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The Bishop's Palace

Palace Rd., Kirkwall KW15 1PD, Scotland
+44 1856 871918
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USD 41.74*
and up
Historic Scotland Explorer Pass
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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 good49%
  • Average22%
  • Poor1%
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Travellers talk about
Palace Rd., Kirkwall KW15 1PD, Scotland
+44 1856 871918
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Reviews (209)
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1 - 10 of 181 reviews

Reviewed 3 weeks ago

If you're not a member of Historic Scotland a small fee will get you into both the Earl's and Bishop's Palace which are located opposite St Magnus Cathedral. We found the Earl's palace the more interesting of the two. The Bishop's Palace dates from the...More

Thank 44AlanS
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

These ruins are in relatively the same location as the Earl's Palace and also very interesting. Definitely both are worth a look.

Thank ntflady
Reviewed 30 September 2017 via mobile

The bishops palace is just a walk away from the earls palace and just one small fee gets you into both. Interesting history and neat St Magnus Cathedral too. Kirkwall is an interesting historical town, lots of parking and several gift shops.

Thank Fiona F
Reviewed 28 September 2017

Opposite the Earl's Palace and included in the price it's difficult to remember which is which! Both are similar ruins and well worth a visit - but not for disabled. A must on a visit to Kirkwall.

Thank John B
Reviewed 10 September 2017 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 25 August 2017

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 10 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
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