The default level of accommodation on Orkney is good and ranges from characterful older properties converted from their original function to new builds that can occasionally be stylish. There are very few places that could be described as truly high-end, and places that charge top-range prices are usually mid-range (but decent) in standards. The Mainland has a huge amount of accommodation, from hotels to B&Bs and self-catering but, evenso, it is best to book ahead if you’re staying between June and August. On the Outer Isles accommodation is much more limited – something that almost all are trying to address – and you should always ensure you have a bed waiting when you get off the ferry. If you are out on the North Isles and there is a sudden bottleneck – when weather halts the flight and ferries – you will not be left stranded. Someone will always ring around and find you a room.

Prices will generally seem pretty reasonable and not dissimilar to what you would pay on the UK mainland. While most places take credit cards and some can manage online bank transfers, definitely check in advance. Most places stay open all year, though many close around Christmas and New Year. Most places offer discounts for stays of more than a couple of days and all hotels and B&Bs drop their prices over winter and in the shoulder months of March/April and late September/October. You can usually negotiate quite successfully at these times of year.

Many providers on the Mainland and especially on the offshore islands offer evening meals. These can sometimes be dining experiences that verge on the epicurean and better than many restaurants will offer; more often they will be standard but filling fare. Even those providers that don’t formally offer dinner will usually rustle something up if you arrive on a ferry delayed by bad weather.

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