Scotland’s Surprising Past: Historical Tourist Attractions In The Orkney Islands

While the top tourist attractions in the Orkney Islands are centered around history, the views are quite marvelous as well! (photo by CC user fotodispalle on Flickr)

You simply can’t leave Scotland without exploring the top tourist attractions in The Orkney Islands. The Orkney Islands are to be found on the north shore of Scotland divided from the mainland by the Pentland Firth. The islands are famous for nature and fishing enthusiasts and wanderers.

Kirkwall which is the island’s capital city is one of the top tourist attractions in the Orkney Islands. Kirkwall’s chief avenues are teeming with numerous souvenir and craft markets, cafes, restaurants and bars which are ideal for travelers looking to relax during their time on the islands. In addition to that, the city holds the glorious St. Magnus Cathedral which is famous for its red limestone walls, huge pillars and domed ceilings which make them a must see attraction. Some of the prehistoric vestiges are also nearby and are also worth seeing.

The Folk Festival (which is celebrated during the month of May) has a notable array of events which make it worth seeing. Among the activities featured in the festival are local performing musicians and artists, as well as vibrant parties which usually last for a week. The St Magnus Festival is usually celebrated during the month of June, exhibiting top-notching shows such as choirs, orchestras and even dance-group presentations.

Stromness Shopping Week is also another event to look forward to in the Orkney Island’s social calendar. It happens every July and involves enjoyable games, contests, music and all sorts of merry-making. The farming shows in August are also fun to watch since the finest animals coming from the ranches of Orkney are featured along with the get together of its respective farmers.

If an enriching journey to Orkney’s ancient history is what you want then the Maes Howe Chambered Cairn nestled on the streets of Stromness is a must visit. The Maeshowe Chambered Cairn is also one of the top tourist attractions in The Orkney Islands due to it having one of the most safeguarded primeval Stone Age tombs in all of the United Kingdom.

The chamber was thought to exist around 2600 B.C. The core of the grass-enclosed catacomb is huge with a width of about 32 metres and the lower entrance hall about 11 metres in length heading to the chief cavity and three more adjacent cavities. Among the other attractions to see close to the famous cairn are the Barnhouse Settlement, The Standing Stones o’ Stenness and the Watchstone.

To conclude this article on the the top tourist attractions in The Orkney Islands, a visit to Brough of Birsay is something you must experience. It is a prehistoric island which was home to a significant former Viking community. Also being a previous capital of the island it was the primary island to have a church. Also consider exploring the 16th century ecclesiastical palace and the classic longhouses of the Vikings, both of which are also attractions of note on this windswept isle. 

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