The mysteries of the Orkney Islands never fail to attract young and old from far and near. The long-gone voices from the ancient sites dotted around these islands could tell us many tales of ancient civilisations, religious customs, and much more at which we can only guess. The voices may be quiet now, but they have left extraordinary remains of villages, howes, stone circles, and tombs which fire the imagination of all who visit them.
Of Orkney’s incredible allure and huge range of attractions, though, there is perhaps less mystery. Green, rolling fields bordered by huge seascapes, the festivals and shows, stacks and crashing seas, the sunken fleet at Scapa Flow, wonderful food and drink, island-hopping, golf at midnight in mid-summer, Orcadian music and crafts and of course spectacular wildlife.
In Orkney you can even feel the air and the pace of life doing you good.
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!
There's plenty of events in Orkney during October 2018, including the Winter School and Tradfest 2018 and the Orkney Storytelling Festival. Read our events guide so that you don't miss a thing!
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.
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!
Visiting Orkney? Why not take a look at our island by island and place by place guide. You'll find lots of interesting facts and helpful hints and tips so that you can make the most of your trip to Orkney.
The Orkney Museum, situated opposite St Magnus Cathedral, in Tankerness House in Kirkwall, is a very rewarding place to visit. Within its walls are some of Orkney's most prized artefacts, and we’d highly recommend spending some time here if you have been captivated by Orkney's history. We've compiled a list of 15 of our favourite things found in the Orkney Museum at Tankerness House.
Learn how to make traditional Orkney Bere Bannocks with this easy recipe from the Barony Mill in Birsay. Bere is an ancient form of barley ideally suited to grow in Orkney's climate - it has grown in the islands since the Stone Age. A Bere Bannock is a unique flat bread which makes an excellent starter or snack, best served warm with butter!
We spent a fantastic day in the Orkney island of Rousay in the late summer. Rousay is often described as the Egypt of the North because there are over 140 archaeological sites to be found within its 19 square miles! We saw chambered cairns, Iron Age brochs, amazing art and beautiful beaches!
Emma Neave-Webb is the Sanday Ranger and in the winter months she has been remotely operating the Sanday Seal Cam, which is proudly sponsored by NorthLink Ferries. Broadcasting from a remote beach on the island, the Sanday seal cam shows two pupping beaches in the months when grey seals haul ashore to give birth. We spoke to Emma and she offered a fascinating insight into seal behaviour!
If you're looking for a great place to go in Orkney, then we'd heartily recommend Fern Valley. Based in Rendall, Fern Valley is a fabulous animal centre and tearoom under the one roof which opened in the summer of 2017. All of the animals that live there are exotic rescue animals; visit for a chance to get up close to African Pygmy Hedgehogs, Meerkats and Raccoon dogs!
It's easy to see why the lovely Orkney islands attract so many writers, artists and makers to its shores. There is inspiration to be easily found just outside your front door! In recent years, the Orkney craft industry has developed a reputation for producing many talented designers of beautiful and unique jewellery. Find out what inspires these amazing people!