01856 872232  |  The Original Collection
Pockets of History


Sprinkled across the isles

Within walking distance of The Kirkwall, there is a whole host of historical houses and places to visit. These are some of our favourites.

St Magnus Cathedral

A short walk from the hotel (0.4 miles)

St Magnus Cathedral, built from yellow sandstone, is of international significance. It' took about 300 years to build, with the foundations being starting in 1137. 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 matyred on the island of Egilsay. His bones are now interred within a pillar in the cathedral.

The Bishop's Palace

A short walk from the hotel (0.4 miles)

This is one of the best preserved buildings from the 12th century and was built around the same time as St Magnus Cathedral. The person who commissioned its contruction may well have been Bishop William the Old, crusader and friend of Earl Rognvald, St Magnus' nephew and patron of the new cathedral.

Earl's Palace

A short walk from the hotel (0.4 miles)

The ornate Earl's Palace was added much later, in the early 1600s. Patrick Stewart, Earl of Orkney, had the ambitious plan to make it part of the splendid palace complex, The Palace of the Yards.

The Italian Chapel

13 minutes’ drive

This highly ornate chapel on Lamb Holm was built during World War II by Italian prisoners of war, who were housed on the uninhabited island while they constructed the Chruchill Barriers to the east of Scapa Flow. Only the concrete foundations of the prisoner-of-war camp survive. The chapel was not completed until after the end of the war and was restored in the 1960s and again in the 1990s.

Orkney Museum

A short walk from the hotel (0.3 miles)

The museum tells the story of Orkney, from the Stone Age to the Picts and the Vikings, right through to the present day. There is a large collection of old photos and activities to interest younger visitors. Its collection is of international importance and it has a changing temporary exhibition programme.

The museum used to be a house – Tankerness House and for three centuries it was the home of the Baikie family of Tankerness. It opened as a museum in 1968 and is an A-listed building. The Baikie Library and Drawing Room gives the visitor an idea of how the house looked when it was a family home.




Explore our ‘hood. We’re at the heart of Orkney’s proud capital – Kirkwall. With medieval streets, working harbour and the magnificent St Magnus Cathedral, the town has a lively atmosphere. 

Outer Isles

Outer Isles

Orkney oozes natural beauty in abundance. Here are a number of places you might like to visit during your stay. You’ll be guaranteed to learn a thing or two about what makes Orkney so special...

Whisky Tours

Whisky Tours

Orkney lies outside the five major whisky making regions of Scotland and has only two distilleries, one of which – The Highland Park Distillery – is just a mile or so from the hotel. Sip, sip hooray!



From Neolithic Orkney in the West Mainland to the Churchill Barriers in the East Mainland - there’s oodles to explore. Visit Orkney’s most popular tourist spots.

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The Kirkwall Hotel

Harbour Street, Kirkwall, Orkney KW15 1LE
01856 872232

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