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 parish of Birsay lies in the west of Mainland Orkney. It's an excellent area to choose if you're looking for history, nature, and an active holiday too. With some beautiful coastal paths to explore, several lochs, and plenty of stunning scenery and wildlife, it's a great place to explore on foot or perhaps by bike. Visitors to the area will find fascinating attractions, fun activities, welcoming places to eat and drink, and cosy places to stay too. Keep reading to find out how you can make the best of Birsay.

Where to Stay

If you're looking for the perfect place to stay, the hotels near Boardhouse Loch give you some excellent choices. The Barony Hotel offers bed at breakfast at an affordable price all year, offering a comfortable place to stay on the shores of the loch. Nearby, you will find three bird reserves, archaeological sites, and great locations for trout fishing. When deciding where to stay in Birsay, consider what facilities you would like to have access to. Location is important too, and you should also check that the right room types are available.


Birsay has some fun and interesting attractions for visitors of all kinds. If you're looking for a day out or just something to do for an hour or two, a diverse range of things is on offer. Try the Orkney Crafts Association if you want to see some local arts and crafts, or perhaps the Yellowbird Gallery for more artwork. Kirbuster Museum is the last unrestored traditional 'firehoose' in Northern Europe; you can find an Edwardian parlour and Victorian Gardens on site and see some farming memorabilia. The ruins of the 16th-century Earl's Palace are worth a visit too.


If you're looking for activities to participate in, Birsay offers a great choice of outdoor activities. Nature lovers and active holidaymakers will both find some fun and fascinating things to do. There are bird reserves and natural spots, where wildlife can be observed. Walking and cycling routes are easily accessible and, at low tide, you can work out to the Brough of Birsay too. Boat hire is easily on the lochs, whether you want to go fishing or you just want to get out on the water.

Eating and Drinking

Everyone wants to make sure that they can eat well during their holiday, especially if they will be active all day. As one of the top hotels near Boardhouse Loch, The Barony Hotel provides both breakfast for guests and evening meals in the lounge bar. Other options for food and drink include the Birsay Bay Tea Room, where you can enjoy drinks, snacks, lunches and afternoon tea.

Book Your Stay at The Barony Hotel

Choose The Barony Hotel for your stay in Birsay if you're looking for a cosy and welcoming place. Conveniently placed on the shores of Boardhouse Loch, our family-run hotel provides everything you need for a comfortable stay. Affordable bed and breakfast accommodation comes with the option of eating dinner with us too, and we can even help to arrange boat hire.