Things to See & Do in Orkney and Shetland

Orkney & Shetland are incredibly unique. No only do they islands possibly have the most friendly people on the plant, there is so much to do it is exhausting! Each day starts afresh and before you know it, it’s over.

Ancient prehistoric villages and brochs are plentiful, as are standing stones and museums – Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement, Skara Brae and Tomb of the Eagles to name just a few.

There are many islands to visit from the mainlands which have their own fascinating history and attractions. One such place to visit would be the Dwarfie Stane on Hoy.

Many boat trips are offered and Shetlands Geopark offers the highest cliffs in Britain and a volcano!

Cheese makers, breweries, wineries, local meats and seafood are all on offer and Orkney even has its own coffee roastery. A visit to these islands is a foodies delight. And you’ll need to fill up after days out in this fresh air!


Tomb of the Eagles – Archaeological Site & Visitors Centre – South Ronaldsay, Orkney

Go inside the 5,000 year old tomb and discover the past!

t: +44 (0)1856 831339
e: info@tomboftheeagles.co.uk
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Find out more about Tomb of the Eagles – Archaeological Site & Visitors Centre

Isbister Chambered Cairn – better known today as the ‘Tomb of the Eagles’ – is one of Orkney’s top archaeological sites. Offering hands on experience, seeing and handling ancient artefacts and learning about the Stone Age and Bronze Age people, it really is a “must do” attraction when on Orkney.

This award winning attraction takes you back 5,000 years and as well as being able to enter the Tomb, via mile long cliff top walk, there is also a gift shop and refreshments available. And what would a visit be without some local Orkney Ice Cream!

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The Orkney Folklore and Storytelling Centre – Sandwick, Orkney

Hear myths and legends around the peat fire

t: +44 (0)1856 841207
e: peatfire@orkneyattractions.com
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Find out more about The Orkney Folklore and Storytelling Centre

Gather round our peat fire and enjoy Orkney folklore and island legend via music, song and dance. Storytellers have passed on the folklore and myth in their own dialect for thousands of years. In Orkney, the language of the Norse and Pictish people, Norn, was lost. Only remnants of the old sagas and stories remain. We offer to you these island myths and legends, a glimpse back to the olden days of evenings around the peat fire.

Learn about Assipattle and his fight against the Stoor Worm, about the Trowies who lived in green mounds or the Selkie brides from the sea. Private Groups of up to 35 people are very welcome to attend and concessionary rates are available. We offer Peatfire Tale Evenings, with over 20 years’ experience, for corporate events, wedding functions, education/school groups and private coach tours.

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scapa flow

Scapa Flow Visitor Centre and Museum

The museum tells the story of the naval anchorage in the First and Second World Wars.  Find out about the Royal Oak disaster and view files of war-time photographs. Audio visual displays illustrate the history of Scapa Flow and there is also a gift shop and café. The museum is a two-minute walk from the pier and is open from March to October.  Please visit the website for full opening hours.

north ronaldsay lighthouse

North Ronaldsay Lighthouse and Visitor Centre

North Ronaldsay Lighthouse is the tallest land-based lighthouse in the UK, and the oldest in-tact lighthouse in Scotland.  The exhibitions are free and are open from 10am to 5pm daily from 1st May to 31st August.  A short walk from the lighthouse takes you to the old beacon. This is probably the oldest lighthouse intact in Scotland and featured as part of the BBC’s restoration programme in 2000.  On site you will also find a cafe and a gift shop.


Stone of Setter

The Setter Stone dates back thousands of years, is one of the tallest megaliths in Orkney.  It stands at 7ft wide at the base and over 15ft tall, but has suffered erosion over the years leaving the appearance of a giants hand.  The Setter Stone lies on the Heritage Trail.



Michaelswood is a community led project situated on the West mainland of Shetland.  There is plenty to keeps the children entertained; a bird observatory, pond, teddy bears picnic area, pirate play ship and philosophers trail, alongside hundreds of trees which have been planted by volunteers over the years.


Aith Lifeboat Station

Aith Lifeboat Station is usually open to the public during the summer season.  Operating for over 70 years, Aith is the most northerly lifeboat station providing protection for mariners off Shetland’s sometimes wild Atlantic coast.


Old Haa Museum

The Old Haa Museum is situated at Yell. It details the history of the Island, from the whaling years and shipwrecks to natural history and genealogy.   There is also a tea room, a gallery displaying local art, craft shop, picnic area and a children’s play boat.


Shetland Museum

The Shetland Museum and Archives is about a ten minute walk from Lerwick town centre.  Shetland Museum and Archives has informative and interactive displays covering Shetland’s heritage and culture, from the geological beginnings of our islands, to the customs and folklore, textiles, archaeology, fishing and development of more contemporary life in the isles.   The Museum also has a cafe and a shop selling local crafts and textiles.


Rackwick Bay

A spectacular spot on the unusually (for Orkney) hilly island of Hoy. A small crofting township sits under magnificent cliffs.


The Dwarfie Stane

Britain’s only chambered cairn carved from a single slab of stone. Very impressive!