St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Scotland
Founded in 1137 by the Viking Earl Rognvald, St. Magnus Cathedral is one of Kirkwall’s most iconic marvels. Once you arrive, you can download an app for a unique audio-visual guide as you explore the grounds, or reserve a tour in advance. Keep an eye out for carvings and stonemasons’ marks throughout the church — some date as far back as 400 AD.
Yesnaby Cliffs Coast Line Kirkwall, Scotland
Less than a 30-minute drive from Kirkwall you’ll find the Yesnaby Cliffs, a set of impressive sea stacks lashed by the mighty Atlantic. One of the area’s most iconic sights is Yesnaby Castle, a sea stack with a natural arc that has formed over millennia. Head just a bit north of the car park and you’ll reach another famous attraction — an Iron Age structure called the Broch of Borwick.
Kirkwall is home to several acclaimed distilleries, including the Orkney Distillery — famous for its handcrafted gin — and the Highland Park and Scapa whisky distilleries. Most offer guided tours and interactive tastings so you can sniff, sip and savor the brands’ top-rated expressions while getting to know the history and distillation process behind each.
The local cuisine here is all about hearty, flavorful food that hits the spot. Orkney lamb and beef are prized around the world, but so are the islands’ savory, nutty cheddar and fresh-caught salmon and shellfish. If you have a sweet tooth, try some handmade Orkney fudge — you can pick from vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut and stem ginger.
If you’re craving a little retail therapy, you’ll find all kinds of charming boutiques around St. Magnus Cathedral. From cozy bookstores nestled between quaint cafés to shops selling fine jewelry crafted by local artisans and apparel designed and made in the Orkney Islands — whatever you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it here.
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