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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 Cathedral, Broad Street, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NX.  Telephone: 01856874894.

Opening Times

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Numbers are restricted, and visitors should be prepared to wait for entry if asked to do so. Please limit your visit to 15 minutes. Access is restricted to the nave, crossing, and choir side aisles only and there are no public toilet facilities available. Entry and exit is via the side door and current building work at the West End may mean some noise and disruption.


Is the cathedral fully open?

At present St Magnus Cathedral is open for private prayer and to visitors. Access is restricted to the nave, crossing, and choir side aisles only.

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 physical distancing measures to prevent overcrowding and our staff will be monitoring this closely. We ask you to use the hand sanitiser provided on entering and leaving 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. Seating is spaced to comply with physical distancing guidelines.

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.

How long can I stay?

You should stay for a maximum of 15 minutes.

Do I need to wear a face covering?

Most recent Scottish Government guidance requires face coverings to be worn in museums and places of worship. Please ensure you come prepared with a face covering which will need to be worn for the duration of your visit.

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?

For safety reasons none of our toilets will be open. The nearest public toilets are in St Magnus Lane.

How do I get in and out?

Entry is through the accessible door on the south side of the cathedral i.e. on the right-hand side of the building as you face it from Broad Street. Exit is via the same door but turn left and exit onto Palace Road. Signage will be in place.

Will there be disabled access?

Wheelchair users should exit towards Broad Street and we ask anyone queuing along the side of the building to make space for them to pass safely.

 Can I attend a church service?

Services take place at 11:15 each Sunday. You must give your name, telephone number and email address (if available) for Test and Protect.

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

Will I be asked for my contact details?

Orkney Islands Council is supporting the Scottish Government Test and Protect system, so you should be prepared to give your name and contact phone number when entering the museum. Record slips are available on entry; these are stored in accordance with General Data Protection Regulations and will be destroyed after 21 days.


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