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Shapinsay is one of Scotland's smaller Orkney Islands


Balfour - the ferry port and main centre.


Shapinsay makes a nice trip out from the (relative) bustle of Kirkwall, with a few sights and the chance to wander.

Get in

By boat

Several Orkney Ferries[1] a day travel to and from Kirkwall.

Get around

At about 6km by 5km, you should be able to reach most sights on foot. A bike would come in useful though.


  • Balfour Castle 01856 872856. This impressive looking castle is only open to guided tours on Wednesdays during summer.
  • The Gatehouse. The entrance to the castle, by the harbour gives a good taste of what lies behind.
  • Shapinsay Heritage Centre The Smithy, Balfour 01856 711258. An interesting collection if exhibits about the history of the island.


  • Milldam RSPB Reserve 1km from the port, the bird hide overlooks a peacful lake.



  • Balfour Castle[2] 01865 711282.


  • The Smithy Balfour. Moderately priced good food, would make a good lunchtime trip out from Kirkwall. Tables on the seafront too.



Stay safe

Get out

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