Things to do

Orkney and kirkwall

With six hundred miles of coastline and over 70 islands to explore, there is so much to see and do on your trip to Orkney.

Orkney.com provides a insight into what the islands have to offer and how to plan your trip.  To view the various towns and main attractions that aren’t to missed, click here

The conference will take place in the town of Kirkwall. Kirkwall is a bustling, busy town, but it’s one with a historic centre full of character. Independent retailers form the heart of the town, with shops lining the main street as it snakes its way south from the colourful harbour, providing everything you need – from fishing gear to the finest local food and drink. Kirkwall is a cosmopolitan place, with a wide choice of hotels, restaurants and cafes on offer, and the town centre was even named Scotland’s Most Beautiful High Street, winning a public vote in 2019.

Please see below a list of tourist activities below which may interest you during your stay in Kirkwall and Orkney:

Provided by Okrney.com

ST MAGNUS CATHEDRAL

Take a look at the fascinating upper levels of St Magnus Cathedral with special guided tours alongside a cathedral custodian. Explore the history of this beautiful building and see the clock mechanism, as well as a spectacular view of Kirkwall from the base of the spire.

To view opening times and costs, please visit here.

Close to the cathedral you’ll find the Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces, and the Orkney Museum is just across Broad Street. It’s a fascinating warren of exhibitions and artefacts, helping join the dots of thousands of years of history in these islands. The museum sits in-front of a beautiful oasis in the middle of town. 

KIRKWALL HARBOUR

Kirkwall’s harbour front is another spot to stop and see the world go by. Overlooked by some of the town’s best restaurants and pubs, you can watch the local fishing fleet heading in and out of Kirkwall bay. Nearby, the Orkney Distillery offers award-winning gins and tours, and the Orkney Wireless Museum is a tiny treasure trove of audio equipment from years gone by. And you don’t have to feel cut off from nature during your time in Kirkwall’s relatively metropolitan atmosphere. The Peedie Sea is home to swans, ducks and gulls throughout the year, with a network of paths offering a change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the town centre.

Provided by Orkney.com

SKARA BRAE​

Long before Stonehenge or even the Egyptian pyramids were built, Skara Brae was a thriving village. Step back 5,000 years in time to explore the best-preserved Neolithic settlement in Western Europe.

First uncovered by a storm in 1850, Skara Brae remains a place of discovery today. Visit a replica Neolithic house to see how its full interior might have looked. Then follow the path that overlooks the ancient buildings, imagining what life was like for the farmers, hunters and fishermen who lived here. The prehistoric houses still contain stone ‘dressers’ and box-beds.

Skara Brae is part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site.

For further information on Skara Brae please click here

Provided by Orkney.com

SCAPA BEACH​

Two beaches can be found in St Ola. Inganess, in the shadow of Kirkwall Airport, and Scapa, with its views over Scapa Flow, offer fresh sea air within walking distance of your traditional town amenities. There are plenty of other attractions to explore outwith the town boundary in the parish of St Ola too. Grain Earth House is a subterranean structure found in the middle of the Hatston Industrial Estate. Pick the key up from Judith Glue’s shop on Broad Street before descending the steps for a quite unique experience. Even further afield is the Wideford Hill Chambered Cairn, a Neolithic burial tomb built into the west side of the hill that overlooks Kirkwall. There is a walking route from the town and you’re guaranteed spectacular views from the summit.

Provided by Orkney.com

HIGHLAND PARK DISTILLERY​

Meanwhile, whisky lovers only have a mile or two to go to find Highland Park Distillery, to the south east of the town, and Scapa Distillery, to the south west. Both offer tastings and tours and are well worth a visit. Please see further details below:

Highland Park Distillery

Highland Park Distillery have been crafting their award-winning whisky at the Highland Park Distillery in Kirkwall, Orkney since 1798. Now, over 220 years later, they are one of the ten oldest working distilleries in Scotland. Age, experience, and respect for tradition may define their whisky but it’s Orkney that differentiates it. Something magic happens here and the result is a wild harmony of contrasting flavours found in our single malt.

Highland Park Distillery and Visitor Centre is open to visitors 7 days a week during April to October, between 10am-5pm (Tuesday to Saturday only during November to March).

Visitors can book online or contact: tours@highlandparkwhisky.com. For full details on available tours and FAQ’s, visit please click here.

Provided by Orkney.com

SCAPA DISTILLERY​

Visit the beautiful distillery overlooking Scapa Flow. They are here to assist you to choose the perfect whisky from our wide range of special editions.

To view opening times and costs, please visit here.

Reservations can be made here. They are also able to offer bespoke tastings please email them at: scapa.admin@pernod-ricard.com for details.

Provided by Orkney.com

SEA KAYAK 59° NORTH​

Sea Kayak 59 North provide fully guided sea kayaking adventures for the complete novice through to experienced sea kayakers looking to explore Orkney’s outstanding and diverse coastline. Orkney’s spectacular coastline, with its soaring cliffs, perfect beaches and abundant wildlife, is best explored and appreciated by sea kayak. Sea Kayak 59° North are Orkney’s only sea-kayaking guides, providing expert leadership for your unforgettable islands adventure.

For further information and how to book please visit the Sea Kayak 59 North website here.

Provided by Orkney.com