Do you fancy an off-season Orkney holiday for a week or two, or do you only have time for a short break? Either way, the sea coast of West Mainland could well be just what you are looking for. Despite already having many bookings for 2020, we still have availability at Annie's Place over the Shoulder Months from September 2019 to March 2020. Read on and enjoy the off-season photos!

Our self catering accommodation is considered "cool" at any time of year by our guests; though I must hasten to add that they also find it to be warm, cosy and comfortable! We know this from our guests' direct comments to us, the reviews they leave in our Visitor's Book and the online reviews they complete on the Annie's Place Review page after their holiday.

As guests who have stayed off-season have told us, there is plenty to do and see over these weeks, either immediately around Birsay, or within easy travelling distance from Annie's Place. However, if peace, quiet and relaxation is what you prefer at that time of year, then Annie's Place is also an obvious choice for you.

Birsay Bay and the Brough on a calm, spring day.

Spring Calm

Are you wondering what there is to do? The photo above highlights the beauty of the area during daylight hours but many guests who holiday from September to March are often keen to see The Northern Lights. The most recent sighting of these from Birsay was just a few nights ago, at the end of September.  

The Mirrie Dancers

The "Mirrie Dancers" can be seen within a short walking distance from Annie's Place either on our immediate shoreline of Birsay Bay, or by walking along the shore road to the Point o' Buckquoy, with its access at low tide to Brough of Birsay.

If the drama of the lights to the north do not appear for you then there can be a different delight in the skies immediately above. There can be beautiful winter sunsets over Marwick Head and dramatic evening skies.

Winter sunset towards Marwick Head

Sunset 7

Dramatic winter sky

Puffin sky

On a clear, calm night you can gaze up to the thousands of stars glittering above Birsay Bay, where the Milky Way can be viewed with the naked eye and without the interference of urban street lighting.

Walking is a great off-season activity when staying at Annie's Place. Without taking your car you can walk to the Point o' Buckquoy, and across to the Brough of Birsay.

Autumn view of Birsay Bay with Point o' Buckquoy and Brough of Birsay.

Off season Birsay Bay panorama

Or you can continue northwards from the Point, walking along the St Magnus Way to Northside and beyond. Views from these walks are wonderful at any time of the year. On a beautiful, crisp winter's day you can see distant views; south to the Old Man of Hoy and North West to the Westray Lighthouse at Noup Point.

Looking north-west to Westray

St magnus Way looking to Westray

Marwick Head is easily accessible by walking along the footpath which starts south of the burn that runs under the bridge in Palace Village. The walk along the shore path can be spectacular with crashing waves below, seals along the rocky shoreline or swans surfing the waves from February onwards. Once at the top of the magnificent cliffs where seabirds start to arrive in early spring, the Kitchener Memorial with the recently erected cenotaph wall is worth the effort of the climb.

Spring sun over Birsay Bay and Marwick Head

Mystic Birsay Bay

As well as beautiful coastal walks and night time star and light gazing, there are festivals, events and organised activities during these Shoulder Months. These are too many to be listed here, but information about all that is on offer across Orkney is available to peruse at your leisure by clicking on these links: and Visit Scotland

These websites are regularly updated to keep abreast of the changing seasons and it is easy to check out the kind of activities and features which interest you well as some you may not have thought of. 

The Information Centre in Kirkwall also issues monthly, weekly and daily bulletines of "What's On in Orkney" which you can receive by email as regularly as you choose by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you book to stay at Annie's Place, which accomodates up to four guests, we routinely send you the appropriate weekly What's On Bulletin as your holiday approaches. You can book online by clicking on this CHECK AVAILABILITY & BOOK ONLINE link or by clicking on the button at the top of all Annie's Place website pages, including at the top of this Blog page.

View from Annie's Place of Earl's Palace, Birsay on a sunny December day.

Off Season Palace