Westray and Papa Westray itinerary

Follow this itinerary to discover Westray and Papa Westray, two of Orkney's Northern Isles, which are home to tranquil scenery, fascinating wildlife and historical landmarks. Due to frequent hop-on ferry services and the world's shortest chartered flight, Westray and Papa Westray's wonderful attractions are easily accessible to visitors.

  • A detail of a roof at the Knap of Howar, Papay
    Knap of Howar
  • Noltland Castle, Westray
    Noltland Castle, Westray
  • Looking across to water to Pierowall, Westray
    Pierowall, Westray
  • Looking across cliff towards the lighthouse at the RSPB: Noup Cliffs
    The Lighthouse at RSPB: Noup Cliffs
  • A seabird mid flight near Westray
    Fulmar off Stronsay coast

Begin your first day by boarding the ferry from Kirkwall on the Mainland to Rapness, located on the southernmost tip of Westray and one of the main ferry terminals on the island. From here you can catch the direct bus to Pierowall, or alternatively travel 1.5 miles north to explore Castle o’Burrian and Stranger Head, one of the best places to see puffins on Orkney.

Located to the north of the island, the village of Pierowall is the main settlement on Westray. Why not let an experienced guide show you the best attractions and activities Westray has to offer by taking a tour? Westraak offers fascinating wildlife experiences and trips to attractions including Aikerness Craigs and Lady Kirk, in addition to the Haf Yok Café where you can sample delicious home baking and freshly-prepared rolls.

Why not make use of the accommodation offerings available in Pierowall and stay overnight?

Make your way to the island's terminal to catch the ferry to the beautiful island of Papa Westray. Alternatively, travel north and stop off at Wheelin Steen Gallery for a relaxing cup of tea and cake before heading for Westray Aiport. From here you can catch the world's shortest scheduled flight, which flies from Westray to Papa Westray in just 2 minutes.

Just south of Papa Westray Airport is the earliest known dwelling in Orkney and the oldest preserved stone house in Northern Europe at the Knap of Howar on Papay. These structures, two oblong stone houses, date from 3600 BC and were continuously occupied by a series of Neolithic farmers for at least five centuries.

Discover RSPB North Hill in the north of Papa Westray. Known as one of the best places to see wildlife in the UK, this nature reserve boasts a stunning coastal nature trail and a fantastic array of birdlife to look out for.

Finish your day in Beltane, the heart of the island and the home of a shop, community venue and hostel accommodation where you can spend the night.

Begin your final day travelling back to Westray. Visit Westray Heritage Centre, which occupies the village's old school and offers a fascinating insight into the island's history, geology and archaeological heritage. For those looking to discover if they have ancestral connections with Orkney, Westray Heritage Centre also boasts an extensive database of churchyards and houses and a growing genealogy section.

To the west of Pierowall is Noltland Castle, a striking Z-plan tower built between 1560 and 1573. Keep heading west for the RSPB Noup Cliffs Nature Reserve, home to the largest bird colony in Orkney and beautiful wildflowers to admire in the summer.