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Over 20 of our staffed sites have now reopened and we are delighted to welcome you back. Booking in advance is essential. Find out more and book now



Special arrangements are currently in place at Bishop's and Earl's Palaces, to comply with Scottish Government guidance during the Covid-19 pandemic.

All areas of this site will be open with the exception of the upper levels and tower at Bishop's Palace. Please be sure to follow any safety messaging on site.

Safety measures

  • Our staff have been trained in hygiene and social distancing and have been provided with the necessary PPE
  • Signage is on site to guide visitors, including one way systems and marked areas that are currently closed to visitors
  • We have introduced enhanced cleaning measures to make visitors feel comfortable while visiting
  • In line with Scottish Government legislation and guidance, face coverings are mandatory if you are visiting any indoor/enclosed spaces at our sites including retail and catering areas (subject to some exceptions)

Carers tickets

In line with best practice in the visitor attractions industry and as advised by Capability Scotland, visitors with disabilities are treated on an equal basis with all other visitors and entry is charged at the appropriate admission category rate - Adult/Concession/Child. Proof of disability is not required.

We recognise that some disabled visitors may need help to visit our sites and we offer free entry for accompanying carers, these can be added when making your booking. Please note this is limited to two carers per transaction.


On-street parking is available about 350m away, on Thomas Street.

Approach to site

Entry to the Bishop’s Palace is direct from the street through an iron gate and down some wooden steps.

Both routes to the Earl’s Palace involve steps:

1. The path from Palace Road has 2 steps up and 1 step down, followed by 1 step into the monument.
2. From Watergate there are 3 steps up, a short path and 2 steps down, followed by 1 step into the monument.

Visitor centre

Once within the grounds of the Earl’s Palace, there is step-free access to the visitor centre.


The ground floor of the Bishop’s Palace is mainly on the level and surfaced with gravel.

Access to the first floor of the tower is up wooden steps followed by narrow stone steps (with rope handrail). Currently closed. 

The ground floor of the Earl’s Palace includes the kitchen and an interpretive display. These are reached by 2 wide stone steps.

The first floor includes the great hall and bedchambers and is reached by a wide stone staircase (without handrail). Currently closed.

Access to the second floor is via a narrow stone spiral staircase. Currently closed.


Nearest adapted toilet is at the Kirkwall and St Ola Community Centre, Broad Street, about 120m away.


Assistance dogs are permitted at all our sites and within roofed areas.  

Visitors' dogs are allowed at Bishop's and Earl's Palace, but are not permitted in roofed areas. 

Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times and not left unattended at any time. Owners must pick up after their dogs.

Access Guide

For information on accessibility at more than 80 of our sites download our Access Guide

Historic Scotland

Opening times

The site is now open and we are delighted to welcome you back.

1 Apr to 30 Sept: 
Tues to Sat, 10am to 4pm

Advance booking required.


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