Just off the North East corner of mainland Scotland you will discover the beautiful islands of Orkney with rolling green fields, rugged coastline and spectacular beaches.
Kirkwall is the capital of Orkney. Officially a city and Royal Burgh, its origins date back to when Vikings ruled the islands and evidence of this can be seen in the magnificent St Magnus Cathedral, founded in 1137. Orkney's second largest town is Stromness with its picturesque harbour and pretty flag-stoned street. This seafaring town is also home to the renowned Pier Arts Centre and has many local craft shops selling local knitwear, pottery and art work.
Orkney is also home to a wealth of archaelogical sites. The Neolithic Heartland of Orkney is a designated UNESCO heritage site and is home to many important archaelogical sites. These include the 5000 year old village at Skara Brae, the stone circle known as the Ring of Brodgar and and the neolithic burial tomb of Maeshowe. In addition to the neolithic history, Orkney also has important sites relating to the Bronze and Iron Ages, right through the Viking Era and up to the 20th century when Orkney played vital roles in both the First and Second World Wars. On the small island of Lambs Holm stands the beautifully preserved Italian Chapel, built by Italian Prisoners of War durng their internment in Orkney and standing as a lasting memorial to peace.
The lush, fertile Orkney landscape and clean seas make food production a speciality in the islands with Orkney taking pride in exceptionally high quality produce. In particular the islands produce wonderful beef in addition to lamb, salmon and shellfish. There is also a thriving dairy industry producing milk, cheese and icecream. For those who want something to wash down their meal, there are also two whisky distilleries, two breweries and even a wine producer.
With its unique light and landscape, Orkney is also a magnet to artists and photographers. This artistic flare also extends to a wonderful array of jewellery producers on the islands who draw inspiration from the surrounding environment.
Whatever your interests, Orkney has something to offer. Even in the depths of winter we enjoy magnificent storms and stunning night skies including a chance to glimpse the Northern Lights (locally known as the Merry Dancers).