Holiday rentals in Kirkwall

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Popular amenities for Kirkwall holiday rentals

Stay near Kirkwall's top sights

Highland Park Distillery19 locals recommend
Kirkwall Hotel10 locals recommend
Saint Magnus Cathedral38 locals recommend
Lidl8 locals recommend
The Orkney Museum10 locals recommend
Helgi's17 locals recommend

Quick stats about holiday rentals in Kirkwall

  • Total rentals

    120 properties

  • Rentals with dedicated workspaces

    20 properties have a dedicated workspace

  • Pet-friendly rentals

    20 properties allow pets

  • Family-friendly rentals

    70 properties are a good fit for families

  • Total number of reviews

    6K reviews

  • Nightly prices starting at

    £40 before taxes and fees

Your guide to Kirkwall

All About Kirkwall

In the Orkney archipelago off the north coast of the Scottish mainland, you’ll find Kirkwall, the islands’ largest town. Independent retail shops, restaurants, and cafes line the main street and a striking Romanesque cathedral rises above the skyline. Main Street meanders south to the harbour, where vibrant-hued boats bob along the quay. Stop in at one of the restaurants and pubs for Orkney crab, fish pies, and other comfort food, which you can enjoy as you watch the local fishing fleet making their way in and out of Kirkwall Bay.

Meander a few blocks west of the buzzing town centre to the Peedie Sea, a natural oasis whose small ponds teem with swans and long-tailed ducks. Ferries depart from the harbour to other islands in the Orkneys, making Kirkwall an ideal jumping-off point for exploring this ruggedly scenic corner of Scotland.

The best time to stay in a holiday rental in Kirkwall

Throughout the year, the temperature in Kirkwall ranges from cool to mild, never getting too hot or too cold. Spring and summer are some of the best times to visit, as they boast the sunniest months, longest days, and most temperate weather, ideal for exploring the island’s outdoor attractions. In May, the town takes part in the renowned Orkney Folk Festival with concerts, dances, and ceilidhs. Between May and August, you may be able to spot nesting puffins in their cliffside burrows.

In autumn months, the weather cools and you’ll start to see a bit more rain. In October, Kirkwall hosts the Reel Orkney Tradfest, which pays tribute to traditional music with concerts, classes, and workshops. Temperatures get chilly in winter, but never below freezing, and the region rarely sees snow. The winter months can be very wet, though, so be sure to bring a waterproof layer and proper shoes.

Top things to do in Kirkwall

St Magnus Cathedral

St Magnus Cathedral is hard to miss in the town. This towering Romanesque cathedral, whose construction began in the 12th century, features a stunning combination of red and yellow sandstone, a Norman arch, and a modern West Window. The cathedral serves as a venue for musical concerts and talks throughout the year.

The Orkney Museum

The Orkney Museum in the centre of Kirkwall traces Orkney’s history from the Stone Age through the Viking era to the present. The museum is in the 16th-century Tankerness House; the Baikie Library and Drawing Room offers insights into how the building once served as a family home. Admission is free, and in addition to its extensive collection of photographs and artefacts the museum hosts exhibitions celebrating local artists and other important figures.

The Earl’s Palace and Bishop’s Palace

In the centre of Kirkwall, near the cathedral, you’ll find the ruins of the Renaissance-style Earl’s Palace. What remains of the 17th-century palace is open for the public to explore. Once you’ve perused the ground level and the Great Hall, which are largely intact Across the street at the medieval Bishop’s Palace, also a ruin, you can ascend the stairs of the Moosie Toor (tower) for sweeping views of the city and the harbour beyond.

Destinations to explore

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  2. United Kingdom
  3. Scotland
  4. Kirkwall