We know many of you have missed Orkney during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve missed you too.
Our community is emerging from the lockdown period and, although travel restrictions are easing, life here isn’t quite back to normal!
Of course, you’ll always get a warm welcome in Orkney but, if you are thinking of visiting us in the coming weeks and months, we’d respectfully ask you to read all of the latest official Scottish Government and NHS Scotland guidelines relating to COVID-19 before deciding to travel.
For now, capacity on our ferries and flights remains restricted, which could mean you’re not able to travel when you’d really like to.
We don’t want you to be disappointed, so please check with travel operators and accommodation providers if you are planning a holiday here. Find out more by visiting the NorthLink Ferries, Pentland Ferries and Loganair websites.
Our community has worked hard to protect its most vulnerable members from COVID-19 and ensure our limited health services have not been overwhelmed during the pandemic.
It’s vital we continue to ensure the safety of our community as travel restrictions are eased, but we also want to look after our visitors too.
With that in mind, we’d kindly ask you to follow this advice while in Orkney. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t travel to Orkney if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, and if you develop them whilst here, you should book a test immediately.
- Please respect any changes or systems a tourism business has had to implement to protect staff, themselves, visitors and the local community.
- Wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitiser wherever it is provided.
- Observe cough etiquette, physical distancing and mask wearing rules at all times (particularly on public transport).
- Avoid direct hand contact with your eyes, nose and mouth.
- If you’re staying in self-catering accommodation and are buying supplies, check availability with local shops. Some are offering a delivery service to avoid too many people being in their premises at once.
- If eating out, book your table in advance or consider ordering takeaways rather than sitting in.
- Check notices on the doors and windows of shops, visitor attractions, cafés, bars, restaurants, etc., as they may be limiting the number of people they allow in. If they’re busy, go back later, or alternatively, give them a call.
- Use contactless payment in local shops as much as possible, or arrange for pre-payment.
- Advise the tourism business you’re staying with immediately if anyone in your party shows symptoms of COVID-19 (high temperature, a new and continuous cough or a change in sense of smell or taste) during or 14 days after your visit and follow the current Scottish Government advice about returning home and self-isolating.
- Enjoy our outdoors spaces and please remember to take your litter away with you.
If you can join us when the time comes, then great! You might find that some of our visitor attractions aren’t yet open – it’s best to check directly with attractions you’re keen to see - but what we do have in abundance is outdoors space.
When you come to Orkney, you become part of our community – however brief your visit. We know you’ll treat our beaches, seas and countryside with respect, but we’d also like to ask you to be patient as our local businesses and facilities return to some kind of normality.
If you are travelling to our smaller islands, travel restrictions apply and we would ask you to take particular care as there are limited health services in these communities.
We’ll update visitor information when necessary and will try to answer some of your questions too over the coming weeks, so keep checking back with us.
By helping us at this unusual time, you’ll be playing your part in our community’s efforts to rebuild Orkney’s tourism industry and we greatly appreciate your co-operation.
Many events and activities planned for 2020 have been postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of attractions are also closed. We've tried to highlight as many as possible below. If you have any questions surrounding a specific event or activity, it's recommended you contact the organisers directly.
VisitScotland's iCentre in Kirkwall is currently closed in line with Government advice until further notice. Enquiries are being answered by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Highland Park Distillery's visitor experience is closed until further notice.
Historic Environment Scotland has closed all its staffed historic sites in the country, including Skara Brae and Maeshowe in Orkney. The organisation aims to reopen Skara Brae on 28th August. Unstaffed sites, such as the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness, remain open and free to access.
The Orkney Fossil & Heritage Centre will remain closed for 2020.
Tomb of the Eagles will remain closed for 2020.
The Pier Arts Centre is closed until further notice. Enquiries can be directed through email@example.com
The Orkney Distillery Visitor Centre in Kirkwall is closed until further notice. The new outdoor venue, 'Oot the Back' is open.
A number of Orkney Island Council-run leisure, cultural and library facilities, including the Pickaquoy Centre, Corrigall Farm Museum and the Scapa Flow exhibition at Lyness, (including guided walks around the Lyness Wartime Trail), are closed until further notice.
The Ness of Brodgar excavations in 2020 have been cancelled.
The Stromness Museum is closed until further notice.
The 2020 North Ronaldsay Sheep Festival has been cancelled.
The Festival of the Horse and Boy's Ploughing Match in South Ronaldsay has been cancelled.