Orkney and Shetland Islands

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Orkney and Shetland Islands - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Clickimin Broch

    Military Site

    A stone tower on the site of what was originally an Iron Age fortification, Clickimin Broch makes a good introduction to these mysterious buildings...Read More

  • 2. Highland Park Distillery

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Having come this far, you'll have earned a dram of the local single malt at one of Scotland's northernmost distilleries. It was founded around...Read More

  • 3. Italian Chapel

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    During World War II, 550 Italian prisoners of war were captured in North Africa and sent to Orkney to assist with the building of the Churchill...Read More

  • 4. Jarlshof

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    In 1897 a huge storm blew away 4,000 years of sand to expose the multilayered remains of Bronze Age, Iron Age, Pictish, and Viking buildings...Read More

  • 5. Mousa Broch

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    Sandsayre Pier in Sandwick is the departure point for the passenger ferry to the tiny isle of Mousa, where you can see Mousa Broch, a fortified...Read More

  • 6. Pier Arts Centre

    Museum/Gallery

    At the striking Pier Arts Centre, a gallery in a former merchant's house and adjoining buildings, huge sheets of glass offer tranquil harborside...Read More

  • 7. Ring of Brodgar

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    About 5 miles northeast of Stromness, the Ring of Brodgar is a magnificent circle of 36 Neolithic standing stones (originally 60) surrounded...Read More

  • 8. Shetland Crofthouse Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    Nine miles south of Sandwick this 19th-century thatched house reveals the way of life of rural Shetlanders, which the traditionally attired...Read More

  • 9. Shetland Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    On the last remaining stretch of the old waterfront at the restored Hay's Dock, the striking Shetland Museum, with its sail-like tower, is the...Read More

  • 10. Skara Brae and Skaill House

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    After a fierce storm in 1850, the laird of Breckness, William Graham Watt, discovered this cluster of Neolithic houses at the bottom of his...Read More

  • 11. Stromness Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    The enchanting Stromness Museum has the feel of some grand Victorian's private collection but has, in fact, been community owned since it opened...Read More

  • 12. Bishop's and Earl's Palaces

    Castle/Palace/Chateau

    The Bishop's Palace dates to the 12th century when St. Magnus Cathedral was built. In 1253 this was the site of King Hakon IV of Norway's death...Read More

  • 13. Bonhoga Gallery

    Museum/Gallery

    Built in 1855 using stones from the Kergord estate's "cleared" (forcibly evicted) crofts, Weisdale Mill is now the Bonhoga Gallery, a contemporary...Read More

  • 14. Broch of Gurness (Aikerness Broch)

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    An Iron Age tower built between 500 BC and 200 BC, the Broch of Gurness stands more than 10 feet high and is surrounded by stone huts, indicating...Read More

  • 15. Brough of Birsay

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    A Romanesque church can be seen at the Brough of Birsay, a tidal island with the remains of an early Pictish and then Norse settlement. ( Brough...Read More

  • 16. Fort Charlotte

    Military Site

    This artillery fort was built in 1665 to protect the Sound of Bressay from the invading Dutch. They seized it in 1673 and razed the fort to...Read More

  • 17. Hermaness National Nature Reserve

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    A bleak moorland ending in rocky cliffs, the Hermaness National Nature Reserve is prime bird-watching territory. About half the world's population...Read More

  • 18. Maeshowe

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    The huge burial mound of Maeshowe, circa 2500 BC, measures 115 feet in diameter and contains an enormous burial chamber. It was raided by Vikings...Read More

  • 19. Marwick Head Nature Reserve

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds tends the remote Marwick Head Nature Reserve, where in spring and summer the cliffs are draped...Read More

  • 20. Muness Castle

    Castle/Palace/Chateau

    Scotland's northernmost castle was built in 1598 by Laurence Bruce of Cultmalindie, uncle of "cruel" Patrick Stewart. Despite being a ruin it...Read More

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