Visit the Orkney Islands in 2011

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The Independent Travel

The magical Orkney Islands are located off the north coast of Scotland. An archipelago made up of 70 ruggedly beautiful islands and skerries, Orkney is one of the furthest flung provinces of the British Isles, and one of Scotland’s greatest natural wonders.

The largest of the islands is known as ‘Mainland’, and is home to most – but by no means all – of Orkney’s 20,000 residents, though the rest are scattered across a further 16 of the Islands. They’re a place of rare natural beauty – a low-lying, rolling landscape of green fields, moorland heath and craggy lochs, populated by hardy souls and unspoiled wildlife.

Click here, or on the picture to the right, to see more images of Orkney.

Of course, they’re not just achingly pretty outcrops in the North Sea; there’s so much to see and do on the Orkney Islands – and enough for travellers of all tastes. Highlights include:

History & Culture: The Islands are home to several Neolithic sites dating back more than 5,000 years, including the astonishingly well preserved Skara Brae, the magical Ring of Brodgar, and Maeshowe. New sites and archaeological remains – like a 7,500-year-old hazelnut shell – are discovered each year, meaning that the islands really do have history around every corner, and that they’re a must-see for any fan of truly ancient history. Discover more

Nature: With over 500 miles of coastline, the islands are home to millions of breeding seabirds during Spring and Summer. Take a stroll along the cliff tops for some breathtaking birdwatching, take an organised wildlife tour, or head out to sea on a boat trip for your chance to witness seals and passing whales and dolphins. Discover more

Outdoor activities: This is an excellent way to explore the Islands, and there are so many pursuits to choose from. There’s the ever-popular loch fishing, diving in Scapa Flow, walks on the coast, golf, kayaking and climbing – Orkney is an ideal location to get active. Discover more

Arts & Crafts: Orkney is home to many artists working in all sorts of media who are inspired by their beautiful surroundings. Follow the 'craft trail' and see a wide range of disciplines from photography, paint, textiles, pottery, glass, jewellery. Or if you're feeling creative why not take part in a workshop. Discover more

To request a free copy of the 2011 brochure and discover the Orkney Islands for yourself, click here.