Each year 170,000-plus visitors travel to the Orkney Islands to experience the dramatic Orcadian landscapes and its wildlife, creativity, ancient past, food, drink and hospitality. They have also enjoyed uncovering the fascinating past of the islands during their visit – and they keep going back. It seems tourists at home and abroad just can’t get enough of this amazing archipelago. If you have not yet been, you could be missing out. So before you organise your trip north, read about the 6 wonders of Orkney…
Spontaneous, self-sufficient, and with a little spirit thrown in for good measure, that’s Stuart and Adelle Brown, founders of Deerness Distillery – Orkney’s first distillery for over 130 years. It is here that they produce the multi-award winning Sea Glass Gin, new Scuttled Gin (pictured above) and the Islands only distilled vodka. From their purpose-built distillery at the side of their home in Deerness, Orkney they launched their products Sea Glass Gin and Into the Wild Vodka – back in May 2017, after a year of construction and product development. The distillery boasts a beautiful shop as well as tours and tastings of their spirits. Plans are afoot for a café and extending their spirits with a small batch rum and small batch whisky. Deerness Distillery spirits are a must try if you’re looking for an exclusive premium gin or vodka
A recent visitor described the Orkney Fossil & Heritage Centre (pictured above) as a “hidden gem”. Housed in converted farm buildings on the island of Burray, the centre has an intriguing collection of fossils from Orkney and around the world, including some rare and beautifully preserved specimens. There are also local heritage displays, including a fascinating exhibition about the construction of the Churchill Barriers.
This is the centenary year of the scuttling of the interned ships of the German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow; one of the most momentous events in world naval history. Thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the centre’s ‘Scapa and the Scuttle’ project an interpretative floor map of Scapa Flow was installed in time for opening on April 19. Later in the year archive film and photographic material will be added to the exhibition.
The Gift Shop at the main entrance stocks Orkney crafts, gemstones, jewellery, toys, hand-made cards, prints, local music recordings and large range of books about fossils and geology.
The Heritage Tearoom serves good home-made food, a range of hearty soups, local produce and delicious home-bakes in a warm and friendly environment with lovely views.
*Find out more about the Fossil & Heritage Centre by visiting the website here.
Come to the beautiful island of Orkney and study renewables – whether it’s Renewable Energy Development, Marine Renewable Energy or Marine Planning for Sustainable Development, Heriot-Watt University’s range of Masters courses offer an excellent insight into the sector. This is of increasing importance in our era of climate change responsibilities and commitment to the ‘blue growth’ agenda.
Orkney offers an excellent and unique student experience, away from the demands of city living. Take life at a slower pace and reap the benefits. With strong industry links, the university’s courses offer positive employment opportunities.
Karen was born and raised in Orkney and was the first Orkney jeweller to be accepted into the Guild of Master Craftsmen in recognition of the artisan skills she has honed for over 30 years.
Her award-winning Shield necklet (pictured above) was inspired by the Italian Chapel, built as a place of worship by Italian POW’s during WW2 in Orkney on the island of Lamb Holm, while they built the Churchill Barriers. The chapel was built using scrap material and still stands as a memorial to man’s faith, ingenuity and hope for peace in times of war. She was delighted to win the silver award for this design in the Jewellery & Fashion Accessories category at Scotland’s Trade Fair earlier this year.
From bubbles on the sea shore to the distinctive concrete blocks of the Churchill Barriers, Karen draws on the historic and landscape features around her, constantly playing with ideas, to create her beautifully finished pieces from her workshop in Burray.
Northlink Ferries invite you to discover Orkney and Shetland.
There’s no better time to explore Scotland’s Northern Isles. Discover Orkney and Shetland’s fascinating wildlife, breath-taking coastlines, unique culture and the Old Man of Hoy with NorthLink Ferries.
With departures from Scrabster and Aberdeen, from the moment you step on board, our superior vessels offer the very best in comfort and safety. Dine on board as you set sail and enjoy award-winning, seasonal menus using locally-sourced food and drink.
For those travelling across the Pentland Firth from Scrabster in the Scottish Highlands to Stromness on the Orkney mainland, the MV Hamnavoe is the only vessel to travel past the Old Man of Hoy, one of the tallest sea stacks in Britain. Catch a glimpse of this Orkney icon from the top deck of MV Hamnavoe during the 90 minute sailing.
*Start your Orkney and Shetland island adventure with NorthLink Ferries, visit the website by clicking here.
The Orkney Distillery’s award-winning handcrafted gins, characterised by its unique blends of locally grown botanicals, draw inspiration from the Norse heritage of the islands and offer something for all seasons and every occasion.
Experience the full range within this iconic distillery and visitor centre (pictured above) on Kirkwall’s historic harbour front.
Join them for a tour where your guide will show you the working processes of the distillery, before relaxing and sampling our range in the tasting room overlooking beautiful Kirkwall Bay.
Or, try our gin making experience where you will craft your own gin under the guidance of an experienced distiller.
*To find out more about Orkney Distillery visit the website by clicking here.
And there are many other wonders of Orkney too, for example, did you know that…
- Orkney is a globally renowned World Heritage Site
- Local jeweller Sheila Fleet has recently converted a local parish church in Tankerness into a café and gallery
- The most northerly wildlife centre in the UK is Fern Valley located at Tingwall in the Parish of Rendall where you can see geckos and snakes to mice and meerkats
- Take a trip across to the island of Stronsay and will you will see buffalo – all 170 of them
- In 2019, the scuttling of the German Fleet in Scapa Flow, Europe’s largest natural harbour, will be commemorating its 100th anniversary
- More than 700 visiting yachts visited the marinas located in Kirkwall, Stromness and Westray last season
- Orkney remains the cruise capital of the United Kingdom as it receives more destination cruise ship port calls in one season that any other destination in the country
- In 2019 around 170 cruise ships will visit the Orkney Islands
- Orkney has been voted as the best place in the UK to live in 2019