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What’s on Mainland Orkney

Orkney’s main island is simply referred to as the Mainland, with most of its population living in and around the towns of Kirkwall and Stromness. Must-see archaeological attractions here include the Ring of Brodgar stone circle, the chambered cairn of Maeshowe and the incredibly well-preserved Skara Brae village. A wide range of sporting and outdoor activities are available, making for action-packed days out, and there are a variety of annual events and festivals for everyone to enjoy. Too many to list in full here, these include the Orkney Folk Festival, which takes place in May; The St Magnus Festival, which celebrates the arts in its many forms each summer; The County Show, which gives farmers the chance to meet, compete and showcase the best of Orkney farming produce every August; and the Orkney International Science Festival, which attracts world-class speakers and scientific experts to the islands each September.

area highlights

22nd - 25th May 2014, Orkey:

Orkney Folk Festival is a firmly established date in Scotland’s folk festival calendar and has drawn visitors back many times since it started in 1982.

20th - 25th June 2014, Orkney:

Founded in 1977 by Orkney’s distinguished resident composer, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Orkney’s annual celebration of the arts has become one of the UK’s most adventurous arts events.

9th August 2014, Orkney:

Held each year on the second Saturday in August, Orkney’s County Show is a fantastic opportunity to see some of Orkney’s quality livestock.

4th - 10th September 2014, Orkney:

This international science festival includes demonstrations, talks, field trips and visits - as well as evening ceilidhs and concerts.

19th - 21st September 2014, Orkney:

The Orkney Blues Festival brings together local and national artists across multiple venues for a blistering weekend of blues music.

April - September, Kirkwall:

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

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.

Year-round, Orkney:

Although small by Maeshowe’s standards, the Cuween cairn is nonetheless an impressive feat of prehistoric engineering.

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