If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit Orkney (a group of islands north of mainland Scotland) I would highly recommend it. Not only are there great views and world class historical sites there are an abundance of crafters. There seem to be a crazy amount of talented people living in such a small place.
Orkney has it’s own Craft Trail which you can follow to visit the workshops of some the Orkney Crafts Association members and see them in action. Last year I was lucky enough to visit a lot of the stops on the trail. My parents were visiting and Phil was off work so the four of us spent a good part of my birthday checking things out.
For the most part it was easy enough to find each location though some were a bit tricky, oh and make sure the places you really want to visit will be open the day you plan to head out. In some cases you need to call ahead.
We saw some amazing tapestries at the Hoxa Gallery, I would recommend going there even if you don’t do the whole trail. There is a nice café nearby as well as some really nice walks. There is also oodles of amazing jewellery! We were able to see potters at work (amazing stuff as well!) as well as jewellers working away at their benches. We also learned quite a bit about wool and how it is dyed.
There is also the opportunity to purchase directly from the artisans at each stop. If you aren’t able to do the Craft Trail but are in Orkney on holiday there is a pop-up shop throughout the summer and over the Christmas season. Many shops up here (and elsewhere in the UK) stock their items.
You can download the newest Craft Trail guide below.
Again I would highly recommend visiting Orkney, and if you do follow those brown Craft Trail signs!