Kirkwall, Orkney

St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney

The capital of Orkney is the Royal Burgh of Kirkwall, a little town on the northern shore of the Orkney Mainland. The largest settlement and administrative center is Kirkwall. It is a Viking town that was founded around 1035 by Earl Rognvald Brusason. Kirkwall, Orkney's main town, is a great base for touring the 70 or so scattered islands that make up the archipelago. There are excellent air and ferry services between the islands and you can also take the world's shortest scheduled flight – lasting two minutes – between the islands of Westray and Papa Westray.

The telephone code for this area is 01856

Kirkwall is a town with two faces:
Firstly, there is the face seen by visitors who have travelled there from some urban metropolis. To them it is a small, leisurely town with squat, grey buildings clustered in the shadow of St Magnus Cathedral.

The second face is revealed when returning from the North Isles. Approaching from the sea, Kirkwall seems like a bustling city.

Kirkwall Airport provides access to the Orkney Islands from Scotland’s major cities. Kirkwall, Orkney visitor Information Centre, Bus Station and Travel Centre - located at the top of West Castle Street. If you need help to book accommodation or advice on places to visit e.g. drop past to the visitor information centre.


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