Mumsnet Logo
Please
or
to access all these features

Welcome to Mumsnet's holiday forum. Discuss all international travel here, including both shorthaul and longhaul trips. Related topics: UK holidays & day trips, skiing, camping & campervans.

Holidays

Orkney

27 replies

TullyApplebottom · 11/06/2022 18:27

Has anyone been? Cock ups with passport renewals look like scuppering a holiday abroad this summer; I’ve always been fascinated by Orkney but is it interesting in reality? Looks like lots of opportunities for seeing wildlife, historic sites etc which we love … any recommendations for places to visit, stay, scoff the local seafood?

OP posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

LetitiaLeghorn · 11/06/2022 18:29

I love the Orkneys. I'm actually here on holiday at the moment. It's just that the weather can be a bit unpredictable. It's been raining and windy today.

Please
or
to access all these features

TullyApplebottom · 11/06/2022 18:32

Yep, I’m not expecting to get a suntan out of this holiday! But that’s ok with us. We are more outdoor activity, historic visiting sort of a family (and we also love eating). Why do you like it?

OP posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

aprofoundhistoricalnovalty · 11/06/2022 18:37

Maes how, ring of brodgar, skara brea, lots of other burial mounds and brochs to look at, Kirkwall cathedral, heaps of wildlife, hire a boat to go on the freshwater loch by the ring of brodgar (can't remember the name sorry!)
If you are interested in pre-history, vikings, wildlife and take proper waterproof gear it's beautiful.
Don't expect resort type entertainment- I haven't been for years - too many!- but enjoyed it enormously in my teens.

Please
or
to access all these features

TullyApplebottom · 11/06/2022 18:40

Good to know as I will be taking 14 year old DD and DS who is 15. DD loves history (adorés visiting NT houses and museums) and DS is into running, cycling and rowing. So I think this could be a good bet for them

OP posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

HumphreyCobblers · 11/06/2022 18:43

We loved it but found the food pretty basic. Lots of the pubs wouldn't let us eat with kids due to licensing laws. But apart from that, it was the most amazing holiday. So so beautiful and completely fascinating historically.

Please
or
to access all these features

IbizaToTheNorfolkBroads · 11/06/2022 18:45

Ah! My kind of thread! We’ve just booked 3 nights in a campsite on S Ronaldsay in August. The DC’s passports have run out, and I’m not in a huge hurry to replace them. We had a family chat about what we wanted from a holiday and came up with camping, history, sea, fish and chips, ferries and water sports. Orkney Islands it is then!

Please
or
to access all these features

Heli1copter · 11/06/2022 18:52

We had a great holiday last year. We stayed near Stromness, at Eastbrae Cottages. We did a mix of history and beach combing/nature things. Seeing puffins was a highlight and we also hired bikes one day and took a small ferry from Stromness to Hoy island and cycled to Rackwick Beach. There's a brilliant cafe near the Hoy ferry. Scapa Flow and the Italian Chapel was very intereting. There are nice restaurants near the Cathedral in Kirkwall. Overall I would highly recommend it.

Depending on where you're coming from, I'd also suggest a few days in Higlands/Sutherland to break the journey. Brora, Golspie, Dunrobin Castle are good stopping points after Inverness.

Please
or
to access all these features

TullyApplebottom · 11/06/2022 18:53

It looks like there are a couple of decent restaurants tho? We certainly won’t want to eat out more than once or twice for dinner but I have seen some pictures of very luscious scallop dishes when I Google orkney restaurants…

OP posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

TullyApplebottom · 11/06/2022 18:53

Puffins! I would die happy if I saw a puffin

OP posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

becausetrampslikeus · 11/06/2022 19:01

We are just back from there - our first visit
Will be going back

Very windy a lot of the time , full winter clothing.

The archeology is great, and the cathedral. Not a shopping destination , but sone good craft shops. Fill up with petrol on the mainland.

We didn't eat out much but one day grabbed fish and chips from stromness and they were amazing. Crisp it greasy

And we saw puffins. We sat within 5m of 3 puffins for half an hour. Damp bum. Who cares.

We also ate in the ferry inn at scrabster which was very very good - and very accommodating with switching something on the menu

Please
or
to access all these features

LetitiaLeghorn · 11/06/2022 19:07

If your daughter loves history, she'll be in seventh heaven here. Today we went to Maeshowe, the Italianate chapel, and the cathedral and the bushops and earls palaces. There are loads of Maeshowe type cairns around that are free. But skara brae and the ring of brognar, stones of Stegness etc, are fantastic. Make sure you book your visits to places of interest ahead of time. For instance Mawshowe is already booked up to late June.
I'm not really into sports but there are tons of things advertised around.

Please
or
to access all these features

Gonegrey31 · 11/06/2022 19:12

Do book evening meals , seriously, we were there in school holiday season and it was impossible to just turn up and expect a table at anywhere decent .
We had a great time otherwise despite constant rain . Remember cruise ships dock on some days which means tourist spots fully booked so plan ahead .

Please
or
to access all these features

manlyago · 11/06/2022 19:25

Westray and the flight to Papa Westray is fantastic. Puffins, seals. Stromness is nice.Italian Chapel is unique and really moving. Maes Howe and Scara Brae are fabulous. Wonderful place. Take warm clothes!

Please
or
to access all these features

Heli1copter · 11/06/2022 20:31

The distilleries (Highland Park especially) are interesting too if any of the family likes a dram.

And I forgot to say earlier the drive over the Churchill Barriers is good, and the southern islands have some of the nicest sandy beaches for scavenging cowrie shells. But they're cold beaches, wellies and waterproof rather than shorts and tshirt usually. If your DC want to swim in the sea they might want wetsuits or it'll be very cold for them!

Please
or
to access all these features

TullyApplebottom · 11/06/2022 21:15

Ooh I like a dram.
will buy wetsuits. It sounds great

OP posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

BarbaraofSeville · 12/06/2022 07:35

I thought the food in pubs was good when I went. Lots of nice seafood cooked simply with chips/salad accompaniment. Plus lots of other choices. I was there for a diving holiday, so we actually slept on the dive boat, but it was moored in Stromness and we went to the local pubs for evening meals.

But lots of sites of interest to have a look around. If you're planning on driving up and taking the ferry from Scrabster (we drove up, stayed overnight in a cheap hotel and took the lunchtime ferry the next day) and have a couple of hours spare, it's worth taking a trip to John o Groats and Dunnet Head nature reserve.

JOG is much more low key than Lands End, and free, instead of a 'take your money at every turn' experience.

It's a long way to go, but if it's the type of place that you're interested in, definitely worth making the trip.

Please
or
to access all these features

TullyApplebottom · 12/06/2022 07:51

We would drive up over a couple of days, I think, and take the ferry from scrabster. Sounds like there’s more than enough to fill a week there, with travelling either side

OP posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

manlyago · 12/06/2022 08:08

If you have time definitely try to visit some of the other Orkney islands. Westray was lovely and very different from main Orkney.

Please
or
to access all these features

Iamnotamermaid · 12/06/2022 08:14

Also lots of WWW heritage to check out- Churchill barriers, ness battery etc...

www.orkney.com/things/history/wartime

Please
or
to access all these features

TullyApplebottom · 12/06/2022 08:21

DH will love the WW2 stuff!

OP posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

Whatafielddayfortheheat · 12/06/2022 08:24

I lived there until recently OP, feel free to ask any questions. It is, in my opinion, the most beautiful place in the world!

Please
or
to access all these features

soundsystem · 12/06/2022 08:25

From the description of what you like I think you'll love it! Where are you travelling from? We got the sleeper up to Aberdeen then the ferry over, which is great is you/your DC like the travelling to be part of the adventure! Would definitely recommend the Westray to Papa Wesley flight as well - you get a certificate Grin

Food wise, it's been a couple of years since we were last there but I remember good fish and chips, and Cullen skink and good home-baking in cafes.

Please
or
to access all these features

becausetrampslikeus · 12/06/2022 08:36

The stromness inn has gone tee total though if you like a glass with your dinner

Please
or
to access all these features

horseymum · 12/06/2022 08:39

We're going in the summer too, would like to hear some live music, any recommendations? Noting all the other comments, very helpful.

Please
or
to access all these features

becausetrampslikeus · 12/06/2022 08:52

You just missed the music festival

Please
or
to access all these features
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?