Looking for some Great British adventure inspiration? You're in the right place. Here you'll get an independent, ad-free lowdown on Britain's top 50 adventure locations - the online yin to the paper yang of our Joyously Busy Great British Adventure Map.
Why Go To Orkney?
Just some of many things you can do there that you can't do anywhere else...
- Get up close and neolithic with Skara Brae, the Dwarfie Stane and the Old Man of Hoy
- Take the world's shortest scheduled flight
- Look south at John O'Groats and mainland Britain, and feel a long way from home (unless you live on Orkney, in which case maybe check out some of the other top 50 locations)
Want to find out more? Read on for great photos, articles, videos, top tips and other content to fire up your adventure appetite. Got a question? Ask away.
Tell Me More
70 islands, of which 20 are inhabited (by Orcadians). Loads of lovely sandy beaches, pre-history galore and legendarily good names for things like Skara Brae, the Dwarfie Stane, the Old Man of Hoy and the Ship of Death. Mostly low-lying islands, except Hoy and its ginormous cliffs. There is also the world's shortest scheduled flight - which has been done in less than a minute - from Westray to Papa Westray. Fine diving at Scapa Flow, thanks in part to all the vessels scuttled there in the last century, but also we'd venture, a little to do with cockney rhyming slang. The advice is clear: just go!
The essential journey on Orkney is a collection of ferry-enabled road trips, making sure you experience the Churchill barriers down south, Hoy, with its huge cliffs, an amusingly-named hamlet (clue further below) and some of the smaller islands to the north.
Getting To Orkney, Maps & Guides
Getting there: NorthLink ferry from Aberdeen (6 hrs) or Scrabster, near Thurso (1.5 hrs). Also ferries from John O’Groats and Gills Bay. Frequent daily flights to Kirkwall from Glasgow (1 hr), Edinburgh (1 hr), Aberdeen (1 hr) and Inverness (1.5 hrs) airports. Flights between Orkney and Shetland 0.5 hr.
Travel times from where you are: See Orkney on Google Maps.
Walking route guidance: WalkingHighlands.
Tourist board: Visit Orkney.
Even More Orkney Adventure Inspiration
Our round-up of great local intel and other good things on the subject of Orkney and adventure...
- Good intro to the Orkneys from NorthLink Ferries
- This from Sidetracked is great - climbing the Long Hope route on St. John's Head
- And here's the film - spectacular (sign up - the first month is free!)
- The BBC's Ramblings podcast has unsurprisingly made it to Hoy
- Here's some blurb about the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage site
The famous 1967 BBC Old Man of Hoy broadcast remembered...
Followed by this - stepping things up a notch, it's the first BASE descent of the Old Man of Hoy...
Click here to see 49 other Great British adventure locations and tell us about your adventures, plans and suggestions for these pages.
Britain's Best Outdoorsy Bits... Mapped!
Liking what you see, but fancy keeping it old school with an actual paper map? Our Joyously Busy Great British Adventure Map features all of Britain's best outdoorsy bits (including the Top 50), plus some enjoyably random and vaguely useful stuff too. Available either as a 2-sided fold-out map or a framed wall map (office furniture and fake plants not included).