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Bishop's and Earl's Palaces, Kirkwall

Described as the most accomplished piece of Renaissance architecture left in Scotland.

Bishop's and Earl's Palaces, Kirkwall

Located near the spectacular St Magnus Cathedral, these palaces are regarded as two of the finest examples of architecture in Scotland and highlight Orkney’s close Norse and ecclesiastical links.

A particular attraction is the magnificent monumental fireplace in the great hall of the Earl’s Palace, built about 1600.


  • The location – at the heart of ancient Kirkwall, in the shadow of the wonderful St Magnus’s Cathedral.
  • Inside the Bishop’s Palace – imagining the momentous event that took place there in December 1263 when the great King Hakon of Norway died.
  • The frontal façade of the Earl’s Palace – with its array of oriel windows, corbelled turrets and elaborate entrance.

Green Tourism Award - Gold


Region – Orkney
Postcode: KW15 1PD

Opening arrangements

Summer only
1 April - 30 September, Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun, 9.30am - 5.30pm (last entry 5pm)

Admission prices

Adult £4.50, Child £2.70, Concession £3.60

Events at Bishop's and Earl's Palaces, Kirkwall

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1 December 2015

Weaving the Unicorn exhibition

Stirling Castle

Event information