Other Festivals in Orkney
From jazz and blues, to wine and storytelling, Orkney has a packed programme of smaller festivals to suit everyone.
One of the first mini festivals of the year is Papay Gyro Nights Art Festival, a fairly recent revival of an old Papay tradition, which is held at the time of the first full moon in February. Next it's the Orkney Jazz Festival, staged during the last weekend of April at the Stromness Hotel and featuring mainly traditional jazz from visiting performers.
May brings the Orkney Nature Festival, which was launched in 2013. It offers the chance to take advantage of Orkney's wildlife, with boat cruises, walks, talks - and even the chance to go kayaking and rockpooling with experts.
The first week of June sees Orkney play host to Scotland’s only wine festival, held at various restaurants around the county. Tastings, lunches, dinners and talks are tutored by visiting winemakers and merchants, making the Orkney Wine Festival a real highlight of the year for both wine lovers and foodies.
Stromness Shopping Week has been held during the third week of July for more than 60 years. This community wide spectacle, originally introduced to entice people into local shops, now involves a host of family and sporting events, along with a huge range of activities and shows from visiting performers and bands. It all ends with an eagerly anticipated fancy dress parade, a fireworks display over the town's harbour and a dance in the street.
Further afield you can have a truly entertaining time at the Papa Westray Fun Weekend with an adult and children’s sports day, carty racing down the brae and two ceilidhs. The Westray Sailing Regatta is another firm favourite for visitors to the isles.
August is a time of festival fever in Orkney. In addition to the agricultural shows, you can watch Kirkwall Sailing Regatta, tour the Vintage Rally Show and watch the Riding of the Marches in Kirkwall. For a spectacle you will see nowhere else don’t miss the South Ronaldsay Boys’ Ploughing Match & Festival of the Horse. Children dress in intricate horse costumes at St Margaret’s Hope and boys compete with mini ploughs on the Sands o’Wright beach.
In September the Orkney Blues Festival showcases blues in its broadest interpretation with visiting bands and local talent performing in several venues around Stromness for a non-stop blues experience.
The Orcadian Story Trust runs the Orkney Storytelling Festival at the end of October, which features international storytellers as well as local experts in this ancient art form. Many featured stories have been passed down through generations and cover Orkney's past right back to its very creation, as told in the story of Assipattle.
Orkney is famous for its agricultural shows which bring back absent Orcadians and attract visitors in great numbers.More
Museums and Galleries
Orkney has a rich historical and artistic background, and the islands play host to a number of innovative, interesting and exciting museums and galleries. You can spend hours looking back at five thousand years of life in Orkney, and even see some of our artists and craft makers in action!More
Music appears to run in the blood in Orkney and is a way of life for many local people.More
Orkney Folk Festival
Orkney Folk Festival is a firmly established date in Scotland’s folk festival calendar and has drawn visitors back to the isands many times since it started in 1982.More
Orkney Science Festival
Orkney International Science Festival has been a part of the calendar every September since 1991 and has something for everyone.More
St Magnus International Festival
The St Magnus International Festival is one of the UK’s leading arts festivals and is held over six days during the Orkney midsummer.More