Explore Orkney for Days of Wonder and Memorable Holidays

Orkney Vikings

From Invasion to Integration

St Magnus Cathedral, KirkwallMost commonly associated with murderous plunder and pillage, the Vikings are a significant contribution to our heritage. Discover the reality of how they came, integrated, influenced and enriched our culture. See astonishing Viking buildings, amazing views and trail the Vikings ancient wonders, from the magnificent St Magnus Cathedral to Viking Graffiti at Maeshowe. Join us and Explore Orkney with the story of the Earldom of Orkney as told in the sagas.

Starting our tour in Kirkwall which was first recorded in The Orkneyinga Saga and is thought to date from at least the eleventh century. It was believed to be one of the most important towns of the Norse Western Empire

We take a short walk down the road to the Earls and Bishops palaces. The Bishops palace built in the mid 12th century for Bishop William the Old who was an old crusading companion and friend of Earl Rognvald Kolosson the Cathedrals founder.

Next we arrive at the Cathedral built in honour of St Magnus. It took three centuries to complete with construction beginning in 1137. Uniquely, St Magnus is renowned for being the only cathedral in Britain with a dungeon; it is known as Marwick's Hole. Also unique for Britain’s cathedrals, is the Norwegian bell ringing technique known as 'clocking'. One person can peel the bells by hand and foot pedals.

Round KirkWe head next to the remains of the Round Kirk and Earls Bu, built in the late 11th or12th century thought to have been built by Earl Hakon dedicated to St Nicholas. Beside the Round Kirk lie the remains of a great drinking hall or Bu as it is known, used for drinking sessions which were periodically interrupted by trips to the Kirk for prayer. It was here that rivalry between Svein Asleifsson and Svein Breast Rope (as told in The Orkneyinga Sagas) happened, where there was believed to have been arguments about unfair drinking which then resulted in Svein Breast-Ropes death

Wide ForssMoving on we drive to the magnificent view of Damsay where it was believed that Svein Asleifson made his escape to, from the Earls Bu. Damsay is a small flat island in the bay of Firth, according to the Orkneyinga Saga it was the site of a Norse stronghold, Damsay has a number of traditions attached to it, commonly, it is known as a place of pilgrimage.

Maeshowe is our next site of interest, this 5000 year old burial chamber has the largest collection of Viking Runes in Europe. Listen to some of the translations to get a real insight into what the Vikings were like.

Visiting the Brough will depend on the tidal times.

Broch of Gurness

Tour fees include all admission fees to sites of interest and lunch.








Features Summary

This trip is about the Vikings in Orkney. It gives us an idea and glimpse into their harsh lives, their passions and their thirst for adventure.

Trace the Vikings

  • Magnificent St. Magnus cathedral
  • Earls Palace
  • Bishops Place
  • Orphir Round Kirk and Earls Bu
  • View of the Island of Damsay
  • Maeshowe
  • Lunch included
  • All site admissions included

For booking information click here.

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