Earls Palace

Well it's right next door!

Oh my what a sordid history Earls Palace has to tell. Built between 1569 and 1579 this was the home of an illegitimate son of King james V of Scotland. Robert Stewart was a pretentious and oppressive ruler of Orkney at that time.

In it's time it would have been an exceptionally fine building that was as much fortress as residence.

St Magnus Church

Just across the road from Palace Cottage you can visit St Magnus Church.

St Magnus Church was built on the site of the original Christchurch built by Earl Thorfin c1064, St Magnus its self being built in 1664

After the murder of Magnus Erlendson in Egilsay, c. 1116, his body was brought to Thorfinn's Christchurch for burial. Twenty years after his death, Magnus' body was exhumed and his bones were placed in a shrine above the high altar in Christchurch. He was officially declared a saint and a large cathedral was built in Kirkwall to venerate the new saint and his bones were taken and interred there.

Brough of Birsay

A five minute walk takes you to the Brough of Birsay, but check local tide times as you can only cross the causeway at low tide.

The earliest settlement on this Brough of Birsay is thought to have been around the 5th century, perhaps by Christian missionaries but by the 7th century it was Pictish fortress with various artifacts found at the site. The solitary symbol stone found on the Brough of Birsay is probably the best know piece of Pictish art found in Orkney. Originally over 6' tall it was found in fragments during an excavation in 1935. A smaller replica stands on the Brough today.

Marwick Head

Just under four miles from Palace Cottage: Marwick Head (RSPB) is the spring and summer home to many nesting seabirds. The third largest sea bird colony on Orkney, it is a great place for watching guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars. Look carefully and you might spot the occasional Puffin.

Near the top is the Kitchener Memorial unveiled in 1926 in memory of Lord Kitchener and the crew of the HMS Hampshire, sunk in 1916 leaving only 12 survivors.

Barony Mills

A 15 minute walk from Palace Cottage: The present barony Mill was built in 1873 with the adjacent older mills awaiting restoration. Barony Mill is Orkney's last working water powered meal mill.

During the summer the mill is open to the public from 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 5pm, with tours of the mill including demonstrations of the running machinery.

Freshwater Fishing

Brown trout fishing is permitted on the Loch of Boardhouse and boats are available to hire from Barony Hotel, Crook farm and WM Hay at Cursiter Cottage. See Orkney Trout Fishing website for more information.

Various Crafts and Galleries etc.

There are various craft studios and galleries in the immediate area -

Appiehouse Photo-Art Gallery and tea room showing photographs by Pam Farmer describing the 'essence' of Orkney, open daily except Sunday. Visit Pam farmer website.

Fluke Jewellery, marine and wildlife gallery/workshop of Roger & Jo Philby. Roger makes jewellery based on dolphins, whales and other forms of wildlife. Visit Fluke Jewellery website.

Yellowbird Gallery at Chocolate Cottage, Birsay displays paintings and jewellery by Jon Thompson and Lesley Murdoch. Visit the Yellowbird gallery website.

Orkneyinga Silversmiths at Holland Cottage, Marwick is home to Kevin and Liz Allen who design and make fine silver and jewellery. Visit the Orkneying Silversmiths website.

Birsay Bay Tearoom offers full views of Birsay Bay whilst enjoying a good range of teas, coffees, soft drinks and light lunches. Visit the Birsay Bay Tearoom website.