Head north for a holiday in Kirkwall. There are plenty of things to do here, from the ancient cathedral and Viking heritage to shopping and art, not forgetting stunning accommodation. You'll enjoy incredible landscapes with an abundance of wildlife and historic attractions nearby. Discover Kirkwall in Orkney and find holiday ideas including information on things to do, how to get there, Kirkwall map and more.
Map of Kirkwall
How to Travel to and around Kirkwall
Getting to Kirkwall
Kirkwall is a great starting point and a useful place to stock up on supplies before continuing your Orcadian adventure to the more remote islands. With its harbour and airport, it is the arrival point for ferries from Shetland and Aberdeen, cruise ships, and flights from the UK, as well as a departure point for ferries to the other islands in Orkney.
You can sail from Aberdeen to Kirkwall with Northlink Ferries.
Planes fly direct to Kirkwall from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness with Loganair, with flights lasting up to an hour. A direct flight operates from London City Airport via Dundee to Kirkwall from April to October.
There are connections from Birmingham, Belfast City, Bristol, Exeter, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich and Teesside also.
Kirkwall is relatively small and compact, so it is easy to get to most places in the town on foot.
You can get around even faster by bike, with good cycle paths around the town.
Check out Cycle Orkney for bike hire and more information.
It's certainly useful to have access to a car on Orkney, especially if you want to see some of the more remote sites.
Many people bring their own cars but check out Orkney Car Hire if you plan to hire one.
Electric vehicle drivers will find multiple public charging points across the islands.
You can also hire local taxis to get you from A to B.
What's On in Kirkwall
Kirkwall may surprise you with many local and larger-scale events and festivals taking place in this charming town,
A tip from your local expert
Take a brisk hike up Marwick head, it’s literally breath-taking (very steep!). At the top, enjoy spectacular cliffs, a colossal 50ft memorial to Lord Kitchener and see where 25,000 sea birds perch – one of Scotland’s largest colonies.
Assistant iCentre Manager, Kirkwall
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