Orkney Isles

There’s plenty to see and do in the Orkney Isles, from bird watching, to island hopping and beaches. Read our guide whilst on tour to find your way

Things to do in the Orkney Isles

For this trip, our Travelworld Motorhome experts are up in the Orkney Islands, to discover this amazing cluster of islands. The islands boast their own individual charm with amazing beaches, wonderful wildlife and archaeological treasures to unearth.

Birdwatching in Orkney

If you are a keen birder, the islands of Orkney can offer you a trip of a lifetime. The islands are home to 13 RSPB reserves and 36 sites of special scientific interest, including breeding areas for Artic terns and skuas. The island’s sandstone ledges of the sea-cliff reserves are colonised in the early summer months by thousands of birds who come to breed. These birds include species such as fulmars, guillemots, kittiwakes and razorbills. Later on in the year, Orkney becomes home to the waders who feed on the islands shorelines, whilst graylag geese and whooper swans visit inland. Orkney has been known to house rare visitors to the shores, and it’s not uncommon to spot a migrating sandhill crane or a red-eyed vireo.

Island Hopping

With around 70 islands and skerries in the Orkney archipelago, it’s a pleasure to explore these islands of outstanding natural beauty. On Mainland you can visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, where you can view the Ring of Brodgar, Maeshow and Skara Brae. Kirkwall is home to the beautiful St. Magnus Cathedral. Or come and see Stromness, an 18th century settlement, home to the Stromness Museum and Pier Arts Centre. From Stromness, you can travel to the southern islands where the cliffs of Hoy overlook Flotta and Graemsay. The East Mainland has the two peninsulas of Deerness and Tankerness and Copinsay is home to a large seabird colony.

Lamb Holm, Glimps Holm, Burray and South Ronaldsay

Using the Churchill Barriers, you can head over to Lamb Holm, Glimps Holm, Burray and South Ronaldsay for a visit. Lamb Holm boasts the first Churchill Barrier and the elegant Italian Chapel, whilst Glimps Holm is inhabited by a vast variety of birds for you to spot. Burray is well known for watersports, as it is in Burray where you can dive in the world-famous Scapa Flow. Hunda, is an uninhabited island and a haven for wildlife, including seals. Just six miles from John O’Groats, is South Ronaldsay, where you can pay a visit to the Tomb of the Eagles, to see artefacts over 5,000 years old.

Outer Islands

The outer islands have plenty for you to take in and admire. Shapinsay is home to the most northernly castle hotel in the world and also Mill Dam RSPB reserve for a day spotting little grebes and whooper swans. North Ronaldsay is home to a vast array of natural beauty; including wildlife, birds and wild flowers. Westray, displays both Neolithic and Norse settlements for you to enjoy. Visit Papa Westray for its varied scenery and Rousay for some of the best preserved monuments in Scotland. Egilsay is home to a round-towered church, in memory of St. Magnus, on Wyre you can visit a Viking stronghold and on Eynhallow you can visit evidence of a 12th century monastic settlement. Stronsay is home to a heritage centre based at the old Fish Mart and Sanday has some perfect beaches to discover. Eday has the Setter Stone landmark for you to visit, as well as the chambered tombs and Iron Age houses.