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St Magnus Cathedral

St Magnus Cathedral

St Magnus Cathedral, started in 1137, is of international significance. Built from local red and yellow sandstone, the cathedral is mostly Romanesque in style.

It is dedicated to St Magnus, Earl of Orkney in the 12th century, at a time when Orkney was part of the Kingdom of Norway. He was killed on the orders of his cousin and rival Hakon, and many miracles were reported after this death. In 1137 Magnus’s nephew Rognvald began construction of the ‘fine minster’ in honour of his saintly uncle; Magnus’s relics remain interred in the pillars of the choir. The cathedral has stood firm against Reformers, Cromwellian troops and wartime danger, and is the most complete medieval cathedral in Scotland.

Video Tour

Contact Us

St Magnus CathedralBroad Street, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NX. Telephone: 01856874894. Email:

Opening Times

There is limited access to St Rognvald’s Chapel at present.

Tours of the Upper Levels are now available for booking – phone 01856 874894 for details. Face coverings must be worn by all participants unless exempt.


Is the cathedral fully open?

St Magnus Cathedral is open for private prayer and to visitors. Access to St Rognvald’s Chapel is limited due to maintenance work, but all other areas are open for visiting.

How can I be sure it is safe to visit?

Our opening hours have been reduced to allow time for regular cleaning. We have introduced measures to prevent overcrowding and our staff will be monitoring this closely. All staff members will be wearing face coverings. We ask you to use the hand sanitiser provided on entering the building.

Are there restrictions on the number of visitors?

There are no restrictions on numbers but cathedral staff retain the right to limit entry if the cathedral gets very busy.

Do I have to book my visit?

We are not asking people to book, but you should be prepared to queue outside if the cathedral is full. If there are more than 10 people waiting, we suggest coming back when the cathedral is less busy. Please queue responsibly, maintaining physical distancing.

Do I need to wear a face covering?

Most recent Scottish Government legislation means that it is no longer mandatory to wear face coverings in public places. However, we would ask that visitors wear a face covering if possible.

Can I light a candle during my visit?

Yes, there is a candle stand in place for the private lighting of small candles.

Will the toilets be open?

Yes, there are toilets available to the public, including an accessible cubicle..

Can I attend a church service?

Services take place at 11:15 each Sunday. There is no need to book.

To access Sunday worship online, please visit the St Magnus Cathedral congregation Facebook page.


Facility is free of charge.

Can I make a donation to cathedral funds?

At present we have no facility to accept cash donations, but you can donate online. If you wish to make a donation, please use the 'Donate Now' button below.

A link to the St Magnus Cathedral Twitter page is available from the 'Related Sites section' of the page.

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Related Sites

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS