Orkney & Shetland : Bunkhouses, bothies & hostels

Self catering bunkhouses & hostels
bunkhouses, hostels and bothies on orkney & shetland

This map shows the locations of bunkhouses, bothies and hostels on the Orkney and Shetland Isles.

It includes hostels in Stromness and Kirkwall as well as the Böds on Shetland.

Visit one of the many Orkney or Shetland islands and you will find you become part of island life.

This is especially true when you stay in a hostel, bunkhouse or bothy in a small community.

Visit the ancient sites of Skara Brae, Maeshowe Tomb and the Ring of Brodgar on Orkney.

Or stay in a traditional fishing Böd on Shetland.

Hostels, bunkhouses and bothies provide good value self-catering accommodation for independent travellers, families and groups.

Orkney & Shetland: Hostels, Bunkhouses & Bothies
Click markers to view hostels and bunkhouses

  • Profile picture of Birsay Outdoor Centre

    Birsay Outdoor Centre

    Birsay Hostel in the northwest corner of the Orkney mainland offers comfortable accommodation for up to 26 in 5 bedrooms. An ideal venue for outdoor education trips, weddings, clubs or family gatherings. It has a well equipped kitchen, dining area, drying room, disabled access and all bed linen is provided. There is a campsite in the extensive grounds. Close to spectacular coast, RSPB reserves and the remains of early Christian, Neolithic and Norse settlements. UNESCO heritage sites.

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  • Profile picture of Hoy Centre

    Hoy Centre

    Surrounded by magnificent scenery, the Hoy Centre is ideally situated for a peaceful and relaxing holiday. It's also an ideal venue for outdoor education, weddings, workshops, clubs or family gatherings. Offering high quality, 4* accommodation, the centre has a well equipped kitchen, comfortable lounge & a large dining hall. All rooms are en suite with twin beds and one set of bunks. Hoy is an RSPB reserve comprising 3,500ha of upland heath and cliffs with a large variety of wildlife including arctic hares.

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  • Profile picture of Hamnavoe Hostel

    Hamnavoe Hostel

    Accommodation on the waterfront at Stromness, Orkney, close to the ferry. Single, family and twin rooms with glorious views. Light, airy kitchen and a large dining table with views of the harbour. Lounge with comfortable seating, TV, DVDs and books. Laundry room, WiFi, free long stay car park. Visit the nearby islands of Graemsay and Hoy, check out the World Heritage sites. Relax in the tranquility of island life.

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  • Profile picture of Browns Hostel and Houses

    Browns Hostel and Houses

    Providing nightly or weekly self-catering accommodation in the captivating small town of Stromness, Orkney. Within walking/cycling distance of the ancient Maeshowe, Ring of Brodgar and Skara Brae. Stromness has a museum, art centre, festival, scuba diving, free fishing and ferries from mainland Scotland. Facilities include well equipped kitchens, comfy sitting rooms and beds in single, double, twin, triple and family rooms, all with towels and bedding provided. Computers with internet and WiFi. Cycle storage & free car park up the lane.

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  • Profile picture of Rackwick Hostel

    Rackwick Hostel

    Three Star Rackwick Hostel in Hoy has 2 bedrooms containing 4 beds each (2 bunk beds per room). In the scenic Rackwick Valley in the north of Hoy, the hostel overlooks Rackwick Bay considered one of the most beautiful places in Orkney. There's a small kitchen with a good range of utensils, and a separate dining area. Singles, families and groups are welcome for private room or whole hostel bookings. Car parking and bike storage behind hostel. Walkers and Cyclist Welcome

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  • Profile picture of Gardiesfauld Hostel

    Gardiesfauld Hostel

    Gardiesfauld Hostel is on Unst, the most northerly of the Shetland Isles with spectacular cliffs sculpted by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and secluded, sandy beaches on the east with rocky outcrops where seals and otters appear. On the picturesque shore at Uyeasound, this refurbished hostel has good facilities and a relaxed atmosphere. There is a kitchen, dining room, lounge, conservatory and rooms with en suite facilities as well as a garden when you can pitch a tent or park your caravan.

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  • Profile picture of Chalmersquoy Accommodation

    Chalmersquoy Accommodation

    Chalmersquoy offers four-star quality hostel accommodation and camping in Westray on Orkney, the Queen of the Isles. The barn hostel has an excellent kitchen and lounge. There is a double room, a family room and three twin bunk rooms, all with sea views. Explore the cliffs, beaches and seabirds on the island or visit the Heritage Centre, shops and local crafts. Bar and food available at Pierowall Hotel, 5 mins’ walk away. The famous fish and chip shop is open Wednesday and Saturday evenings.

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  • Profile picture of Ayres Rock Hostel

    Ayres Rock Hostel

    Sanday is the perfect place to take time out, with long stretches of unspoilt sandy beaches, an abundance of birds, seals and other wildlife, glittering seas, clear air and spectacular skies. Those lucky enough to live here enjoy a rare quality of life in a small, friendly and safe community. Enjoy the views over the Holms of Ire from the conservatory in this 4* hostel.

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  • Profile picture of Observatory Hostel

    Observatory Hostel

    On a 34 acre croft managed by the North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory on the most northern isle of Orkney. Adjacent to a shell sand beach visited by seals and unique seaweed-eating sheep. Spectacular bird migrations and outstanding views. Ideal accommodation for those interested in wildlife but welcomes all. The hostel sleeps 10 in three dormitories with a self-catering kitchen. Lounge bar and meals available in the Observatory Guest House.

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  • Profile picture of Orcades Hostel

    Orcades Hostel

    Orcades Hostel in Kirkwall, the capital of Orkney, is an excellent base for exploring the Isles. Accommodation is in doubles, twins, 4 & 6 bedded rooms. Each bedroom has en suite toilet/shower rooms. TVs and all bedding is provided. There is a stylish kitchen, a lounge with DVD & games and WiFi throughout the building. A warm and friendly welcome awaits you at this comfortable 4 star hostel.

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Hostels, Bunkhouses and Bothies in Orkney and Shetland

Visit the Orkney hostels, bunkhouses or bothies on one of the 70 Orkney islands and you will find you become part of island life. This is especially true of the accommodation on the smaller of the Northern Isles, such as North Ronaldsay. Some of the most ancient sites in the UK are on Orkney. The 5000-year-old Skara Brae preserved village, Maeshowe a chambered burial tomb and the Ring of Brodgar stone circle are all close to Stromness. Visit the towns of Kirkwall and Stromness to see pretty little shopping streets, harbours and ports. The smaller Northern Isles can be reached within one day’s travel by ferry from Kirkwall harbour which is served by regular public transport.

Skara Brae ancient village on Orkne

Skara Brae ancient village on Orkney

You may think that Shetland is remote being at the far North of the UK, but the Northern Isles are the hub of a travel network that reaches out to Scotland, Orkney, Shetland, Iceland and Norway. On the Shetland Isles, you can visit the many islands, walk and explore the boundless seascapes. The isolation of the islands has led to the development of unique fauna and flora and the bird life is exceptional. Cultural events on Shetland include the Up Helly Aa Guizers festival of fire in Lerwick which celebrates the burning of a Viking galley with dancing till dawn.

More about the islands that make up Shetland

Where Scotland meets Scandinavia and the North Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean lie the islands of Shetland . They have a rugged beauty and the people are known for the friendliness of their welcome.  Visit Shetland to see wildlife, coastal birdlife and enjoy the community spirit.

Nesbister on shetland

One of the Camping Böds on the Shetland Isles

The largest island, the Mainland, is one of the largest Scottish islands.  Fifteen other inhabited islands make up the archipelago.  The islands have  a rugged coastline and many low, rolling hills.  The early history of the islands was influenced by Scandinavia with many settlers from Norway. The islands did not become part of Scotland until the 15th century.  Fishing, tourism and the oil industry provide Shetland’s income and employment.

Flybe operates from Glasgow, Inverness, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Sumburgh (Shetland). Logan Air flies to and from Fair Isle

More about the Orkney Islands

The Orkney Islands are an archipelago of 70 islands, 20 of them inhabited, lying just north of Caithness. The Pentland Firth, which separates Orkney from mainland Scotland, is just 6.8 miles at its narrowest point. Seals on Isle of Sanday Orkney Seals on Isle of Sanday, one  Orkney’s Northern Isles.

The Orkney islands are generally low-lying with most of the land area being farmed. The soil is surprisingly fertile, which helps support a population of 19,000 and produces beef, cheese, whisky and beer for export. The climate is very temperate, average temperatures are 4 degrees in winter and 12 degrees in summer. Occasional very strong winds account for the absence of trees. Although the islands probably supported trees in the dim and distant past, archaeological evidence suggests they have been without trees for at least 5000 years. Tourism is increasingly important to the economy, with people attracted by the natural environment as well as by cultural aspects: some of the best preserved neolithic remains in Europe, artefacts of World Wars 1 and 2 and the vibrant Orcadian culture of the present day.

Standing Stones of Stenness Standing Stones of Stenness, five miles northeast of Stromness on the mainland of Orkney

The Orkney Islands are a special place for ornithologists and the lesser twitcher, with many RSPB reserves. Visitors to Orkney can look forward to watching Great Skua, Red Throated Divers, Gannets, Arctic Tern, Puffins, Guillemots, Hen Hariers, Merlin, Snipe and Stonechats, to name but a few. Skara Brae is the best preserved Neolithic settlement in Europe and is a UNESCO world heritage site. In addition, there are many other well-preserved Neolithic remains, such as the Ring of Brodgar, the Maeshowe Passage grave and the Standing Stones of Stenness. Scapa Flow is one of the best natural harbours in the world and was the UK’s chief naval base during both world wars. After the Treaty of Versailles, the German Fleet was interned there and eventually the Germans scuttled 51 of their own ships to prevent their use by the British. In 1939 a German U-Boat slipped into Scapa Flow and sank HMS Royal Oak, with the loss of 833 lives, after which Churchill ordered the construction of barriers between the islands, thus controlling entry to the harbour. These barriers now form a series of causeways carrying roads. Scapa Flow is now popular with recreational divers exploring the wrecks, although the wreck of the Royal Oak is a protected war grave. Visitors can reach The Orkney Islands by ferry or plane. Ferries run from Gills Bay, Aberdeen, Scrabster and John O’Groats on the Scottish mainland and from Lerwick, Shetland. The main airport is Kirkwall (Orkney Mainland). Flybe operates from Glasgow, Inverness, Edinburgh, Aberdeen.  Logan Air flies to and from the Orkney Northern Isles.