The Royal Burgh of Kirkwall is an ancient town, having been founded back in about 1035 by Earl Rognvald Bruason. Kirkwall quickly grew in size, power, and stature, and to this day is the capital of the Orkney Islands.
There is both a ferry port (with routes to and from Shetland and Aberdeen) and an airport here. The harbour also serves as a port for cruise ships.
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Kirkwall is lively and busy, and is certainly a change from some of the quieter, more tranquil places in the Orkney chain. There is a good shopping centre, plenty of places to eat out, and lots of activities for visitors to enjoy whilst in this beautiful part of the world.
The most famous site in Kirkwall is St Magnus Cathedral, which is thought by many to be the best example of a medieval building in Scotland. It is made of sandstone, and it an impressive building indeed. Also not to be missed is the Orkney Museum, which tells the story of the island chain from the earliest discoveries to the present day (and it includes Vikings, which is always fun!).
It’s also possible to explore the wrecks in the body of water known as Scapa Flow. This can be done virtually in 3D, and makes for some fascinating memories.
Ferries to Kirkwall, Scotland
|Aberdeen Kirkwall||3 weekly||6 hours||See prices °|
|Kirkwall Lerwick||3 weekly||5½ hours||See prices °|
This information is for reference purposes only. Journey times are approximate. Frequency is based on typical schedules. Schedules are subject to availability and weather conditions. Information correct at the time of writing.
Taster Cruise Ship Itineraries
|Cruise line||Typical itinerary||Prices|
|Tilbury; Newcastle; Greenock; Liverpool; Avonmouth; Hull; Portsmouth Ports such as Kirkwall||See prices|
This information is for reference purposes only. Information correct at the time of writing.
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To find other ports near you, take a look at the UK port map here.
- Ferry terminal: Hatston Quay, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1RQ, United Kingdom
- Cruise port: