St Magnus Cathedral, built from red and yellow sandstone, is of international significance. This ‘fine minster’ took about 300 years to build, the foundations starting in 1137. It was dedicated to Magnus Erlendsson, Earl of Orkney. He shared the earldom with his cousin, Haakon Paulsson, but jealousy and greed culminated in Magnus being martyred on the island of Egilsay. His bones are now interred within a pillar in the cathedral.
Entrance to the cathedral is free.
The Cathedral is open to visitors as follows:
Summer opening – 1 April – 30 September
Monday – Saturday, from 09:00 – 18:00 and Sunday 13:00 – 18:00
Winter opening – 1 October – 31 March
Monday – Saturday, from 09:00 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 17:00
The Cathedral may be closed during these times for wedding or funeral services or for concerts. Notices will be displayed outside the cathedral with information.
St Magnus App
We offer visitors with smart phones or tablets an app providing and audio-visual guide to the Cathedral. The app can be accessed upon entering the Cathedral and offers users an array of digital content including images, videos and audio descriptions about the Cathedral and its contents.
Instructions can be found at the front door or below. Users will need headphones to enjoy the range of content available. Please note that headphones are not provided at the Cathedral.
Connect to the App:
- Go to your Settings
- Click on Wifi
- Click on St Magnus App
- Once connected, go to your browser
- In the address bar, type go.now and enter
You are now connected, plug in your head or earphone and enjoy.
The Society of Friends of St Magnus Cathedral have produced an excellent guide to help you get the most out of your visit. This is available in the Cathedral for a small charge and all the proceeds go to help maintain and develop the Cathedral.
Light a Candle
Visitors are invited to light a candle as part of personal prayer, reflection or while thinking of those they love.
Tours of the upper levels of the Cathedral are available throughout the year and booking is essential. There is a charge for the tours and they must be booked with the Custodian by calling 01856 874894.
The Cathedral Graveyard contains the grave of Dr John Rae, an Orkney born explorer credited with the discovery of a North West passage in Canada. Further information on the Graveyard is available from the cathedral custodian.
Open weekdays April-September 10:00-16:00
The Centre is located on Palace Road, a few minutes walk from the Cathedral. On leaving the Cathedral turn left and then turn left again to walk up the hill.
The volunteers who staff the Centre during the summer months will provide a warm welcome and will be able to offer help with any questions you may have.
A multi-lingual audio-visual presentation of the story of St Magnus and the Cathedral may be viewed free of charge (donations welcome!) at the St Magnus Centre. When planning your visit you may wish to view the film first before visiting the Cathedral since it will enhance your visit.
Teas and Coffees
The St Magnus centre is an excellent place to enjoy light refreshments, connect to WI-FI, and purchase souvenirs including locally made jewellery.