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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 April – September

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

Tours of the Upper Levels are available for booking – phone 01856 874894 for details. Face coverings may be requested.


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?

We ask you to use the hand sanitiser provided on entering the building. We are supporting the Distance Aware scheme and ask that visitors look out for other visitors and staff members who are displaying the Distance Aware lanyards.

Do I have to book my visit?

There is no requirement to book, but the cathedral may occasionally be closed for weddings or funerals.

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?

There are facilities on-site for you to leave a cash donation, and you can donate online. If you wish to make an online 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