Whatever the time of year, Orkney can be invigorating, thrilling and packed with adventure and intrigue. And that goes for the whole family. The islands are a brilliant holiday destination for all ages, including the youngest of visitors. A safe and natural landscape teeming with heritage, culture, history and wildlife, and a wide range of indoor activities, make Orkney the perfect holiday destination for children whatever the weather. Here are just a few interesting options of what to get up to while you are in Orkney.

Climb, swim and catch a film

The Pickaquoy Centre is the flagship hub of Orkney’s sport and leisure offering. The centre, in Kirkwall, is a one-stop-shop of activities for all ages. For young ones, there is a leisure pool and main pool, soft-play area, climbing wall, bouldering area and the main arena, with its offering of badminton, football and much more. You won’t be short of options when you consider that the centre also has a cinema; squash and racketball courts; café and holiday camps.

A day out at the beach

If it is pristine sandy beaches and crisp clean water you are looking for, then Orkney boasts both in abundance. Unfortunately, we can’t promise you the sun! But in plentiful supply are the hundreds of miles of coastline and white sands that adorn beaches in every corner of the archipelago, each one a treasure trove ready and waiting to be explored.

Showcase your tricks

Visit Scotland’s second-most northerly skatepark! Built in 2005, and having been refurbished since then, the Kirkwall park is the perfect place for young ones with bikes, scooters or skateboards looking to feel the thrill of jumping over jumps and railings.

Explore 5,000-year-old structures

Orkney has some of the most important Neolithic sites in Western Europe. And each one has the ability to captivate even the youngest of visitors. The breadth and variety of offering is unrivalled, meaning that there is something for everyone.

So whether it is crouching through a narrow passageway to see Viking grafitti inside a chambered cairn; getting up close and personal to majestic stone circles, or exploring at your own pace some of the best-preserved villages in europe, there’s plenty to keep children entertained!

And best of all, many of the sites right across the archipelago, including the outer isles, are free — and you can enjoy Orkney’s crisp fresh air at the same time!

Discover fascinating marine life

As well as sandy beaches, Orkney’s rugged and cragged coastlines are perfect for exploring, being home to a whole range of fascinating species such as starfish, limpets, muscles, hermit crabs, sea anemones, and much more. Rockpools are packed full of life, and are perfect for finding out more about some of Orkney’s smallest marine life. The Brough of Birsay and Skaill Beach in the West Mainland are great spots!

Majestic birds in a hide

See majestic wildlife at its very best by visiting the perfect place to witness nature in all its glory in a tranquil haven. There are a number of bird hides dotted around some of the county’s bird-rich wetlands where birds of prey, farmland waders and moorland birds make for fascinating watching and children can see nature close at hand. More information on the hides can be found at rspb.co.uk/days-out/reserves.

Touch an exotic animal

Lemurs, meerkats, racoon dogs and iguanas — get up close and personal with the most exotic creatures to be found in Orkney. Fernvalley Wildlife Centre specialises in creating forever homes for abused, abandoned and surplus animals, with many originating from rainforest environments. Informal, educational animal talks take place on a daily basis, and you can even touch a snake or stroke a lizard in the centre’s meet and greet sessions. Private tours are also available. The centre also boasts a tearoom.

Soft-play the day away

Let your youngsters run of steam by bouncing, climbing, sliding and exploring Orkney’s biggest soft-play area, Play @ Wellpark. For bigger children of up to 12 years, there are three amazing levels to discover. There’s also a baby and toddler area for the little ones. The play area is certified to the highest standards, making it the perfect place to hang out if the weather is not the best. Grown ups can also relax with a café and free Wi-Fi.

Hold an owl, hawk or eagle

Skaill House Falconry is a small and friendly, family run business priding itself on a personal and unique day out for all. Skaill House Falconry is the Northern Isles only bird of prey centre providing a fantastic, interactive, informative and educational fun experience for kids and grown ups alike. Featuring owls, hawks, falcons and crested caracara (also known as the Mexican Eagle) and located in the grounds of Skaill House, a 400-year-old haunted mansion, combine your visit to the falconry with taking a look around Skaill House as well as Skara Brae and the magnificent Skaill Beach.