The area to the east and south east of Kirkwall is low-lying fertile farmland - it's cattle country! It is also home to sites of historic interest, sandy beaches and charming villages, with the famous Churchill Barriers taking travellers south to the islands of Burray and South Ronaldsay.
South of Kirkwall, the pace is altogether slower and in the East Mainland visitors will experience their first glimpse of Orkney's famed wildlife. Head for the beaches around Tankerness to view the sea birds and seals, while its loch is a breeding ground for oyster-catchers and lapwings. The road to the peninsula of Deerness holds many mysteries. The site of a Viking parliament can be located at Dingieshowe, while a spectacular cliff track leads intrepid walkers to the Brough of Deerness, the site of a monastery and chapel ruins, and on to Mull Head - a scenic headland, home to a World War One gunnery range, the Covenanters' Memorial Tower and, in the summer months, vast seabird colonies.
Over the Churchill Barriers, the islands of Burray and South Ronaldsay attract visitors en route to two of Orkney's star attractions - the Tomb of the Eagles and the Italian Chapel. Burray has a population of only 350, but with beautiful sandy beaches, stunning views across Scapa Flow and the fascinating Orkney Fossil and Heritage Centre it is a firm favourite with visitors. The man-made causeways linking the islands were built by Italian prisoners of war during World War Two. They were also responsible for the remarkable transformation of two old Nissen huts into the beautiful Italian Chapel at Lamb Holm.
The charming harbour village of St Margaret's Hope on South Ronaldsay is home to a wide range of attractions including an art gallery and craft shop, museum, golf course and an award-winning restaurant. To the south of the island, the Tomb of the Eagles, a Neolithic chambered tomb and Bronze Age site, was discovered by a local farmer in the 1950s. What a find - uncover it for yourself at its excellent Visitor Centre.