St Magnus Cathedral:Reaching the Heights

St Magnus Cathedral,Orkney still manages to dominate the skyline in Kirkwall despite the rapid growth of the town over recent years.

st magnus cathedral in winter

Construction started in 1137 founded by Earl Rognvald who vowed to build a church of stone

‘so that there be not any more magnificent in the land; and let it be dedicated to Saint Magnus and to it may be brought his relics and with them the Episcopal seat’.St Magnus Cathedral Guide Book

Visiting the cathedral is popular with visitors and locals alike for it is a place of peace and beauty.

But if you want to take a slightly different look at it you could book one of the tours of the upper levels.

St Magnus Cathedral

Looking across from the first level

You know the tour is going to be interesting even before it begins when the first thing you hear from your guide – apart from the words of welcome – is the health and safety talk – and then signing a disclaimer. The tour is only suitable for small numbers of people. It is limited to 6 and you have to be quite mobile. There are a lot of stairs to climb and small passageways to go through. And , of course, you will be very high up. There is also a lower age limit – you must be 12+.

Once you have gone through that and decided it is for you – then and only then will the guide take your payment – £8.60 each. Marita was our excellent guide for the tour which lasted well over an hour. You can find all the booking details here: St Magnus Cathedral

The guided tour is extremely informative but at a relaxed pace so that you do not feel bombarded with information. There are 4 levels to go up and there are points on each where you stop. Once you have reached the top the views across Kirkwall and beyond are astounding.

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This tour is highly recommended .

St Magnus Cathedral view over Kirkwall

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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3 replies »

  1. Thanks for the slide show, Fiona – I’ll never be able to do that tour, so – letting us cronky folk see what’s there, and the views, is a thoughtful thing to do.

    One of those Masons marks, reminds me of the ‘butterfly’ carvings found at the Ness of Brodgar!

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