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 too, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

Find out about access arrangements at St Magnus Cathedral.

Between 1 April to 30 September, the cathedral opening hours are:

  • Mondays to Saturdays 0900-1700
  • Sundays 1300-1700

Between 1 October to 31 March, the cathedral opening hours are:

  • Mondays to Saturdays 0900 -1300 and 1400-1700
  • Sundays – closed. There is a church service at 1115, all welcome

Please note the cathedral may occasionally be closed for weddings and funerals.

Booking is now open for Upper Level Tours – please contact the cathedral for more information. Guided tours of the cathedral graveyard are also available.