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The Bishop's Palace

Palace Rd., Kirkwall KW15 1PD, Scotland
+44 1856 871918
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Step inside the spectacular ruins of two remarkable residences at the heart of Kirkwall. The medieval Bishop's Palace was built in the 1100s at about the same time as St Magnus Cathedral. King Hakon of Norway died within its walls after an indecisive battle with the Scots at Largs in 1263. In the early 1600s, the Bishop's Palace was incorporated into a refined Renaissance palace commissioned by Earl Patrick Stewart, one of Orkney's most notorious rulers. The Earl's palace was reputedly built using slave labour.
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  • Very good48%
  • Average23%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible0%
Travellers talk about
Palace Rd., Kirkwall KW15 1PD, Scotland
+44 1856 871918
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Reviews (205)
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1 - 10 of 177 reviews

Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Not so well preserved as the other palace but was very interesting and informative. Too tired at the end of our day to climb to the top which is a pity. Next time.

Thank Petrani
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

There was a plaque outside this ruin that described somewhat what had happened here. The building itself did not seem as interesting as the Earl's Palace.

Thank alpoway
Reviewed 20 August 2017 via mobile

Interesting but again would have benefited from an audio tour. It was hard to imagine what it hadbeenlike.

Thank LBW180
Reviewed 19 August 2017

This palace was in a lovely short walk from the downtown area of Kirkwall center. Quiet walk across from St Magnas cathedral, where most of the tourists flock. Beautiful retained palace ruins, easy access, and enough left to visualize life there with help of artists...More

Thank 379linda
Reviewed 15 August 2017 via mobile

It was late in the afternoon when we visited. Our small group was the only people there. It had a serene atmosphere. The view from the top was nice. We had no guide but in each room there was a plaque with a good explanation....More

Thank reise-tanta-di
Reviewed 9 August 2017

Beautiful example of how well the Bishop's lived during this period and the power they had over the population. Nice architecture even in it's "ruins" state. Great place to walk through but be careful of the steep stairs and slippery stones when wet.

Thank fizzy1991
Reviewed 4 August 2017

I would advise people to think about joining Historic Environment Scotland as both the Earls palace & the bishops palace are covered by the membership. In the heart of Kirkwall nest to the cathedral. Dating from the medieval period , it must have been a...More

Thank Peter L
Reviewed 31 July 2017

This is a former old Bishops palace with decent views over Kirkwall, but not really anything else going for it apart from the tower.

Thank WendT3000
Reviewed 30 July 2017

Great view from the top of the Tower but I will be writing to Historic Scotland re the inaccuracies of their site drawings

Thank Scott M
Reviewed 30 July 2017

This is entered with the same ticket as the Earl's Palace across the road. There's not so much to explore here, but it is possible to climb the tower, which gives great views across to St Magnus cathedral.

Thank L3K
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Nearby Attractions
Saint Magnus Cathedral
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The Orkney Museum
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