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What’s on Orkney

The tranquil and friendly Orkney Islands have a Neolithic heritage going back more than 5,500 years, much of it still standing. As a result, there are numerous archaeological attractions throughout the islands, including the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Maeshowe, Ring of Brodgar and Skara Brae on Mainland Orkney. Orkney is also internationally renowned for the abundance of birds and marine wildlife that inhabit the islands throughout the year, making it a premier all-season destination for nature lovers. Orkney’s diverse ranges of habitats are good for plants as well as wildlife, and a wide variety of wild flowers bloom each year in the islands. The Orkney Islands divide naturally into three regions - the North Isles, the South Isles and the Mainland. All offer you a rich mix of cultural, sporting and leisure activities and events - from golfing and walking, to sailing and cycling – in a temperate, welcoming environment.

regional highlights

April - September, Orkney

Strikingly positioned beside Eynhallow Sound with views across to the island of Rousay, the Broch of Gurness (Aikerness Broch) is one of the most outstanding surviving examples of a later prehistoric (Iron-Age) settlement that is unique to northern Scotland.

May-September, Orkney Islands:

A water-powered meal mill and kiln built in 1873 and still in operation today.

April - September, Kirkwall:

Two of Scotland’s finest examples of architecture, and highlighting Orkney’s close Norse and ecclesiastical links, the palaces are located near St Magnus cathedral.

Mid June - September, Birsay

Birsay is a tidal island with Pictish and Viking settlements which include some of the finest examples of Norse hall-houses so far found in Scotland.

April to September, Burray

Displays of local and worldwide fossils and glow in the dark minerals, vintage exhibits and old joinery tools.

April - September, Kirkwall:

A fascinating collection tracing the history of early domestic radio and wartime communications in Orkney.

May - September, Westray:

A small, children-friendly museum.

April - September, Orkney Islands:

Part of the extensive military remains on the island of Hoy, the battery and martello tower were built between 1813 and 1815 to provide defence against French and American privateers.

23rd - 26th October 2014, Orkney:

The annual Orkney Storytelling Festival is now firmly established in the Orkney calendar.

May - October, Rousay

Trumland House is a Jacobean-style mansion designed by David Bryce and completed in 1876.


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