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Orkney Islands

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Revision as of 18:10, 26 October 2008 by (talk) (Neolithic structures)
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Orkney Islands

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The Orkney Islands [1] are an archipelago of approximately 70 islands some 10 miles (16 km) off the northern coast of Scotland.


The Orkney Islands have been settled since the Neolithic Period. There is plenty to do on the islands. They are easy to navigate. The islands are great for culture holidays and sight-seeing

The Islands

Map of the Orkney Islands

Towns and Villages


  • Kirkwall - the administrative capital of the Orkney Islands
  • Stromness - attractive port and the Orkney's second town


Get in

By plane

Flybe offers flights to Kirkwall, Orkney from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen and Sumburgh. Air service is operated by Loganair.

By boat

RO/RO ferries travel to and from the Scrabster and Gill's Bay harbours in the far north of Scotland to Stromness and St. Margaret's Hope respectiveley. The ferries take between 1 to 2 hours to make the crossing.

A RO/RO ferry also travels from Aberdeen , North West Scotland cqlling at Kirkwall on the way to Shetland.

There is also a passenger only ferry that operates during the Summer Season that goes from John O'Groats to Burwick with connecting buses to Kirkwall. This is the quickest way to get from the mainland to the Southern tip of the Orkney Islands but the crossing may be affected by weather conditions.


Neolithic structures

Awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1999, the ''Heart of Neolithic Orkney'' includes:

  • Skara Brae, 30km west of Kirkwall [2], the best-preserved prehistoric village in Western Europe. The village was inhabited before the pyramids of Egypt were built. Admission: adult £6.70, child £3.35, concessions £5.30. Prices include admission to Skaill House April to September. Admission to Skara Brae reduced October to March.
  • Maeshowe, 14km west of Kirkwall [3], finest chambered tomb in north-west Europe, which contains the best collection of Viking runes outside Scandinavia. Advance booking required. Admission*: adult £5.20, child £2.60, concessions £4.20
  • Ring of Brodgar, 16km west of Kirkwall [4], amazing stone circle with henge ditch. Free admission.
  • Standing Stones of Stenness, [5] one of the oldest stone circles in Britain. Free admission.

Orkney's World Heritage site also includes a number of unexcavated burial, ceremonial and settlement sites.

  • 2008 admission prices.


Holidays & day tours with Orkney Archaeology Tours - all tours led by professional archaeologists & qualified Orkney tourist guides [6]


  • Highland Park, Kirkwall [7]. The world's most northerly Scotch whisky distillery. Tours, including a free sample of the product and a gift shop are available.


There are plenty of places to stay meeting all price criterias, from youth hostels to grand hotels, Orkney has it all!

  • West End Guest House [8] - Sea Facing - St. Margaret's Hope, Orkney
  • Rickla [9] - Harray
  • Merkista Hotel [10] - Loch Harray
  • Albert Hotel [11] - Kirkwall
  • Ayre Hotel [12] - Kirkwall
  • Foveran Hotel [13] - Kirkwall
  • The Lavrockha Guest House [14] - Kirkwall
  • Queen's Hotel [15] - Kirkwall
  • Scorralee [16] - Orphir
  • Westrow Lodge [17] - Orphir
  • Girnigoe[18] - Shapinsay
  • Miller's House [19] - Stromness
  • Stromness Hotel [20] - Stromness
  • Cleaton House [21] - Westray
  • Auld Smokehoose & Scapa Lodge +441224739123 - Kirkwall
  • 76 Junction Road +441856872281 - Kirkwall
  • Bis Geos Self Catering [22] - Westray
  • The Kilnmans Cottage [23] - Westray
  • Kirkwall Youth Hostel [24] - Kirkwall
  • Stromness Youth Hostel [25] - Stromness
  • The Creel Restaurant with Rooms [26] - St. Margaret's Hope

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