About Orkney

We have some of the best archaeology in the world here in Orkney, Skara Brae is a 5,000 year old Neolithic Village, Ring of Brodgar is Britain’s third largest ring of standing stones, Standing Stones of Stenness are some Orkney’s tallest standing stones whilst Maeshowe Burial Tomb is the finest example of a chambered tomb in Europe. In July and August visit the fascinating excavation of the Ness of Brodgar, every year there are more and more finds. Tomb of the Eagles has fantastic artefacts to show you and next door is the Tomb of the Otters or Banks Tomb.

The Iron age site of the Broch of Gurness is amazing with the remains of the village around the Broch dating back to between 200 and 100 BC. The earth houses in Orkney, Rennibister and Grain Earth House, are mysterious underground buildings resembling burial tombs but some think may have been for storage.

The Viking or Norse period in Orkney gave us many buildings like the Viking settlement on Brough of Birsay, Round Church in Orphir, Bu in Orphir and of course our magnificent St.Magnus Cathedral. while the Bishop’s Palace has it’s round tower known as the Mossie Tooer.

The days of the Lairds in Orkney gave us the Earl’s Palace in Kirkwall an example of renascence building. Mansion Houses like Skaill House near Skara Brae was the home of William Watt the man who uncovered the Neolithic Village. Kirkwall has a lot of buildings and history from that era too with the Girnel that kept the grain and Tankerness House the town house of the Baikie Lairds from Tankerness which houses our Orkney Museum.

The outer islands in Orkney also have their own history and many archaeological sites. Rousay has sites like Midhowe Tomb and Broch, Taversoe Tuick and Blackhammar. Hoy has the Naval Museum and Cemetery, also the Dwarfie Stane a rock cut tomb and don’t forget the Old Man of Hoy also Hackness Battery and Martello Tower. But all of the islands have something to offer.

World War history also a great part of Orkney with famous Scapa Flow the natural harbour for the British Naval Fleet in WWI and WWII. The Churchill Barriers and Italian Chapel being built during WWII.

Orkney is well known for it’s food and drink, with both Scapa Whisky Distillery and Highland Park we are off to a great start. We also have two Breweries on Orkney, the Orkney Brewery and Swanney Brewery both winning many awards for their ales and not forgetting Orkney Wine again being an award winning drink. We have some of the best beef in Britain with the lovely Aberdeen Angus at the top of the list. Why not try our North Ronaldsay Lamb with it unique taste as the sheep live on the seashore eating seaweed.

Nature is in abundance from Otters to Puffins, Guillemots, Fulmars, Gannets, Gulls and many more. The beauty of the landscape in Orkney can be enjoyed so much whilst enjoying the natural side of the islands. Take in the views and enjoy the photography in the varying light as you walk around.

Folklore is also a huge part of life in Orkney with many stories from the Norse period told around the fireside. From tales like Assipattle and the Stour Worm to Press Gangs hunting down men to fight for King and country.

Crafts are a part of modern day life in Orkney. Making Orkney Chairs is an age old craft, Knitting with North Ronaldsay Wool, Jewellery making, Wood Turning, Embroidery, Sewing, Printing and many more.

How to get to Orkney

By Air -

www.flybe.com is the air service to Orkney. They also operate the Inter-Island Air Service in Orkney

By Ferry -

www.pentlandferries.co.uk sail daily from Gills Bay in Caithness to St.Margaret’s Hope on South Ronaldsay

www.northlinkferries.co.uk sail from Aberdeen to Kirkwall and onto Shetland in the evenings. From Scrabster Mainland Scotland to Stromness, Orkney daily

www.jogferry.co.uk Foot ferry from John O’ Groats to Burwick on Orkney





13 Palace Road




Scottish roots? Want to learn more about your ancestors? Not sure where to begin? Hit brick wall? Let Janeology find the answers.

Other items of interest

This important relic of Orkney’s wartime heritage once defended Scapa Flow against enemy attack, and after being closed for many years it finally opens to the public in Spring 2012.

Private non profit making site full of Orkney history always up to date.

For all local produce from handcrafts to food and drink and enjoy a meal in the cafe which serves fantastic food

Life on Orkney
If your interested in a glimpse of Orkney life from the 1950's take a look at this video on the Scottish Screen Archive.


Orkney Handmade furniture to traditional craftsmanship and creativity. Kevin has been making furniture since he left school and now is running his own business.

For a wide selection of hand made crafts in Orkney. This is one of the widest selections of crafts on one website.

Since 1977 master craftsman Robert H. Towers has been making and exporting beautifully handcrafted examples of the 'Orkney Chair' all over the world.