Cheap Flights To Kirkwall
Kirkwall is the capital of the Orkney Islands, which are in the far north of Scotland. It is the largest town of Orkney that is situated centrally on the mainland, and it is a busy hub for transport links to the rest of the islands. Surrounded by rugged countryside, the town itself has a small harbour, ancient cathedral, distillery, museum, craft shops and great restaurants.
The history of Kirkwall goes back to the 11th century when the town was built around and old church. In 1846, James III of Scotland declared the town a Royal Burgh. Today visitors enjoy the honest charm and friendly atmosphere of the area -- some things which haven't changed over the centuries.
While in Kirkwall, a visit to the Medieval St Magnus Cathedral must be high on the list of things to do. A tour of the most northern distillery in Great Britain is also a very interesting way to learn some local history. Whisky has been produced here since Viking times. Of course, the draw of the wild and natural countryside is a strong one, so spend some time outside and visit Scapa Flow nearby.
Things To Do
The remoteness of the Orkney Islands attracts those who like to hike and spend time quietly in wild nature. In and around the city of Kirkwall, there are other things to see that will make a visit complete.
- Tour a Medieval Cathedral.
St Magnus Cathedral was founded in 1137 by the Viking Earl Rognvald, and it took more than 300 years to complete. It is a magnificent sight found in the middle of the town. It holds regular services but is also a meeting place, art gallery and a visitor centre. Tours are on offer for a small fee.
Highland Park Distillery is Britain's most northerly distillery where they have been producing whisky since the Viking times. They are passionate about their quality whisky and the history surrounding it, and they offer tours and tastings during the week.
- Shop for something special.
The High Street has a nice selection of shops including some lovely craft stores which also hold workshops. Treat yourself to some of the hand-made jewellery that is on sale, or take home a locally crafted souvenir.
Calendar Of Events
Local festivals and cultural events occur annually in Kirkwall and they are great fun to join in. Check the dates to see the best time to visit.
The St Magnus International Festival. This is held around midsummer's day and lasts about 10 days. There is poetry, classical music, choir music and crafts as well as a giant parade through the streets.
Riding of the Marches. This event takes place around mid-August and is a traditional horse and pony event. A flag is paraded through the streets starting at the cathedral and ending on the beach, where the animals are ridden into the sea.
The Ba'. This takes place on Christmas Day and its roots are believed to go back hundreds of years. This old ball game is played between the 'Uppies' and 'Doonies' and it takes place on the streets. A tradition unique to the area.