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.
Thinking of diving in Orkney? Scapa Flow in Orkney was the main naval base for the British Home fleet during both World War 1 and World War 2. It was also the site of the deliberate scuttling of The German High Seas Fleet on 21st June 1919. As a result there are now many shipwrecks in Scapa Flow that can explored by divers. Read our comprehensive guide to the ship wrecks of Scapa Flow to organise your Orkney diving adventure!
There's plenty to do in Orkney during May 2019, including the Orkney Nature Festival and nature cruise, Norwegian Constitution Day and Orkney Folk Festival. Read our events guide so that you don't miss a thing!
Orkney really is a photographer's paradise; make sure you don't forget your camera when visiting! We hope you enjoy our 25 outstanding pictures of Orkney's birds, seals, ancient monuments, beaches, cliffs and sunsets.
One of our favourite archaeological sites in Orkney is the Broch of Gurness near Aikerness Beach in Evie. Situated along the North Coast of the West Mainland, the Broch of Gurness is an especially great place to visit with kids who will have fun exploring the site and playing hide and seek amongst the surrounding ruins. We've compiled a list of ten fascinating facts about the broch.
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.
If you're searching for an amazing dessert with an Orkney flavour to wow your guests at a dinner table then our Highland Park Clootie Dumpling is well worth a try! George o’Neill, Sous Chef on MV Hamnavoe offers us his take on a beautiful traditional Orcadian pudding.
Orkney and Shetland have been populated for over 6000 years, and through the course of these Islands' history the languages spoken there have changed many times. However it is Old Norse that has had the greatest influence on modern place names. Read our guide to find out what the island, area and house names of Orkney mean!
For visitors to Orkney, a culinary experience we’d recommend is trying a Pattie supper in a local chip shop. This is mince, tattie and onion mixed together, battered and deep-fried. NorthLink Ferries Sous Chef George o’Neill kindly lends us his foolproof recipe and top tips to make approximately 12 perfect Orkney Patties in your own kitchen! Enjoy a pattie supper tonight!
To celebrate the Year of Young People 2018 NorthLink Ferries ran a writing competition for P6 and P7 pupils in Orkney. We asked them to tell us five reasons why they think the Orkney Islands are a great place to visit. The winning article, written by Amelia Tomalin from Evie Primary School, features rich descriptions of the folklore and landscape of Orkney which we think you'll love!
Orkney has a packed calendar of diverse events. We’ve collected a list of annual events and festivals, from summer agricultural shows to the mass yuletide game ‘The Ba’. With classical, jazz, rock and traditional folk music mixed in between, Orkney has every possible taste covered.
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!