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Kirkwall Earl's Palace & Bishop's Palace


2021 Update - Earl's Palace & Bishop's Palace is open 1 - 30 Sep, Tues - Thu, 10am - 4pm.

Visits to the Palaces are done by guided tours that commence on the hour.

Visitor numbers are limited so it is wise to pre-book tickets on the Historic Scotland website.

The Bishop's Palace and Earl's Palace are not visits that we would consider to be an essential part of a holiday in Orkney, but they will keep you occupied if you have ~30-45 minutes to kill in Kirkwall. The best feature of a visit to these buildings is the view from the tower of the Bishop's Palace. This involves a climb up a narrow spiral staircase and is not advisable for anyone that suffers from vertigo. At the top of the tower, you step out onto a platform with a surprisingly low barrier as the only safety measure between you and a nasty plunge to street level. If you are OK with heights, you are rewarded with a great view of St Magnus' Cathedral, which is directly opposite.

In summary, enjoyable for the views from Bishop's Palace over the cathedral, but we'd only suggest you do it if you have already bought a Historic Scotland Explorer pass.

Save money on visiting this attraction by buying an Explorer Pass

Read our Travel Blog for more information on the best things to do in Orkney.


Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1PD

Operated by:

Historic Environment Scotland

Opening Hours:

1 April to 30 September, Daily 9.30am to 5.30pm (last entry 30 mins before closing) October - March: Closed


Adult £ 6.00, Senior £ 4.80, Child £ 3.80




Information boards in English


Visitors with limited mobility could access the ground floor of the Earl's Palace, but that is all.






No, located close to Kirkwall town centre so plenty of cafes nearby.

Kirkwall Earl's Palace & Bishop's Palace Features In

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