Bishop's Palace and Earl's Palace
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Closed until 31 Mar 2024

Bishop's Palace and Earl's Palace

Bishop's Palace and Earl's Palace
4
Temporarily closedClosed until Mar 31, 2024
About
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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4.0
310 reviews
Excellent
97
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143
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62
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JorgeKr
Sandefjord, Norway150 contributions
Jul 2023 • Couples
Very nice an d interesting historical site in Kirkwall, easy to get tickets once you're there and perfect view to the Cathedral
Written 29 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jackie C
22 contributions
May 2022
If you like ruins and beautiful surroundings then you will like this. Lots of crows nesting when we were there .
Written 27 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TWal1
Canberra, Australia2,873 contributions
Jun 2022 • Couples
These two palaces are next to each other and across the road from St Magnus’s Cathedral. All three can be visited in a couple of hours. While not as extensive as the Earl’s Palace the Bishop Palace’s ruins are worth viewing. The storyboards explain the history of the Palace and the life and times of when it was in operation. Worth a look.
Written 6 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ken J
2 contributions
Sept 2022
Not just great ruins, but really helpful staff happy to answer questions (at length!). How did something get so ruined so quickly? Two buildings which speak volumes about the history of Kirkwall and the Orkneys.
Written 25 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mike H
Phoenix, AZ2,077 contributions
Aug 2022
I have been through many ruins over the years but this one still has the magic to let you feel what it was like in the day. There are mainly walls and the floor on the second story but this was a large place and was owned by the bishop. These men were not necessarily men of God but rulers of the people that were their subjects. There are visual signs that tell you about the history of the place. Just a small fee to get in.
Written 25 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ElenaLM123
Aberdeen, UK21 contributions
Jul 2022
I visited this place twice, I enjoyed it so much. First time with my family (husband and teenage son who enjoyed their visit as well), the second time on my own. Both palaces are ruins, but you can still see what was where and there are helpful signs that explain the function of each room. The palaces are across the road from each other and opposite St Magnus cathedral in the very centre of Kirkwall. The ruins are beautiful, you can get lots of nice atmospheric photos there. There are stairs in both palaces, so not easily accessible for people with reduced mobility.
Written 13 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ama162606
Grantham, UK52 contributions
Jul 2022
Astonishing example of power. The bishops were something else - they controlled the city and surrounding areas, removing those they disagreed with in bloody conflict - not quite how we think of bishops these days
Written 18 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lyall D
Edinburgh, UK501 contributions
May 2022
Not a lot to see inside. bsically four walls and no roof. Again there are some very informative display boards to read.
Written 18 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PBPG
Yorkshire, UK6,010 contributions
Jul 2022
Not as good as the Earl's palace but seeing as they are next door to each other, they were on the same site but there is now a road separating them. Interesting feature to note is the Watergate, moved to this site in 1877
Written 18 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

macedonboy
Glasgow, UK179,620 contributions
May 2022
Adjacent to the Earl’s Palace is the Bishop’s Palace, former residence of the Bishops of Orkney. Mostly in ruins, the building still has the large rectangular hall and adjoining tower house. Resembling more a castle rather than the Bishop's private residence. The hall seems cavernous, especially as the upper floors have all gone, but it does give a sense of the grandeur of the hall. The upper floors of the tower house remain intact and it’s worthwhile climbing to get a bird's eye view of the hall.

The entrance fee to the Earl’s Palace includes entrance to the Bishop’s Palace, although the latter doesn’t have a ticket office.
Written 3 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Bishop's Palace and Earl's Palace, Kirkwall

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