Discover our Islands
With its ‘big skies’, magical light, gentle pace of life, abundance of wildlife and numerous archaeological and historic sites, Orkney has lots to offer the visitor, whether for a short weekend break or longer stay. Whenever you choose to visit, Orkney will not disappoint.
In midsummer, you can walk amid the wildflowers and abundant birdlife or play golf at midnight; while in winter you may be lucky enough to witness the ‘Merry Dancers’ (Northern Lights) flickering myriad colours across the sky.
All year round, the spectacular landscapes change constantly with the light – an inspiration to artists, musicians, writers and poets for centuries.
With the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage site just a few miles away from the Foveran, you can explore the islands’ archaeological riches at your own pace. The majestic and intriguing Ring of Brodgar stone circle, the Neolithic village of Skara Brae and many other archaeological sites on the West Mainland are within easy reach. During the summer months, archaeological digs are under way at several important sites, including the Ness of Brodgar, which can be seen from a viewing platform. Further afield, there are digs at the Links of Noltland, Wyre and at Windwick in South Ronaldsay.
Wildlife is abundant, and not just in summer. Seals can be seen basking on rocks and shores, and you may see otters, porpoises or even whales around Orkney’s 800km of coastline.
Many people come for the birds – from acrobatic Arctic terns and skuas to magnificent hen harriers and short-eared owls, often seen quartering fields and moorland on late summer evenings in search of Orkney voles.
There are a number of excellent wildlife locations close to the Foveran, including one of the RSPB’s 13 Orkney nature reserves at Hobbister (close to where the peat for Highland Park whisky is extracted) and just beyond is stunning Waukmill Bay.
Arts & Crafts
For those with an interest in locally made wares, there are a host of art galleries and craft shops and workshops to visit. Leila Thomson, whose tapestry is displayed in the Foveran restaurant, has the excellent Hoxa Tapestry Gallery, while you can visit her sister Sheila Fleet’s jewellery workshop in Tankerness and see pieces being hand-made and enamelled.
There is a Craft Trail highlighting places to visit and buy crafts made in Orkney, in addition to the specialist shops in Kirkwall and Stromness.
If you’re interested in contemporary art, then the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness is a must, with its collection of modern British art and frequent temporary exhibitions. The museums in Stromness and Kirkwall also have collections of paintings by local artists such as Stanley Cursiter, among the fascinating local heritage displays.