[Sunset over Kirkwall Harbour]

Kirkwall is the capital of Orkney and a hub for its transport, shops and services. Inter-island ferries to Westray, Stronsay, Eday, Sanday and Shapinsay, and beyond to Aberdeen and Lerwick, depart from various piers in and nearby the town. The centre itself is a maze of interesting narrow streets: the sort where you keep finding new corners even after a few visits. The best places to eat are grouped together on the harbour front - Helgi's has generally been the best of a good bunch for us. Much of the west side of the town has been reclaimed from the Peedie Sea, a natural body of water now much reduced in size. Consequently, the oldest (and most interesting) part of the town is further east, with a cluster of historic buildings around Palace Road. The town's distillery is found further up the hill on the edge of town; this and all the other main attractions are listed below.

[Albert Street (July 2016)]

Name: Kirkwall ★☆☆
Location (harbour car park): G.R.: HY 447113 ///plotting.diets.swan
Anything else? This and some other car parks levy a small charge, but there's plenty of free parking elsewhere.

[Earl's Palace]

Within walking distance

Name: Bishop and Earl's Palaces ★★☆☆
Description: Two separate ruined palaces either side of Watergate dating to the 12th and 15th centuries respectively, with elaborate architecture and dozens of rooms.
Location: Palace Road, Kirkwall, G.R.: HY 449107 ///timeless.acid.impressed
Open (2018): Daily, April to October
Cost (2018): £5 (adults), £3 (children), free for Historic Environment Scotland members

>> see separate post for Grain Earth House ☆☆☆
>> see separate post for Highland Park Distillery ★★☆

Name: Orkney Museum ★★☆☆
Description: Excellent museum of Tardis-like proportions, and a wide variety of displays.
Location: Broad Street, Kirkwall, G.R.: HY 448108 ///stands.arrival.texts
Open (2018): Monday to Saturday
Cost: Free

Name: Peedie Sea ☆☆☆
Description: Remains of a once large, marshy lake, which much of western Kirkwall was reclaimed from. Inhabited by ducks and model yachts.
Location: South of Ayre Road on the west side of Kirkwall, G.R.: HY 445111 ///muted.streamers.slimy

>> see separate post for St Magnus Cathedral ★★☆

[St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall]


>> see separate post for Scapa Distillery ★★☆ (2 miles away)
>> see Wideford Hill post for Wideford Hill ★☆☆; Wideford Hill Chambered Cairn ★☆☆ (2 miles away)

[Kirkwall Harbour (July 2016)]


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