• 06:30 Pentland Firth Route – Monday 22nd All Sailings Cancelled / Tuesday 23rd All Sailings Under Review click for more info
  • 10:11 Aberdeen Arrivals and Departures –  Delayed Departure/ Delayed Arrival  click for more info
  • 00:00 Kirkwall (Hatston) Arrivals and Departures – Delayed Arrival click for more info
  • 18:45 Lerwick Arrivals and Departures  – Early Departure / Delayed Arrival click for more info
The Click Mill

Ten hidden gems of Orkney

When people come to visit Orkney they usually go to the Ring of Brodgar, Skara Brae and the Italian Chapel. Here are ten hidden gems to visit in Orkney – places well worth a visit that don’t make the front cover of the tourist brochure! We’ve also got ten hidden gems of Shetland here.

The Broch of Gurness, Evie, orkney

1) The Brough of Gurness

This circular Iron Age defensive building is located in Evie and gives a great insight into life between 200 BC and 100 BC. This blogger likes Gurness more than Skara Brae because at Gurness you can wander into the buildings and let your imagination take you back!

Unstan Cairn, Stenness, Orkney

2) Unstan Cairn

A smaller version of Maes Howe (and free!), Unstan Cairn is located close to the Brig o’ Waithe, less than three miles from Stromness. The grassy outside is steep – kids love sliding it! Unstan has many carvings inside (many from the 19th century, but some are older) – see if you can find the picture of the bird on the wall!

The Click Mill, Dounby, Orkney

3) Click Mill

A lovely 19th century mill located between Dounby and Evie which is free to visit. The Click Mill is a horizontal water mill influenced by Norse Mills and the name comes from the sound it made when in operation.

Kirbuster Farm Museum

4) Kirbister and Corrigal Farm Museum

These farmhouse museums at either side of Dounby show are what life was like in the 19th century. Kirbister in particular shows that the idea of hearths placed in the middle of the room lasted from Skara Brae until modern times! Both museums are free.

The fishermen's huts at Marwick, Orkney

5) The Fishermens Huts, Marwick

The Fishermen’s huts are at Marwick Bay, below Marwick Head and Kitchener’s Memorial. Park at the car park and walk south, away from Marwick Head. This coastal walk lasts for half a mile. The three historic fishermen’s huts stand above a lovely cove of round pebbles.

North Ronaldsay Lighthouse, Orkney

6) North Ronaldsay Lighthouse

Not for those who are scared of heights – North Ronaldsay lighthouse is the tallest land based lighthouse in the UK, standing at 109 feet – and offers stunning views of this lovely island. There are tours to the lamp in the summer months, on days of the Sunday ferry excursions and other times by arrangement.

Eddie Balfour Hide at Cottascarth, Orkney

7) The Eddie Balfour Hide at Cottascarth, Rendall

A beautiful new bird hide set within the wild hills of Rendall. Orkney is actually home to a quarter of the UK population of Hen Harriers and the Cottascarth moorland nature reserve is one of the best places to see them!. In April/ May the Hen Harriers perform acrobatics in the sky, spectacularly ‘sky dancing’ to attract a mate.

The Knap of Howar, Papa Westray, Orkney

8) The Knap of Howar

Located on the beautiful island of Papa Westray, the dwellings at the Knap of Howar are 5,000 year old houses in which you are free to roam. These are Europe’s oldest standing houses and like Skara Brae, the Knap of Howar was buried in sand and was uncovered in recent times by a storm.

Scapa Flow Visitors Centre, Lyness, Hoy, Orkney

9) Scapa Flow Visitor’s Centre

This super museum is located on the island of Hoy but is easy to reach – take the ferry from Houton to Lyness and walk 100 metres to the museum’s door. In 1940 12,000 military and civilian personnel were stationed at Lyness. You’ll find artifacts from Scapa Flow’s wartime past here, including torpedoes, military vehicles, and battleship guns!

The Loons, Birsay, Orkney

10) The Loons, Birsay

The Loons are wetlands at the Loch of Isbister – it is an RSPB reserve with a super bird hide, located on the Loons road (less than two miles from Marwick Head) where you can easily spot waterfowl and waders. There are pictures and descriptions on the walls to help you know what to look for!

Magnus DixonBy Magnus Dixon
Orkney and Shetland enthusiast, family man, loves walks, likes animals, terrible at sports, dire taste in music, great taste in films and tv, eats a little too much for his own good.
Share this page
Print this Page
View more articles about the Orkney Islands

More like this:

How to take photos of the Northern Lights

How to take photos of the Northern Lights

Visitors to Orkney in autumn and winter will hope to see the Northern Lights, known locally as the Merry Dancers. Those who get to see them will be enchanted by the curtains of green, yellow, blue and red light swaying and shifting in the night sky. If you’d like to take good photos of the Northern Lights, you may find that it is easier than you might think!

A trip to Hoy in Orkney

A trip to Hoy in Orkney

When the weather is nice, we would highly recommend a visit to the island of Hoy. It's the second biggest Orkney Island, and it's quite distinctive; characterised by heathery hills and vast red sandstone cliffs. Hoy is a favourite destination for those looking to visit an enchanting island to get away from it all! We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite places to visit during a trip to Hoy.

What is the Ness of Brodgar? Ten essential facts

What is the Ness of Brodgar? Ten essential facts

During the summer months in Orkney, an amazing archaeological dig takes place at The Ness of Brodgar. This archaeological site offers a glimpse into the Neolithic world and it's location, size and contents indicate that it was very important to the people who used the buildings for ceremonies and feasts 5000 years ago. As archaeologists continue to uncover more clues, we thought we'd write a beginner's guide to the Ness of Brodgar, with ten essential facts to help you understand the site!