Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland expert cruise advice
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Map of Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland
We didn’t do an excursion. We walked around and looked at the shops. The church is historically awesome and beautiful. We paid for a horse buggy tour around.
We arrived in Kirkwall amongst nearly 7.5k people arriving there as 2 other ships where in as well. The population of the town just about tripled that day! We just had a walk around the town & the shops, we had a look in the church & enjoyed listening to the bagpipes! It is one of those places I would never have been to if it weren’t for going cruising
We didn't book a tour. We walked over to the church, they were just getting ready for a service (it was Sunday) so we didn't go inside, but the outside is really pretty. Right across the street is the castle and Bishop's house. We paid the admission and went inside. We met a gentleman who was playing lawn bowling with a group and invited us to watch. So we followed him over just behind the castle and watched and visited for about 30 minutes. Very friendly people. We then walked around exploring and taking pictures, then followed our map back to downtown where the stores that opened were opening around noon. Went into a wonderful place run by 3 sisters called Hume Sweet Hume. Bought a gorgeous shawl handknit by the sister who was working that day. They also sell jewelry and clothing. Really nice store and super friendly staff. Also went into a shop selling Orkney tartans and the Princess Diana tartan (in the front window). Also another shop was the Orkney Arts & Crafts Association and they had local art, pottery, glassware etc. Wonderful shop with authentic items.
Visited: Aug 04, 2017
We took the local bus and got to visit Scara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar and saw the countryside. Then we visited St Magnus Cathedral and the Earl's Palace on our own and had a lovely lunch in a small place.
Visited: Jun 28, 2017
Kirkwall, Orkney (Roam Like Home) on CMV Marco Polo August 2018. We had been expecting this stop to be Lerwick in the Shetland Islands; however dur to weather conditions we couldn’t stop there so luckily managed to get into a diverted port. Luckily the independent tour we’d arranged in Lerwick was a pay on the day deal which the organisers had cancelled due to the expected weather – they were very right! This is a great example of where independently arranged tours can go a little ‘pete tongue’ for you as ships have the discretion to alter the itinerary at any point. We had a free port transfer into the town which drops you off in the main town bus stop. There is one tour bus, however it was full by the time we reached it and there was only one per day – top tip: disembark the ship asap if you want to catch it. Therefore we instead took a combination of different public buses to venture around the island. You can get a day rider for around £15pp which allows you unlimited public bus usage. The weather was glorious and the scenery stunning. We used the brown and yellow routes.
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