Kirkwall, the capital of the Orkney Islands, resonates with ancient echoes of Christian, Nordic and Celtic history. It’s a town that feels more Scandinavian than Scottish; in fact, the name Kirkwall comes from the Norse for 'Church Bay', relating to the town's 11th century Church of St Olaf of Norway.
Exploring the town’s atmospheric paved streets and twisting lanes, reveals a number of highlights, including the ruins of the Earl and Bishop’s Palaces, dating from the mid-12th century and serving as a reminder of the Orkney's turbulent past.[ReadMoreMob] The palaces are considered by many to be the finest Renaissance buildings in Scotland. Also worth visiting is the recently restored St. Magnus Cathedral, founded in memory of Saint Magnus Erlendsson by Norseman Earl Rögnvald Kali.
Don't miss Tankerness House, a beautifully preserved 16th century townhouse, and the Orkney Wireless Museum, with it's fascinating insights into the history of radio, too.
The group of Neolithic monuments on Orkney consists of a large chambered tomb (Maes Howe), two ceremonial stone circles (the Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar), and a settlement (Skara Brae), together with a number of excavated burial, ceremonial and settlement sites.
Skara Brae, on the shores of the bay of Skaill, is reputed to be the best-preserved Stone Age village in Europe. Skara Brae is accorded the same status as the pyramids in Egypt, however, the village is in fact much older, dating from 3200BC compared to 2700BC when the building of the pyramids began.
The spellbinding Ring of Brodgar arguably the most iconic symbol of Orkney's prehistoric past. It is a site of ritual and ceremony, an archaeological treasure and without doubt, one of the islands' most visited attractions.
Cruises to Kirkwall
Departs: Southampton • Fri 05 Mar 2021
7 nights • Bolette • T2103
- Be part of something very special and experience the excitement of being one of the first guests to sail on our new flagship, Bolette.
- Celebrate as we begin a new chapter of Fred. Olsen history during a rewarding seven-night discovery of fascinating destinations in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- You’ll marvel at the intriguing wonders of Dutchman’s Cap and Fingal’s Cave; have time to explore ashore in the Shetland and Orkney Islands; and visit the attraction-packed city of Belfast.
From £699ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Dover • Thu 18 Mar 2021
7 nights • Bolette • T2105
- Experience some of Scotland’s most outstanding scenic highlights, from on board Bolette and during time ashore, on this rewarding week-long break.
- Relax and revel in the Sound of Mull’s tranquillity and countryside beauty; see the legendary Duart Castle; study the volcanic Dutchman’s Cap; and marvel at Fingal’s Cave’s mighty basalt stacks.
- Explore ashore amongst the glorious landscapes of Scottish isles; seek-out the Shetland’s coastal scenes and native wildlife, and delve into the Neolithic heritage of the Orkneys.
From £699ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Dover • Sat 17 Apr 2021
7 nights • Bolette • T2108
- Week-long springtime escapes don’t get much better than this – enjoy ample time to experience the delights of ocean cruising, and revel in the beauty, tranquillity and charms of scenic islands.
- Sail to the enchanting Faroe Islands, to marvel at the spectacular scenery of Cape Enniberg, Streymoy, Gásadalur and Hestur Islands, and delve into the archipelago’s Viking history too.
- Closer to home, glorious Scottish isles await; there are breathtaking coastal scenes, natural wildlife reserves and ancient treasure aplenty to discover in the Shetlands and Orkneys.
From £899ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Liverpool • Fri 23 Apr 2021
6 nights • Borealis • S2107
- On this very special six-night sailing, you’ll be amongst the first guests to cruise on Borealis, and get to celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in Fred. Olsen history.
- The cruise offers a rewarding discovery of beautiful, close-to-home destinations too – some of Scotland’s greatest islands and waterways await you.
- Feel the tranquillity of Loch Broom, Eriboll and Torridon, as you look-out for scenic sights such as Beinn Ghobhlach, and enjoy time ashore to seek-out the treasures of the Shetlands and Orkneys.
From £599ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Dover • Thu 03 Jun 2021
12 nights • Bolette • T2114
- With natural wonders and wildlife awaiting your discovery amongst Iceland’s incredible landscapes and waterways, this cruise will leave you spellbound throughout.
- An overnight stay in Reykjavik allows ample time to witness the beauty of the Golden Circle’s hot springs and waterfalls on tour, visit the famous Blue Lagoon and much more.
- You’ll also have chances to experience fjord kayaking and embark on an unforgettable whale watching adventure; and see the spectacular sights of Seyðisfjörður, Eyjafjörður and Hrisey Island from Bolette.
From £1,799ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Dover • Sun 11 Jul 2021
13 nights • Bolette • T2118
- Discover and explore some of the British Isles most beautiful and remote islands, with smaller-sized Bolette as your guide.
- You’ll get to wonder at the best of British nature, from the landscapes of the Sound of Mull and intriguing Fingal’s Cave to the iconic ponies of the Shetland Islands.
- Immerse yourself in rich history of the Orkney’s, Isle of Bute and Isle of Lewis; explore Belfast, Northern Ireland’s capital; and visit the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Isles of Scilly.
From £2,199ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Liverpool • Sun 11 Jul 2021
8 nights • Borealis • S2115
- Sail deep into the heart of Norway on Borealis, to experience small ship cruising and fjordland exploration at its most inspiring, rewarding and memorable.
- Immerse yourself in the breathtaking views and uncanny tranquillity of Nærøyfjord, inaccessible to larger ships; sail the magnificent Nordfjord and see majestic Hornelen up-close.
- Ride the iconic Flåmsbana railway and marvel at the Kjosfossen Waterfall; discover the astonishing Briksdal Glacier from Olden; explore historic Bergen and much more during unforgettable time ashore.
From £1,299ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Liverpool • Thu 29 Jul 2021
8 nights • Borealis • S2117
- Create memories that last a lifetime as you sail Scottish Lochs on a smaller ship – the best way to experience the beauty and tranquillity of this astonishing part of the world.
- See mighty Ben Nevis in Loch Linnhe and Beinn Ghobhlach towering over Little Loch Broom; Loch Fyne; Fingal Cave’s basalt columns and more.
- Ashore, your call at Fort William could coincide with the annual Lochaber Highland Games, while legendary historic sites, from castles to Neolithic treasures, await you too.
From £1,399ppFares Explained | What's Included
Departs: Liverpool • Sat 28 Aug 2021
5 nights • Borealis • S2120
- Discover enchanting waterways and remote islands on board Borealis and experience a memorable snapshot of Scotland’s gorgeous summertime scenery.
- Relax during hours of daytime scenic cruising, taking in historic Duart Castle and the picturesque Sound of Mull, the intriguing Dutchman’s Cap and astonishing Fingal’s Cave.
- Step ashore in the Shetlands and the Orkneys, to go in search of many more of Scotland’s most famous highlights, such as UNESCO-listed Skara Brae and iconic Shetland ponies.
From £799ppFares Explained | What's Included