Historic Environment Scotland.

Earls Bu and Church

Earls Bu and Church

Iconic Buildings

Old Ruins

The remains of the Orphir Round Church, dedicated to Saint Nicholas, are located in Orphir Parish on the Mainland of Orkney, Scotland. It has been a scheduled monument since 2014. It consisted of an apse on the eastern side of its 6-metre wide circular nave. It consisted of a circular nave about six metres in diameter with a semicircular apse with a central window. The walls are one metre thick.

Egilsay

Egilsay

Islands

Egilsay is one of the Orkney Islands in Scotland, lying east of Rousay. The island is largely farmland and is known for its corncrakes and St Magnus Church, dedicated or re-dedicated to Saint MagnusIt is home to acres of moorland, steep hills and cliffs, whereas both Egilsay and Wyre offer a more traditional Orcadian landscape of green fields and fertile farmland.

Map of attractions in Orkney

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For more information about Orkney, visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orkney