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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

Year-round, Orkney:

Blackhammer Chambered Cairn is a neolithic burial cairn, similar in general shape and subdivisions to the contemporary Neolithic houses at Knap of Howar.

Year-round, Orkney:

Click Mill is the last surviving horizontal water mill in Orkney, of a type well represented in Shetland and Lewis.

Year-round, Orkney:

The 5,000-year-old monument known as the Dwarfie Stane is a huge block of sandstone in which a Neolithic burial chamber has been cut.

Year-round, Orkney:

Probably the oldest standing stone houses in north-west Europe and dating from the early Neolithic period the site comprises two houses, approximately rectangular, with stone cupboards and stalls that are contemporary with the chambered tombs of Orkney.

Year-round, Orkney:

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

Year-round, Kirkwall:

Highland Park is the northernmost Scotch Whisky distillery in the world, and a visit to its five-star, award-winning visitor centre is a must.

Year-round, Rousay:

Constructed and used between 200BC and 200AD, Midhowe Broch is perhaps the most impressive broch in the Orkney Isles.

Year round, Orkney:

A recently rediscovered Iron Age chamber and the subject of two Time Team programmes.

Year-round, Orkney:

A late Neolithic circle of 27 upright stones and one of the finest stone circles anywhere, this great henge monument is situated on the Ness of Brodgar, a short distance away from the Stones of Stenness.

Year-round, Kirkwall:

A fine example of Romano-Gothic architecture, St Magnus Cathedral took about 300 years to build (the foundations starting in 1137) and is of international significance.


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