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Where to Stay in Orkney

Thinking about visiting Orkney in September and looking for suggestions as to best town to stay in and nice hotel recommendations. Thanks.

Posted by
1102 posts

We stayed in Kirkwall at a nice B&B that I of course don't remember the name of, but I think it would be your best base. If you are coming in off the ferry make sure to reserve a taxi to get you to your accommodations.

Posted by
5669 posts

We too stayed in Orkney. There are lots of restaurant options. Our B&B is no longer around.

There are the three hotels on the harbor. We had meals at the Kirkwall one and at the St. Ola the other. One of them had live music, but I'm not seeing any reference to it now. The third one is the Ayre. You will likely be fine with any of them. Check TA or see if anyone here has been lately. There is another that is back in town a bit, The Orkney. If you plan on having a car, that might be a factor. And it looks like the Wrigley Sisters have a venture where you should find live music. Or they will be able to help you find what's on.

An alternate would be to stay in Stromness. We stayed there when we were visiting family. It's quite nice and is the home of the Ferry Inn where there is live music.

Pam

Posted by
5669 posts

It changes it some. Personally, I like to stay close to a place that has traditional music within walking distance. :)

Orkney is known for some great fiddlers.

Pam

Posted by
4 posts

When in September are you planning to go? My husband and I are visiting the week of September 4 and had trouble finding a hotel back in January as everything was already booked for a festival that week. We were able to find a lovely place right in Kirkwall using AirBnB.

Posted by
4 posts

We are in Scotland from Sept 15-27, touring the Highlands. Relying on our travel agent for hotels and inns. Any of you traveled the North Coast 500 yet?

Posted by
5669 posts

I did huge chunks of it several years ago. I didn't get out to John O'Groats. We did the west coast and across the top to a Bettyhill and then we went south to see Strathnaver--cleared strath--and then continued south to Helmsdale. I would recommend trying to get out to Cape Wrath if you can. We missed it and I still regret that. :( But the most awesome road was in the west. It between Lochinver and Drumbeg. It's along the coast and is truly amazing. It's a moonscape. The lochs in Sutherland were amazing too. I remembered my WWII history as some of the convoys gathered here before heading west to North America. I liked the look of Tongue. We had lunch there. It would be a good place to stop.

Pam

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks Pam. Tomorrow we sit with a map to plan it all out. Tongue has also been recommended by friends, so will put it on the list. Once it's set will post our choices👍!

Posted by
278 posts

When my mom and I were there in 2012, we stayed at the Mill of Eyrland, about 5 miles east of Stromness and a few miles south of the Stones of Stenness. It was wonderful, a converted 1830s mill with lots of the original equipment scattered around, and with a comfortable bed, terrific breakfasts around one big table with the other residents, and the location was great for the West Mainland and Stromness. It was a bit of a drive to Kirkwall, and the wifi was restricted to the guest lounge (due to the walls being so thick), but those were the only drawbacks. You can see the sea on the other side of the road, just past the field with sheep.

Posted by
186 posts

We have stayed at the Mill of Eyrland too, although it was in 2001. It was nice enough but the bed we slept in was very creaky and should we ever go back there again, we would certainly opt for another room. This four poster bed was not conducive where a good night's sleep was concerned.

The single table was one way of getting to know some of the other guests and useful information was exchanged over breakfast.

The mill was in a nice position and places of interest and tourist attractions were easily reached by car.

At the time the proprietors offered evening meals because there were no eateries within walking distance. I don't know if this is still the case.

Posted by
5515 posts

My sister stayed in Kirkwall at Narvik Holiday Let. Double bed, small kitchen, bathroom, quiet with good location. Very helpful landlord. Booked through tripadvisor, and was there in May 2016. Highly recommends.

Posted by
278 posts

I don't think Morag at the Mill of Eyrland offers evening meals, but maybe she will upon request. There are no restaurants within walking distance of the Mill, but right next to the Stones of Stenness is the Standing Stones Hotel, with an excellent restaurant attached where Mom and I had dinner one night. Two other days we ate early in Kirkwall, and for our last night, which we spent getting everything packed for our flight to London, we just got some local beers, cheese, bere crackers, and fruit at a general store in Kirkwall that we ate in our room. (Highly recommend the cheese and bere crackers, btw--bere is an ancient variety of barley that is only grown in Orkney, IIRC, and it is very tasty in crackers.)

Posted by
3713 posts

I stayed at the Shore, right across from part of the harbor in Kirkwall. The room was lovely and there's both a pub and a restaurant. It's just a door or two away from the main street in town.

My favorite place to eat was Lol's. Yes, spelled like laugh out loud, but it's actually the owner's nickname.

I spent the night in Thurso and took the ferry to Stromness. After a short wait at the dock, the regular local bus picked us up for the ride to Kirkwall. Both the main street and the hotel were a short walk from the bus station. I also took the bus to the airport to fly to Aberdeen.

I took a day tour of the main sights done by Wildabout Orkney. I loved the tour, but be forewarned. It was cold and windy and rainy most of the time I was there in May. I'd expect the same in September.

Be sure to see the short film about St. Magnus Cathedral and visit it. It's similar to Durham. Also make time for the small but charming Orkney Museum.