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Orkney is an archipelago of about 70 islands, spreaded across the clear blue waters, on the Northern coast of Scotland. The smaller islands are an oasis of serenity and white sand beaches. The Mainland is home to the majority of the population. The blend of stunning beaches, culture, heritage and amazing wildlife will ensure a special and magical holiday to Orkney.
2015 was named the Year of Food & Drink in Scotland. You must have a taste of Orkney’s local produce: seafood, lamb, lobster, ice cream and dairies. The local ingredients change with the passing of the seasons. As it is surrounded by the North Sea, you can deduce that seafood and all sort of fish are strongly featured: Bay of Firth oysters, razor clams, lobster, scallops, sea witch and megrim. Orkney’s sea produce are bursting with intense flavours. The islands are also known for their fertile soils, with the help of which they produce quality beef, lamb and pork meat for tables in the entire UK. The exquisite taste of the North Ronaldsay sheep, fed mostly on seaweed is a “must-try” on your visit to Orkney. Complete your meal with the organically grown Orcadian salads and vegetables, the creamy cheese and end it with a delicious oatcake. Although Orkney gives a lot of great savoury produce, it is also very good when it comes to sweets. You must try the fudge, ice cream or the traditional specialty that is the bannock, a flat scone with rhubarb jam. The best places to eat in Orkney are The Foveran Restaurant, The Shore, The Creel, Garden View Restaurant at Orkney Hotel. Don’t miss The Commodore, Dil Se, Lynnfield Hotel, Hoxa Tearooms, Orkney Real Food Café, The Taversoe. Orkney Islands may be small in size, but they are great at delivering amazing food.
Regarding the accommodation, you can either go to a 1 to 5 star hotel, a B&B or guest house. Romantic breaks can be spent at a luxurious mansion, built in the beautiful Georgian style, where you can fully relax and enjoy the peace, quiet and serenity in this corner of Scotland. The B&Bs are popular because of their warm and friendly atmosphere. Here are some of the most popular places in the Isles: Stromness Hotel, Merkister Hotel, The Orkney Hotel, Kirkwall Hotel, Ayre Hotel, Smithfield Hotel, Albert Hotel, Kevock. You may also want to consider Orca Guest House, Ferry Bank B&B, Lerona, Northfield B&B, St. Ola Hotel, Brinkies Guest House. Orkney holds a remarkable variety of things to do, as diverse and beautiful as the islands themselves.
You can discover the uniqueness of every island, enjoy the arts, admire the outstanding birdlife. Orkney is also home to many wonderful attractions such as the Heart of Neolithic, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a tour that will take you 6000 years back in time, to have an insight into the lives of the ancient people who settled in Orkney.
There are several interesting events that take place during the year. You should consider attending if you are in the area at the time: Underworlds and Upper-Worlds of the Orcadian Iron Age and Orkney County Show (agricultural show). Attend St. Magnus International Festival (a celebration of the arts), Orkney Fine Wine Festival, Orkney Folk Festival.
Nature lovers will be drawn to the impressive coastline and cliffs, the many species of seabirds and mammals, the nature reserves and trails along the archipelago. Don’t miss Mill Dam Nature Reserve, Trumland Nature Reserve, Marwick Head Nature Reserve, Noup Cliffs Nature Reserve, Birsay Moors Nature Reserve and Copinsay Nature Reserve. You will find little pieces of heaven at Bay of Pierowall, Brough of Birsay, North Wick and Aikerness Bay. The culture and history enthusiasts will only be happy if they take a tour of Orkney’s museums and learn all they can about the traditions, legends and heritage: The Pier Arts Centre, Kirbuster Farm Museum. Don’t miss the Tomb of the Eagles, Stone Age & Bronze Age sites, The Orkney Folklore and Storytelling Centre, Stromness Museum.
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