Your Orkney Holiday
Orkney consists of approximately 70 islands, 19 of which are inhabited. The landscape of Orkney is green and rolling, treeless - with large skies and stunning sunsets.
The exception to this is the island of Hoy, which is a rugged, heather-covered island, with massive red sandstone cliffs and taller hills. Hoy has beautiful beaches and lots to take photos of. What it doesn't have lots of is people! We thoroughly recommend staying in Hoy to really get away from it all. See our page about Scar Cottage in Hoy for more details
The Mainland of Orkney is filled with treasures - amazing stone built villages and monuments that have stayed for thousands of years. Sometimes not having much wood to build with is a good thing! Franklin's View in Stromness is an excellent base from which to explore Orkney, and Stromness is a beautiful distinctive town well worth enjoying your evenings in.
Orkney is famous for delicious produce - orkney milk, meat, cheese, ice cream, beer, bread and fudge are all highly recommended. Pubs and restaurants and evening entertainment is all close to hand. Come stay in Orkney with us and discover it's magic for yourself!
Things to see and do:
- Skara Brae - a neolithic village by the sea - uncovered by a sand-storm in the 19th century. Houses remain intact, offering the visitor an amazing glimpse into the past.
- Maeshowe - a neolithic tomb, which was sealed from the inside, Maeshowe also contains a Viking history. During a storm, Vikings took shelter within this small grassy dome, and carved the most impressive collection of runes in Western Europe. These can be deciphered by a guide - phone ahead to book a tour.
- The Old Man of Hoy - a stunning 137m tall sea stack in the island of Hoy - the Old Man, viewed from the cliffs is an awe-inspiring sight. The stack is made up of red sandstone perched on a plinth of Igneous Basalt rock, and is frequently climbed during the summer by brave climbers!
- Ring of Brodgar - a large neolithic circle of standing stones, the Ring of Brodgar remains, to this day, an enigma. A walk around the Ring of Brodgar is especially recommended during Orkney's long summer evenings, when the light never seems to go.
- St Magnus Cathedral - an impressive red sandstone Cathedral in Orkney's biggest town, Kirkwall. St Magnus Cathedral was built in memory of the Viking Saint Magnus, and is a popular place to get married during the summer.
- Italian Chapel - a tiny chapel representing a testament to faith - the Italian Chapel was built out of Nissan huts by Italian Prisoners of War, whilst building the Churchill Barriers in WW2. Scrap metal and concrete were used to make the alter - and the interior is so beautiful it will take your breath away.
- Wildlife Watching - Orkney's moors are full of birdlife, and it's shores alive with sealife and seals. Even windswept cliffs are home to rare flowers. Much of the island of Hoy is an RSPB reserve and is a guaranteed place to see puffins and seabirds - many of whom may swoop at you for trespassing on their land!.
- Diving Trip - evening in Stromness is an exciting time - when divers, alive with stories of their day exploring beneath the waves, return to shore. The waters around Orkney may not be the clearest, and may not offer the most exotic species of fish - however, they do, like the land, contain a wealth of history. German battleships and other sunken vessels can all be explored by divers.
- Visit a North or South isle - or even better stay in one! Visiting an island, like Hoy, lets you sample the many flavours of Orkney. Every island is distinctive and contains archaeology, birdlife and plantlife unlike anywhere else! Ferries are frequent, and some islands can also be reached by aeroplane.
- Rackwick beach - we could talk for days about how beautiful Rackwick beach is. Hemmed in to the fierce Atlantic swell by two tall hills on either side, the bay has distinctive and massive sea-smoothed pebbles and a wide strip of sand. That so few other people will be there only makes it better! A recipe for an ideal holiday would almost certainly contain days on Rackwick beach and nights above the beach in Scar cottage, with only the sound of the waves to disturb your peace.