things to do in orkney

Whether you’re planning a short visit or an extended stay, Orkney offers a multitude of attractions and activities to keep you entertained. With its breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Embark on a journey of discovery as you explore the ancient landmarks, embark on exciting tours, and immerse yourself in the unique charm of this enchanting archipelago and the various things to do in Orkney.

Discover the wonders of Orkney on guided tours that showcase the region’s top attractions. From the well-preserved prehistoric sites that dot the landscape, such as Skara Brae and the Ring of Brodgar, to the captivating points of interest and landmarks, every corner of Orkney has stories to tell. Dive into the fascinating history and heritage of the region as you uncover its Viking past and visit architectural gems like St Magnus Cathedral.

If you’re a nature enthusiast, Orkney won’t disappoint. Explore the untamed wilderness of the West Mainland, where rugged cliffs, dramatic sea stacks, and breathtaking wildlife await. Take in the sight of seals basking on the beaches, spot whales and otters in their natural habitat, and marvel at the diverse birdlife that calls these islands home. For families with children, there are plenty of kid-friendly activities and attractions to make your visit unforgettable.

While in Orkney, don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in the region’s thriving arts, crafts, and design scene. From handmade jewelry to bespoke furniture, the creativity and craftsmanship of Orkney’s artisans are truly remarkable. Immerse yourself in the local arts scene, attend cultural events and festivals, and take home a unique handcrafted souvenir as a cherished memory of your time on the islands.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, cultural immersion, or relaxation amidst stunning natural landscapes, Orkney has it all. Plan your trip to this captivating archipelago, and let its charm captivate you from the moment you arrive. Start ticking off your list of things to do in Orkney, and embark on a journey of discovery that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Explore the Natural Wonders of Orkney

Orkney, Scotland, is a treasure trove of natural wonders that are waiting to be explored. From breathtaking coastlines to diverse wildlife, there is something for everyone to enjoy on these picturesque islands.

Immerse Yourself in the Wild Atlantic Coast

Take a leisurely walk along the untamed Atlantic coast of Orkney’s West Mainland, where you’ll be captivated by the dramatic cliffs, towering sea stacks, and crashing waves. The rugged beauty of this coastline provides a perfect backdrop for photographers, nature enthusiasts, and adventure seekers alike.

Spotting Wildlife in Nature Reserves

Orkney is home to several nature reserves that offer ample opportunities to spot a variety of wildlife. Keep an eye out for seals basking in the sun, whales breaching the surface of the water, playful otters darting between the rocks, and a plethora of bird species soaring through the sky. The abundance of wildlife in Orkney makes it a paradise for nature lovers.

A Family-Friendly Destination

Exploring Orkney with kids is a delightful experience. Engage their curiosity by taking them on unique adventures such as searching for hidden treasures in ancient caves or discovering the secrets of historic sites. Orkney offers a range of kid-friendly activities, ensuring that your little ones have a memorable and educational visit.

“Orkney’s natural wonders are a testament to the awe-inspiring beauty of Scotland’s landscapes. The rugged cliffs, abundant wildlife, and family-friendly activities make it an ideal destination for those seeking adventure and a deeper connection with nature.”

So, whether you’re seeking solace in nature, embarking on a family adventure, or capturing stunning photographs, Orkney’s natural wonders are waiting to be explored.

explore orkney

Top Things to Do in Orkney Unusual Things to Do in Orkney Things to Do in Orkney for Kids
Visit the Skara Brae Neolithic Village Explore the mysterious Tomb of the Eagles Join a treasure hunt adventure
Take a boat tour to the Old Man of Hoy Stroll along the Sands of Wright Visit the Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre
Discover the stunning beaches of Orkney Witness the dramatic power of the Yesnaby Cliffs Step into the past at the Orkney Museum

Immerse Yourself in Orkney’s History and Heritage

Orkney is a treasure trove of historical and cultural wonders, offering a fascinating glimpse into the past. Start your journey by exploring the UNESCO Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site, where you can marvel at ancient sites such as Skara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar, and the Standing Stones of Stenness. These mystical landmarks hold the secrets of Orkney’s prehistoric civilization and are a testament to the ingenuity of our ancestors.

For a deeper dive into Orkney’s history, a visit to St Magnus Cathedral is a must. This magnificent cathedral, built in the 12th century, is a stunning example of medieval architecture. Step inside and be transported back in time to the Viking era, as you admire the intricate carvings and learn about Orkney’s Norse heritage.

But Orkney isn’t just about its ancient past. To truly embrace the spirit of the islands, make sure to sample the local cuisine. From freshly caught seafood to traditional Orkney beef, the culinary scene here is a delight for food lovers. Explore the charming cafes, restaurants, and pubs scattered across the islands, and savor the unique flavors that Orkney has to offer.

Sample Restaurants and Cafes in Orkney

Name Cuisine Location
The Foveran Fine Dining Kirkwall
The Ferry Inn Seafood St Margaret’s Hope
The Creel Restaurant Seafood St Margaret’s Hope
Strynd Tea Room Café Hoy

In addition to history and gastronomy, Orkney offers a range of cultural activities and entertainment options. Immerse yourself in the local arts scene by visiting galleries and studios showcasing the work of talented artists and crafters. Attend one of the many cultural events and festivals that take place throughout the year, celebrating music, literature, and traditional arts and crafts. Whether it’s a concert, a play, or a local fair, there’s always something happening in Orkney to entertain and inspire.

orkney entertainment

The best time to visit Orkney depends on your preferences. If you’re interested in experiencing the islands at their liveliest, the summer months are a great choice, with longer daylight hours and milder weather. However, any time of year can be magical in Orkney, with each season offering its own unique charm.

So whether you’re exploring ancient ruins, indulging in local delicacies, or immersing yourself in the vibrant arts and entertainment scene, Orkney promises a truly memorable experience.

Indulge in Orkney’s Arts, Crafts, and Design

Orkney is renowned for its thriving arts and crafts scene, showcasing the region’s rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re a fan of traditional craftsmanship or contemporary design, there is something for everyone to appreciate in Orkney’s artistic community.

Follow the Creative Trail

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Orkney’s arts and crafts is by exploring the Creative Trail. This curated route takes you on a journey to witness the incredible talent of local craftspeople. From jewelry makers and pottery artists to furniture designers and textile weavers, you’ll have the opportunity to see their creativity firsthand.

arts, crafts & design

Attend Orkney Events and Festivals

If you’re looking for a dose of inspiration and a chance to connect with the local arts community, don’t miss out on attending Orkney’s events and festivals. From exhibitions and workshops to music and dance performances, these cultural celebrations showcase the region’s artistic prowess. Keep an eye out for the Orkney Folk Festival, St. Magnus International Festival, and the Orkney Science Festival, among many others.

Take Home a Hand-Crafted Memento

One of the highlights of visiting Orkney’s arts and crafts scene is the opportunity to purchase a unique hand-crafted souvenir. Whether it’s a piece of bespoke jewelry, a beautifully woven scarf, or a handcrafted ceramic vessel, these artisanal creations make for meaningful reminders of your time spent in Orkney.

So, make sure to set aside some time in your itinerary to explore Orkney’s arts, crafts, and design. Whether you’re admiring the intricate craftsmanship, attending cultural events, or bringing home a one-of-a-kind keepsake, you’ll be immersing yourself in the artistic soul of this captivating region.


When planning your trip to Orkney, consider how many days you want to spend exploring the islands. Orkney offers so much to see and do that two days may not be enough to fully experience everything it has to offer. To make the most of your visit, it is recommended to spend at least a few days immersing yourself in the stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture of the archipelago.

The best time to visit Orkney depends on your preferences. However, many visitors choose to come during the summer months when the days are longer and the weather is generally milder. This allows for more time to explore the attractions and enjoy outdoor activities. Whether you’re interested in ancient sites, wildlife, or simply soaking up the atmosphere, there’s something for everyone in Orkney.

While having a car can provide more flexibility during your Orkney adventure, it is not necessary to explore the islands. There are tours available that can take you to the main attractions, as well as public transportation options to help you get around. Whichever way you choose to travel, you’ll be able to discover the wonders of Orkney and create unforgettable memories.


Are there any attractions specifically for kids in Orkney?

Yes, Orkney has plenty of family-friendly attractions. Kids will enjoy exploring the ancient sites, visiting the RSPB nature reserves to spot wildlife, and taking part in interactive workshops and events designed for younger visitors.

What are the must-see historical sites in Orkney?

Orkney is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Heart of Neolithic Orkney. Some must-see sites in this area include Skara Brae, a preserved Neolithic village; the Ring of Brodgar, a stone circle; and the Standing Stones of Stenness. Other notable historical sites include St Magnus Cathedral and the Italian Chapel.

Are there any food and drink experiences in Orkney?

Absolutely! Orkney is known for its delicious local produce, including fresh seafood, Scotch whisky, and artisanal cheese. There are several restaurants, cafes, and distilleries where visitors can sample these culinary delights.

What can I expect from Orkney’s arts and crafts scene?

Orkney has a thriving arts and crafts community. You can follow the Creative Trail to visit workshops and galleries showcasing a wide range of crafts, including jewelry making, pottery, painting, and textile art. Be sure to check out the local festivals and events that celebrate Orkney’s artistic heritage.

How many days should I spend in Orkney?

The length of your stay in Orkney depends on your interests and the activities you want to experience. While it’s possible to see the main attractions in a couple of days, to fully explore and appreciate everything that Orkney has to offer, consider spending at least 4-5 days on the islands.

What is the best time of year to visit Orkney?

The summer months (June to August) are popular for visiting Orkney due to longer daylight hours and milder weather. However, Orkney has a charm in every season, so it’s worth considering a visit during the quieter months of the year to experience a more peaceful and authentic Orkney.

Do I need a car to explore Orkney?

While having a car offers more flexibility for exploring the islands, it is not necessary. Orkney has a reliable public transportation system, including buses and ferries, which can take you to most attractions and sites of interest. There are also guided tours available that cover the main highlights of Orkney.