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Picturesque History


Ports and Excursions of Northern Europe

Kirkwall, United Kingdom-port

Kirkwall is the largest town and capital of the Orkney Islands, off the coast of northern mainland Scotland. Kirkwall is one of the most attractive and well-preserved small towns in Scotland. Apart from the main historical buildings, there are many 17th-18th century houses and other structures in the local vernacular style. Kirkwall also has the most northerly of the English speaking world’s Carnegie libraries, which was visited and opened by Andrew Carnegie and his wife in the early years of the 20th century.

View Cruises that visit this port

Below is a list of those shore excursions previously offered in this port. For information on which shore excursions will be offered on a particular cruise, please reference the specific itinerary of that cruise.

Free Excursions

Regent Choice Excursions

  • Light Activity /Walking Light Activity /Walking
  • Seated Tour Seated Tour
  • Moderate Activity/Walking Moderate Activity/Walking
  • Most Active or Strenuous Most Active or Strenuous
  • Minimal Activity Required Minimal Activity Required
  • Regent Choice Regent Choice
  • Meal Meal
  • Evening Tour Evening Tour
  • Balfour Castle On the Island of Shapinsay
    Light Activity /Walking
  • North Orkney Exploration
    Seated Tour
  • Orkney's Archaeological Wonders
    Moderate Activity/Walking
  • South Island Panoramic
    Light Activity /WalkingMinimal Activity Required

Balfour Castle On the Island of Shapinsay

Light Activity /Walking

Duration: 5 hours

Tour Code: KOI-003

Explore the picturesque Balfour Castle in the company of its resident owners during this unique journey to the Island of Shapinsay.

Depart the pier for the brief walk to the ferry terminal, where you will embark a small ferry for the ride to the Island of Shapinsay. Upon your arrival, you will be greeted by the Zawadski Family, resident owners of Balfour Castle and your hosts for the tour. They will then escort you on a pleasant stroll from the harbor, up through the picturesque Balfour Village and onto the grounds of Balfour Castle. Along the way, you will pass by the beautiful woodlands that surround Balfour Castle, and the Victorian walled gardens that still supply the castle with homegrown produce.

Next, the Zawadski's will escort you for a guided tour around Balfour Castle. Built in 1848, the castle still retains its original furniture and furnishings. As part of the tour, you will be treated to an Orkney home-baked tea in the castle before walking back through the gardens, and on to Balfour Village. Here, some time will be made available for you to browse the Smiddy Museum and Village Shop.

Following your visit, you will embark the ferry for the return ride to Kirkwall and be transferred back to the ship.

Please note: This tour includes a significant amount of moderate walking, at times over uneven surfaces. The tour is not available to guests who utilize a wheelchair and not considered suitable for those guests with mobility concerns. Weather conditions may create choppy sea conditions on the ferry so guests who are prone to motion sickness should take the necessary precautions. Warm clothing, sturdy footwear and a rain jacket are recommended. This tour will be conducted solely by foot on the island of Shapinsay as there is no transportation on the island.