Westray has been described as 'The Queen of the Isles', it is the second largest of the North Isles with a population of around 600.
Taking an hour and a half on the ferry from Kirkwall, the car and passenger ferry docks at Rapness at the far south of the island, while the main settlement, Pierowall, is in the north. You can learn all about the island at the Westray Heritage Centre in Pierowall, www.westrayheritage.co.uk, or you may choose to explore the island and visit the ruins of Noltland Castle and the many archaeological sites. Over 100,000 seabirds including gannets, razorbills and guillemots nest on the high cliffs at Noup Head, below the lighthouse.
The exquisite workmanship and artistic talent of Orkney's ancient peoples is illustrated by the Westray Stone, a rock carving found in a tomb at Pierowall. The spiral and lozenge design is recognised as the finest of its kind in Scotland and is permanently on display at the Heritage Centre, together with the now world famous “Orkney Venus”, a Neolithic figurine found in 2010 at the Links of Noltland archaeological dig run by Historic Scotland. Two more figurines have subsequently been found and they are also on display.
Of the earliest Christian settlers the best evidence is found in the lonely rock-stack or island hermitages such as at the Castle o' Burrian – also a marvellous place to see puffins – and on the Holm of Aikerness.
The island has two art galleries, an hotel, swimming pool, two cafés, bakery, crab processing factory, marina, three shops, chippy open weekday lunchtimes (in summer), Church of Scotland Kirk, Baptist Kirk, Brethren Hall and Quaker meetings.