Kirkwall

Orkney Mainland | Town | ★★★

[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 (9/7/16)]

Location

📌 Kirkwall ★★★
Orkney Mainland, G.R.: HY 450111 ///beaks.charcoal.land

🚶 There's lots to do in and around town - see list below. Highland Park Distillery is a mile's walk on pavements; Scapa Distillery is about twice as far.
🚌 Kirkwall is the main hub for the Orkney Islands. Ferries from Shetland and Aberdeen call at Hatston pier, a couple of miles out of town. Inter-island ferries (from Westray, Stronsay, Eday, Sanday and Shapinsay) dock in the town centre. Orkney's main airport is a few miles away, with flights from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Shetland.There are several bus routes from all over Orkney Mainland and South Ronaldsay, including other ferry terminals.
🚗 Some car parks levy a small fee, but there's plenty of free parking elsewhere.



See & do (<1 mi away)

📌 Bishop and Earl's Palaces ★★★
💬 Two separate ruined palaces either side of Watergate dating to the 12th and 15th centuries respectively, with elaborate architecture and dozens of rooms.
Palace Road, 5-min walk south of Kirkwall town centre, G.R.: HY 449107 ///timeless.acid.impressed
Open daily, April to October | £6 adult / £3.80 child / free for Historic Environment Scotland members

>> Grain Earth House ★★
>> Highland Park Distillery ★★★★

📌 Orkney Museum ★★★
💬 Excellent museum of Tardis-like proportions, and a wide variety of displays.
Broad Street, Kirkwall town centre, G.R.: HY 448108 ///stands.arrival.texts
Open Monday to Saturday (2019) | Free

📌 Peedie Sea ★★
💬 Remains of a once large, marshy lake, which much of western Kirkwall was reclaimed from. Inhabited by ducks and model yachts.
South side of Ayre Road, 5-min walk west of Kirkwall town centre, G.R.: HY 445111 ///muted.streamers.slimy
Always open | Free

>> St Magnus Cathedral ★★★★

Nearby (1-3 mi away)

>> Scapa Distillery ★★★★ (2 mi ↓)
>> Wideford Hill page: Wideford Hill ★★★ (2 mi ←); Wideford Hill Chambered Cairn ★★★ (3 mi ←)

[Earl's Palace]

[St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall]

[Kirkwall Harbour (4/7/16)]

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