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pockets of history

St Magnus Cathedral: A short walk from the hotel (0.4 miles)

St Magnus Cathedral, built from yellow sandstone, is of international significance. This 'fine minster' took about 300 years to build, with the foundations 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)

The Bishop's Palace is one of the best preserved buildings from this era, and was built around the same time as St Magnus Cathedral, in the early 1100's. The builder 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 1600's. Patrick Stewart, Earl of Orkney, had the ambitious plan to make The Bishop's Palace part of the splendid palace complex, 'The Palace of the Yards'.

The Italian Chapel: 13 minute drivetime from the hotel

The Italian Chapel is a highly ornate chapel on Lamb Holm. It was built during World War 2 by Italian prisoners of war, who were housed on the previosuly inhabited island while they constructed the Chruchill Barriers to the east of Scapa Flow. Only the concrete foundations of the buildings of the prisoner-of-war camp survive. It was not completed until after the end of the war, and was restored in the 1960's and again in the 1990's.

Orkney Museum: A short walk from the hotel (0.3 miles)

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

The Orkney Museum used to be a house – Tankerness House. For three centuries this house was the home of the Baikie family of Tankerness, whose estate gave the house its name. 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.

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