St Magnus Cathedral, 'the light in the north', is one of Orkney's most iconic buildings.
This stunning Romanesque cathedral, made from striking red and yellow sandstone, was founded in 1137 and took around 300 years to complete. It was dedicated to Magnus Erlendsson, Earl of Orkney. He shared the earldom with his cousin, Haakon Paulsson, but jealousy and greed culminated in Magnus being martyred on the island of Egilsay.
Built by Magnus’s nephew, Rognvald, the cathedral has been the spiritual heart of Orkney for nearly nine centuries. It is the only complete Medieval cathedral in Scotland, and the only church in the country known to hold the bones of its original saint.
Today, as well as being a place of worship, St Magnus Cathedral is used for concerts, talks, art exhibitions, and acts of national remembrance. It is the most-visited site in Orkney, with over 200,000 visitors in 2019.
Between 1 April to 30 September, the cathedral opening hours are:
- Mondays to Saturdays 0900-1700
- Sundays 1400-1700
Between 1 October to 31 March, the cathedral opening hours are:
- Mondays to Saturdays 0900-1300 and 1400-1700
There is a church service open to all every Sunday morning at 1115, but the cathedral is not open to visitors otherwise.
Booking is now open for Upper Level Tours – please contact the cathedral for more information.