Skara Brae is a stone built Neolithic settlement located at the Bay of Skaill. It consists of 8 clustered houses and was occupied from 3180BC - 2500BC.

The Brough of Birsay is an uninhabited tidal island off the north west coast of the Mainland. The earliest settlement was in the 6th Century by Christian missionaries. In the background is the Loch of Boardhouse where the Barony Hotel is situated on the shoreline.

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village overlooking Eynhallow Sound. Settlement began somewhere between 500 and 200BC and lasted until 100AD when it was abandoned and the ditches filled in. The site continued to be used until the 8th century.

Kitchener's Memorial is a crenellated tower built by public subscription in 1926 to honour the memory of Lord Kitchener. He along with 554 officers and men died when HMS Hampshire sank off the Marwick coast on 5th June 1916.

The Ring of Brodgar is a Neolithic henge and stone circle 104m in diameter and is the 3rd largest in Britain. It is thought to have been erected between 2500BC and 2000BC.

The Loch of Swannay is one of a number of lochs on Mainland Orkney. As the most northern loch on the island, a good choice if you want to explore. You might want to stay in one of the hotels near Swannay Loch so that you can be closeby and easily access everything that the area has to offer. From fishing to walking and birdwatching, there are several ways to enjoy the beautiful nature and the surrounding parish of Birsay. Take a look at these fun things to do around the Loch of Swannay on your next visit to Orkney.


There are several excellent spots for fishing on the island, particularly if you want to go fishing for brown trout. Swannay Loch is a beautiful location, and there are other lochs nearby if you want to explore farther afield. Some hotels near Swannay Loch will help you out with boat hire and even fishing gear if you need it. Fishing is the ideal pastime if you're looking for a relaxing activity with a few bouts of excitement too.

Fine Dining

If catching your own dinner isn't for you, you can easily sit down and have a delicious meal served to you instead. You might find that your hotel offers fine dining options, so you don't have to go far to satisfy your hunger. The Barony Hotel close to Boardhouse Loch has a lounge bar with an extensive evening menu. Naturally, you can enjoy plenty of fish and seafood, and beef is also produced locally. You're not limited in your choices, however. Even within this small area, you can find everything from traditional tea rooms to Thai food.


Walking is a fantastic activity to choose while on Orkney. Birsay is a beautiful area for walking, whether you want to go for a short stroll or take on something more challenging. There are walking routes to enjoy along the cliffs, and at low tide, it is possible to walk across to the Brough of Birsay, where you will find Pictish and Norse settlement remains, as well as a modern lighthouse.


There are many opportunities for birdwatching on Mainland Orkney, and the area around Swannay Loch is a great place for it. Some birds that are rarely seen in this part of the world can even be spotted, such as the Common Crane. There are plenty of water birds to observe, and the local bird reserves ensure that the birds in the area are protected. Cliffside walks are ideal for spotting birds too.

Hotels Near Swannay Loch

If you want to stay near Swannay Loch, The Barony Hotel is only a ten minute drive away. With affordable rooms, breakfast provided and fine dining on-site for evening meals too, it's a comfortable and cosy place from which to base your stay. At only £45 a night for bed and breakfast, it's one of the best value stays you can find in the area. Other parts of the island are easily reachable, including two other lochs nearby.