Updated - 13/4/21
From 26 April non-essential travel to and from Orkney will be permitted once again, though the islands – like the rest of Scotland – will remain under Level 3 restrictions.
We’ve tried to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received below. Remember that things can change quickly and developments depend on the prevalence of COVID-19 nationally.
We’ll do our best to keep this information as up-to-date as possible, but do to check travel, accommodation and touring provider websites and social media for more information.
- Can I visit Orkney?
Not quite yet. Although lockdown measures are beginning to ease in Scotland, travel to and from Orkney can only resume again on 26 April when all areas of Scotland move into Level Three. All accommodation, attractions and shops can reopen on this date, subject to restrictions.
Details on Scotland’s levels system and timetable for easing restrictions can be found on the Scottish Government website.
- Can I visit Orkney from other parts of the UK?
No - there are no firm plans in place on reopening travel to Scotland from the rest of the UK at the moment, although it’s hoped it will be possible from 26 April too, or shortly after.
- What can I do to stay safe, and keep the islands safe, when I'm in Orkney?
Download the Protect Scotland app for free on Apple or Android. The app will alert you if you have been in close contact with another user who has tested positive for coronavirus. It supports contact tracing and works through Bluetooth anonymously, protecting your privacy.
You should maintain a 2m distance from anyone outside your household, unless in hospitality where a 1m distance is allowed.
Wear a face covering unless exempt on public transport, in shops, tourist attractions, cinemas and pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés, when not at your table. Remember to wash or sanitise your hands too.
Pay by contactless card - most businesses prefer not to take cash right now.
Follow any guidance and restrictions in place in local shops and services.
- What should I do if I start to suffer symptoms of Coronavirus/COVID-19 when I’m in Orkney?
If you develop Covid-19 symptoms, self-isolate and follow the latest advice from NHS Inform.
If you are unsure or your symptoms worsen please call NHS24 on 111 for advice or guidance or visit the NHS Inform website.
NHS Orkney has a direct phone line to book a COVID-19 test. You can call to book a test on 01856 888 211 between 0800-1800 seven days a week.
- Where can I find information about transport options for visiting Orkney?
Find out more on our travel advice page.
Capacity on flights and ferries to Orkney is still restricted due to physical distancing - please don’t travel to Orkney without confirmed travel and accommodation bookings.
- Is there anywhere I can find travel and tourism information in Orkney?
The VisitScotland iCentre in Kirkwall will reopen on 26 April.
- Can I travel within Orkney?
At the moment, Orkney Ferries services are operating on a revised timetable. There is no restriction on travel but there are capacity issues due to physical distancing guidelines, so please consider whether your journey is necessary and avoid travelling at busy times.
All passengers must book in advance. You can book by phoning 01856 872 044. Visit the Orkney Ferries website for updated information.
Loganair’s inter-isles flights are operating, but again, these flights are essential for islanders so please consider whether your journey is necessary.
Passengers are reminded that face coverings should be worn on all public transport in Orkney, unless exemptions apply.
- Are there things to see and do in Orkney at the moment?
At the moment, in line with Scottish Government guidelines, some of Orkney’s visitor attractions and sites remain closed. This includes Maeshowe, but Skara Brae is open. Tickets for the site can be booked online. Please check with dedicated websites and social media profiles before planning a visit. Please understand too that some attractions may not open with the same offering as normal.
Our natural environment - including beaches, coastal trails and viewpoints – is always open and provides the ideal opportunity to see the best of Orkney, with plenty of scope for physical distancing.
- Are public toilets open?
Orkney Islands Council has re-opened the majority of its public toilets. Take a look at our map for exact locations.
- Are there any campsites open in Orkney?
Orkney’s publicly-run campsites are currently only available for local bookings, but the majority will be open for all visitors from May onwards. Find out more from the Orkney Islands Council website.
The Orkney Caravan Park at the Pickaquoy Centre will reopen this year too.
A new facility, Kirkwall Bay Touring Park, will open – subject to Scottish Government guidelines – this year too. Find out more on the official website.
If there is anything else you'd like to know then get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to help. If you have an accommodation-related query, contact Destination Orkney via email@example.com. Questions about transport should be directed to the relevant provider.