Towns & Villages

    The Royal Burgh of Kirkwall is the capital of the amazing Orkney archipelago, standing at the dividing point between East and West Mainland.

    The town of Kirkwall was founded around 1035 by Earl Rognvald Brusason and quickly became the administrative centre of Orkney. With its harbour and airport, it is the arrival point for ferries from Shetland and Aberdeen, cruise ships, and flights from the UK, and departure point for ferries to the other islands in Orkney. It is the best place to stock up on supplies for heading on.

    Kirkwall's best feature is perhaps its sandstone St Magnus Cathedral, widely considered the finest medieval building in the north of Scotland. The original town is one of the best preserved examples of an ancient Norse town. Other sites of historical interest in the town include including the Bishop’s Palace and Earl’s Palace.

    Kirkwall was once a quiet place of contemplation but is now a bustling market town, a lively centre for shopping and eating out. Visitors will find a wide range of accommodation on the island that caters for long and short stays, bed and breakfast or self-catering.

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