If you’re thinking of booking a holiday this summer what better place to choose than a trip to Orkney!
There is a lot to see and do in Orkney, but we’ve listed seven of our top destinations to visit. The list includes some of Sheila Fleet’s favourite spots, alongside places that have inspired her jewellery collections.
This blog is in collaboration with talented local photographer and media maker, Rachel Eunson, who started her business, Rachel Visual, during lockdown. Rachel is known for her stunning drone photography and videos. Scroll down for more beautiful images of Orkney.
1. Walk along Yesnaby
With her love of the sea, Yesnaby is one of Sheila’s favourite places to visit and one of the most breathtaking areas of coastline in Orkney. Situated on the west coast of the Orkney mainland, this location offers beautiful sea and landscape views.
During a westerly gale, you can expect a wild but stunning sea, with huge waves crashing into the cliffs and an excellent opportunity for some awesome photography shots (if the weather isn’t too bad!).
On a calmer day, Yesnaby is a beautiful spot for a stroll along the cliffs and a great opportunity for bird watching, surrounded by wildflowers. Yesnaby is also one of the locations you can spot the rare primula scotica flower, which inspired Sheila to create her Primula Scotica range.
2. Visit The Standing Stones of Stenness
Originally twelve stones, The Standing Stones of Stenness could be the oldest stone circle in the British Isles. The stones are part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site, a series of domestic and ritual monuments built over 5,000 years ago.
Although there are only four stones remaining, you still get a sense of the scale and importance of the area, with some stones standing around six metres high!
3. Stroll along Dingieshowe Beach
Another of Sheila’s favourite places to visit, and just a short drive from her home and workshop, is Dingieshowe beach. This unique beach has an array of golden sand backed by beautiful dunes, and is a great location to stop and stretch your legs, with a small car park and public toilet also on location. The marram grass found on the sand dunes inspired Sheila’s Wild Grasses collection.
4. Explore the island of Hoy
Hoy, named ‘high island’ by the Vikings, is Orkney’s second largest island and is an amazing landscape to explore. With mountain-like moorland and glacial valleys, the island rises dramatically from the sea and has the highest peak of Orkney, known as Ward Hill.
The island is most famous for the Old Man of Hoy, a sandstone sea stack that stretches out of the surf just south of St John’s Head. You can walk to the Old Man of Hoy from Rackwick, one of Orkney’s most beautiful beaches.
5. Venture to the Brough of Birsay
The Brough of Birsay, a tidal island, is one of Orkney’s most popular sites, and one of Sheila’s favourite places to visit. For only a few hours each day, when the tide is out, a concrete causeway is revealed, allowing people access to the Brough to see its historical remains, dramatic cliffs, and during the summer months, puffins.
The island features the remains of a Pictish settlement as well as Viking buildings. The Brough’s archaeological remains are found as you climb the steps up from the shore.
Sheila’s Birsay Disc collection was inspired by a small lead disc found on the Brough of Birsay.
6. Visit St Magnus Cathedral
This stunning Romanesque cathedral in the centre of Kirkwall is made from striking red and yellow sandstone. One of Orkney’s most iconic buildings, St Magnus Cathedral was founded in 1137, taking around 300 years to complete, and was dedicated to Magnus Erlendsson, Earl of Orkney.
Sheila based her Cathedral collection on three beautiful carvings found on the east wall of St Magnus Cathedral.
7. Discover Orkney's Geology
With Orkney's stunning and unique landscape, you can enjoy open, farmland views for miles. As well as breathtaking panoramic views, the coastline and cliffs are another beautiful factor of Orkney's geology. You can view many striking coastline landscapes in places such as Yesnaby, Marwick, and Hoy, as well as a variety of fantastic beaches.
Inspired by this blog?
If you’re thinking to visit Orkney this summer, you can find out more information on travel, accommodation and things to do in Orkney at Orkney.com. We would highly recommend booking any cafes, restaurants and certain locations you plan on visiting in Orkney within this busy summer season.
If you’re interested in Sheila’s jewellery designs connected to Orkney, you can explore her ‘Inspired by Orkney’ range.