7 Unusual Things To Do In Orkney Uk – 2024 Ultimate Guide


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Orkney, UK, is a destination brimming with unique and offbeat experiences for travelers seeking something out of the ordinary. From ancient archaeological sites to stunning natural landscapes, there are plenty of unusual things to do in Orkney UK that will leave you in awe. Explore the mysterious standing stones of the Ring of Brodgar, wander through the underground passages of the Maeshowe chambered tomb, or marvel at the intricate carvings in the Neolithic village of Skara Brae. For a truly unconventional adventure, why not try your hand at traditional Orkney crafts like straw plaiting or visit the quirky Italian Chapel, a beautifully decorated chapel built by Italian prisoners of war during World War II. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or simply looking for a one-of-a-kind experience, Orkney has something special in store for you.

Visit the Italian Chapel

Essential Information

– Address: Lamb Holm, Orkney, KW17 2RT, UK
– Opening Hours: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM daily
– Fee: Free admission, donations appreciated
– Visit Duration: Approximately 1 hour
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts, art lovers, cultural explorers

Why is it so unusual

The Italian Chapel in Orkney, UK, stands out as a unique and remarkable attraction for several reasons. Constructed during World War II by Italian prisoners of war, this chapel holds a fascinating history that sets it apart from traditional tourist sites.

What makes the Italian Chapel truly unusual is the fact that it was built using limited resources and under challenging circumstances. The prisoners, with their creativity and determination, transformed two Nissen huts into a stunning place of worship. The intricate and beautiful interior decorations, including painted frescoes and sculptures, showcase the prisoners’ exceptional craftsmanship and artistic talents.

Visitors to the Italian Chapel can witness firsthand the incredible fusion of Italian artistry and wartime resilience. The chapel’s ornate designs and peaceful ambiance offer a stark contrast to its wartime origins, making it a poignant reminder of the human spirit’s ability to create beauty even in the midst of adversity.

Exploring the Italian Chapel provides a unique opportunity to delve into a lesser-known aspect of history and appreciate the enduring legacy of those who sought solace and inspiration through art during challenging times. This extraordinary blend of history, art, and human ingenuity makes the Italian Chapel a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a truly unusual and enriching experience.

Explore the Tomb of the Eagles

Essential Information

– Address: Liddle, South Ronaldsay, Orkney, KW17 2RW, UK
– Opening Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM (April – September)
– Fee: £7 per adult
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts and adventure seekers

Why is it so unusual

Nestled on the rugged coast of Orkney, the Tomb of the Eagles stands out as a truly unique attraction. What sets this ancient site apart is its intriguing ritual of placing human remains alongside the bones of these majestic birds. As you step into the tomb, you’ll be greeted by the eerie sight of over 300 human skulls and bones, carefully arranged next to the talons and beaks of these magnificent creatures.

Visitors have the rare opportunity to handle these ancient artifacts, feeling a connection to the past unlike any other. The experience of holding a centuries-old skull in one hand and a powerful eagle’s talon in the other is both humbling and awe-inspiring. It’s a chance to delve into the mysteries of our ancestors and the relationship they shared with these formidable birds of prey.

For those seeking a more adventurous experience, the Tomb of the Eagles offers the opportunity to crawl through a narrow passageway to access the inner chamber. This thrilling journey provides a glimpse into the ancient burial practices of the Neolithic people who once inhabited this land. As you emerge from the darkness into the light, you’ll be left with a sense of wonder at the ingenuity and reverence of those who came before us.

In conclusion, the Tomb of the Eagles offers a truly unusual and captivating experience for those willing to explore its depths. It’s a place where history and nature intertwine, inviting visitors to step back in time and witness the ancient rituals of a bygone era.

Discover the Dwarfie Stane

Essential Information

– Address: A960, Hoy, Orkney KW16 3NJ, United Kingdom
– Opening Hours: Daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
– Fee: Free entry
– Visit Duration: Approximately 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers

Why is it so unusual

The Dwarfie Stane in Orkney, UK, stands out as a truly unique tourist attraction due to its fascinating historical significance and mysterious origins. Carved out of a massive sandstone block, this ancient megalithic structure is unlike any other in the region. What sets the Dwarfie Stane apart is the fact that it is the only known example of a Neolithic rock-cut tomb in Orkney, dating back over 5,000 years.

Visitors to the Dwarfie Stane can explore the interior chambers that were painstakingly chiseled out of solid rock by our ancient ancestors. The sheer size and complexity of this undertaking make it a remarkable feat of engineering for its time. As you step inside the dimly lit chambers, you can’t help but marvel at the skill and dedication required to create such a monument without the use of modern tools.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the Dwarfie Stane is the mystery surrounding its purpose. Archaeologists and historians have long debated the reasons behind its construction, with theories ranging from a burial site to a sacred ritual space. The enigmatic aura that surrounds the Dwarfie Stane only adds to its allure, making it a must-visit for those intrigued by ancient mysteries.

In addition to its historical significance, the Dwarfie Stane also offers stunning views of the surrounding Orkney landscape. Situated amidst rugged moorland and rolling hills, this ancient monument provides a peaceful retreat for those seeking a moment of solitude in nature. Whether you’re a history buff or simply appreciate the beauty of the great outdoors, a visit to the Dwarfie Stane is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Walk the Brough of Birsay causeway

Essential Information

– Address: Birsay, Orkney, UK
– Opening hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset
– Fee: Free entry
– Visit duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, history enthusiasts

Why is it so unusual

The Brough of Birsay causeway offers a unique experience for visitors exploring Orkney. What sets this attraction apart is the opportunity to walk across a natural land bridge that connects the mainland to the tidal island of Birsay. As the tide ebbs and flows, the causeway emerges and disappears, creating a dynamic and ever-changing landscape.

Once you step foot on the causeway, you are transported to a world where history and nature converge. The rugged coastal scenery provides a dramatic backdrop for your walk, with sweeping views of the North Sea and the surrounding cliffs. Keep an eye out for seabirds soaring overhead and seals basking on the rocks below.

As you make your way across the causeway, you’ll encounter ancient ruins and archaeological sites that speak to the island’s rich history. Explore the remains of a Norse settlement, a medieval church, and a Pictish symbol stone, each offering a glimpse into the past.

For those seeking a bit of adventure, the causeway presents a thrilling challenge as you navigate the changing tides and slippery rocks. Be sure to check the tide times before setting out and plan your visit accordingly to avoid getting stranded on the island.

Walking the Brough of Birsay causeway is a truly unusual experience that combines natural beauty, history, and a sense of exploration. Whether you’re drawn to the rugged coastline, the ancient ruins, or the thrill of crossing a tidal land bridge, this unique attraction is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who visit.

Climb the Old Man of Hoy

Essential Information

– Address: Old Man of Hoy, Orkney, UK
– Opening Hours: Dependent on weather conditions
– Fee: Varies depending on guide services
– Visit Duration: Approximately 6-8 hours
– Ideal for: Adventure seekers and experienced climbers

Why is it so unusual

The Old Man of Hoy stands as a rugged sea stack off the coast of Orkney, UK, attracting thrill-seekers and climbers from around the world. What makes this towering pillar of red sandstone so unique is the challenging ascent it offers. Climbing the Old Man of Hoy is not for the faint-hearted; it requires a high level of skill, experience, and courage.

The sheer verticality of the stack, rising dramatically from the sea, presents a formidable challenge to even the most seasoned climbers. The exposure to the elements adds an element of unpredictability, with weather conditions often changing rapidly. This dynamic environment demands adaptability and quick decision-making from climbers.

As you ascend the Old Man of Hoy, you’ll encounter a series of technical climbing moves, including crack climbing, chimneying, and delicate footwork on the weathered rock face. The sense of accomplishment when reaching the summit is unparalleled, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding seascape and rugged coastline.

Climbing the Old Man of Hoy is a test of physical and mental strength, pushing climbers to their limits in a truly wild and untamed setting. It’s an experience that will leave a lasting impression, showcasing the raw beauty and unforgiving nature of this iconic sea stack.

Visit the Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre

Essential Information

– Address: Burray, Orkney, UK
– Opening Hours: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Monday to Saturday
– Fee: £5 for adults, £3 for children
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History and fossil enthusiasts

Why is it so unusual

The Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre stands out as a unique tourist attraction due to its fascinating collection of ancient fossils and artifacts. Visitors can explore the rich history of Orkney through a variety of unusual activities that make this centre a must-visit destination.

One of the standout features of the centre is the opportunity to participate in fossil hunting expeditions along the rugged Orkney coastline. Visitors can join expert guides to search for prehistoric treasures hidden within the rocks, providing a hands-on experience unlike any other.

For those interested in archaeology, the centre offers a rare chance to handle and examine genuine Neolithic artifacts discovered in Orkney. From ancient tools to pottery fragments, these relics offer a glimpse into the lives of the people who inhabited the islands thousands of years ago.

Visitors can also try their hand at traditional crafts such as flint knapping and pottery making, allowing them to connect with the skills and techniques of Orkney’s early inhabitants. Additionally, the centre hosts interactive workshops where guests can learn about the geological processes that shaped the landscape and discover how fossils are formed.

Overall, the Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre provides a truly unique experience for those seeking to delve into the ancient history of this captivating island chain. With its hands-on activities and rare artifacts, this attraction offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore the fascinating world of Orkney’s past.

Explore the Orkney Wireless Museum

Essential Information

– Address: Junction Road, Kirkwall, Orkney, UK
– Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm
– Fee: £5 for adults, £3 for children
– Visit Duration: Approximately 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts, technology buffs

Why is it so unusual

The Orkney Wireless Museum stands out as a unique tourist attraction in Orkney, UK, due to its fascinating collection of vintage wireless communication devices. Unlike traditional museums, this hidden gem offers visitors a glimpse into the evolution of wireless technology through a series of hands-on experiences and interactive displays.

Upon entering the museum, guests are greeted by a diverse array of antique radios, telegraphs, and telephones dating back to the early 20th century. Visitors can marvel at the intricate craftsmanship of these historical artifacts and gain a deeper appreciation for the ingenuity of early communication pioneers.

One of the standout features of the Orkney Wireless Museum is the opportunity to participate in live demonstrations of Morse code communication. Guests can try their hand at tapping out messages using authentic telegraph equipment, providing a truly immersive experience that transports them back in time.

In addition to exploring the museum’s extensive collection, visitors can engage with knowledgeable staff members who are passionate about sharing the stories behind each exhibit. From tales of wartime communication to the impact of wireless technology on remote communities, the museum offers a wealth of educational insights for curious minds.

For those seeking a break from the ordinary tourist attractions, the Orkney Wireless Museum provides a refreshing and enlightening experience that celebrates the history of communication technology in a captivating way. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about the evolution of wireless devices, this offbeat museum is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who visit.

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