• Marwick Head, Orkney - image by VisitScotland/Kenny Lam

Welcome back to Orkney

With restrictions continuing to ease, it's time to start planning your visit to Orkney once again.

We know you'll all be keen to return to the islands when you can - it has definitely been too long.

To let you know that Orkney is open for business, and to remind you all about the need to help keep our community and our visitors safe, Jeana and Kristan from local band Fara have shared some important information, ideas and advice ahead of the summer season.

Hopefully they'll have inspired you to come and join us in Orkney this year. To help plan your visit to the islands, check out our map and guide to some of the locations visited by Jeana and Kirstan in our film.

Welcome back to Orkney locations

Double-tap a marker to view an info box.

Click on a location to find out more.

1. Brough of Birsay

This tidal island features history, wildlife and stunning coastal scenery. Only accessible by a causeway at low tide, the Brough is a real Orkney highlight. In our film you saw Jeana and Kirstan on the lookout for puffins, and the Brough of Birsay is one of the best places in Orkney to catch a glimpse of these colourful birds during the summer months. Remember to check the tide times before you cross to make sure you don't get stuck as the sea covers the causeway once again.

2. Churchill Barriers

These imposing concrete causeways are some of the most iconic structures in Orkney. The four barriers link the islands of Burray and South Ronaldsay, the uninhabited Lambs Holm and Glimps Holm, and the Orkney mainland. They were built during WW2 to help defend the Royal Navy anchorage of Scapa Flow, replacing old ships that were scuttled here to block potential entrance routes. These wrecks now provide excellent diving, snorkelling and kayaking opportunities. Take to the water with Sea Kayak 59° North for a truly unique experience. The barriers are also perfect for a road trip, especially with Orkney Trike Tours, as featured in our film.

3. Marwick Head

You might not make the walk up to this impressive headland with your fiddles like Jeana and Kristan, but filling your lungs with fresh Orkney sea air here is highly recommended. Marwick Head is one of the finest coastal locations in Orkney, with stunning scenery and huge cliffs, as well as thousands of seabirds and a poignant history.

4. Glimps Holm

This long stretch of golden sand sits in the shadow of the third Churchill Barrier, complete with views of SS Reginald, a hulking old blockship. It's a beautiful beach, especially during the summer months - perfect for lazy strolls and relaxing in the sun.

5. The Storehouse Restaurant with Rooms

One of the most recent additions to Kirkwall's accommodation and eating out options, The Storehouse Restaurant with Rooms is found in a beautifully renovated building, full of character and local touches. It serves some fantastic food, with menus packed with fresh Orkney produce, and its tastefully decorated rooms offer a little touch of luxury in a quiet corner of the town.

6. Ring of Brodgar

Jeana and Kristan have grown up around Orkney's archaeological sites, but places like the Ring of Brodgar still draw local residents back time and time again. This ancient stone circle, found in the heart of Orkney's Neolithic landscape, has a mystical quality to it. 27 huge stones still stand here, making it the third largest stone circle in the British Isles.

7. Shopping

Orkney might not be home to chain stores and some of the big high street names you're used to, but there is an incredible array of independent shops offering everything, from the finest food and drink, to clothing, jewellery and local arts, crafts and books. Kirkwall is a bustling place during the summer months and you'll be most welcome in shops throughout the town. There are also unique shopping experiences to be had in Stromness and villages like Dounby and St Margaret's Hope too.

8. Point of Ness campsite

As far as campsites go, this has to be one of the best locations anywhere. The Point of Ness campsite overlooks the town of Stromness, with fantastic sea views, stunning scenery and some excellent walking routes nearby. Run by Orkney Islands Council, the campsite is suitable for touring caravans, motorhomes and tents. Jeana and Kristan visited with JP Orkney's electric campervan, the first of its kind in Scotland, showcasing Orkney's green credentials at their very best.

Visit our COVID-19 section to keep up-to-date with the last information, and to discover what there is to see and do in Orkney this year.

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