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“Good food in South Ronaldsay”
Review of Banks of Orkney

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Banks of Orkney
Reviewed July 5, 2013

Up in the Orkneys for a quick holiday in late June, we discovered Skerries Bistro in South Ronaldsay through the local tourist newspaper, and decided to give it a go for dinner. It is literally next door to the Banks Chambered Tomb, (aka "The Tomb of the Otters"), a recently discovered Neolithic burial site.
We had lovely views of the countryside, and the service was spot on, cheerful, efficient and knowledgeable about the local ingredients.I had the mackerel pate with homemade oat cakes as a starter, (lovely), my husband had the sea food platter which he raved about, everything very fresh and tasty. We both had scallops for the main, simply cooked and all the better for it.
At the moment the owners are building a new, ocean facing bistro, which looked nearly finished - then visitors will have the full experience - sea-views, neolithic tomb and fantastic food!

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Gillian B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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8 - 14 of 17 reviews

Reviewed June 3, 2013

I stayed with my partner and dog here for a week, and parents joined for a couple of nights. The barn is very comfy - underfloor heating, comfortable beds, TV, very well equipped kitchen.
Right next door to Skerries Bistro which is a huge bonus - amazing seafood! Great views over the cliffs to Muckle Skerry island. Nice walks down the cliffs/beach - seals and loads of seabirds.
Carole is a helpful host and happy to recommend restaurants etc. Hamish also runs boat trips to the Skerries - great fun, and we saw loads of seals, puffins and assorted sea birds.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank annabelgm84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 8, 2012

Having spent a relaxed hour or more being shown the archaeology on site and then walking the adjacent cliff tops, we took an unscheduled lunch break with Carole in her bistro. We both decided on her fish platter with homemade bread. All the ingredients tasted beautifully subtle, unlike so many platters where some elements are better thasn others!

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank TheJohnsons2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2011

I went up to Orkney in April with my partner and my dad. We came across Skerries Bistro by chance and enjoyed a wonderful lunch in beautiful surroundings. The food was extremley tasty and Carole was very warm and friendly. We noticed that they also had a barn conversion and 2 cottges for holiday lets and they looked so cosy and in the perfect location. Having arrived home after a 1 weeks holiday in Orkney staying in Stromness, my parttner and I decided to return Orkney in June for another holoiday and we had no hesitation in contacting Carole to see if one of the cottages was free at the end of June, we were in luck Sea View Cottage was available. We spent a wonderful week by the Banks of Orkney and enjoyed a couple of meals at Skerries Bistro and I cannot tell you how fantastic the food was, we enjoyed some of the best seafood I have ever tasted. We were so lucky to have the Bistro on our doorstep. Having spent a fantasic week at Sea View Cottage which by the way was very clean and had everything you could wish for, the lovely fresh sheets on the bed and the bed itself was so comfortable. We couldn't resist booking another weeks holiday in August, so for the 3rd time this year we will have visited Skerries Bistro and stayed twice in their accomodation. We were so lucky to book Seal Cottage which is right next door to Sea Vew. It is less than a week until we travel all the way by car and ferry to Orkney again but we know when we get there what a warm welcome we will get from Craole and Hamish and we can't wait to dine again in their Bistro. I am sure Seal cottage will be just as cosy and clean as Sea View Cottage. Hopefully I will be adding another review onto trip advisor when we return all the way back to Midlands after our last week in Orkney this year. We are seriously considering booking accomodation again with Carole and Hamish for next year. We must also mention the wonderful boat trip we went on with Hamish it is just amazing what you will see and experiece. Everyone should visit Skerries Bistro for a light lunch or an evening meal and if possible stay for a week in one of their lovely cottages.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank YvonneStaffordshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2011

We are local Orcadians and decided to try some place new for lunch. We drove down to South Ronaldsay and decided to try Banks of Orkney for a meal. We were not disappointed. The setting was magic; bright and welcoming with lots of windows, plants and pine beams, cute personal decorations, etc. The service was attentive and food was wonderful. We were content just to relax and watch the rain outside, cosy in our environ. We run a B & B and self-catering in Orkney and will definitely recommend to our guests!

Room Tip: Lovely patio with seating outdoors too!
See more room tips
  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank taiter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2010

I can honestly say that this is the hardest review I have written to date, because I simply don't know where to start...it was such a beautiful experience for us. Its so difficult to put our experience into words since it was just so fufilling. My mother, 10-year old son and I absolutley loved being at Banks of Orkney, each for our own reasons. Considering that each of us loved being there, and that each of us is quite particular about what we like, says alot about Banks of Orkney, and of Carole and Hamish.

First of all, Carole and Hamish were absolutely wonderful! Carole was warm, embracing and atttentive, while Hamish really made us laugh. My son and Hamish struck up a friendship, considering they both love to fish. (See photos) Even Micky, Carole's 19-year old cat, made us feel at home as you can see from the photos.

We took the boat out with Hamish to see the puffins on Pentland Skerry. That was the main reason I wanted to go to Orkney in the first place. This was such an incredible experience given that we actually went onto the island and were within feet of the puffins as they perched on the edge of a cliff. It is remote and windy, but absolutely stunning. Again, see the photos. While out on the boat, Hamish showed my son how to fish, which was to simply drop the line and pull up a number of fish on the one line. I couldn't believe how many there were.

We stayed in Banks barn, which was so comfortable and beautiful. Everything we needed to make our one-week stay was there. We really felt completely at home. My mother had her own ensuite downstairs and my son and I shared an ensuite upstairs that had a double and a single bed. The view from our bedroom was the open expanse of the north Atlantic, which was simply breathtaking. As well, we were there for June 20, the longest day of the year and so it never really got completely dark, as it does for us at home in Canada. It was just so cool. And seeing the seals not far away on the beach and seabirds everywhere you looked, made us feel like we really were in another world. It was like living in a big beautiful National Geographic book.

As far as attractions go, we didn't really get to see that much while we were at Banks of Orkney, because we just wanted to stay put and explore the beaches and just soak up the view and relax. There is certainly much to see, but you really do need more than one week to do it in. Groceries in Kirkwall were so very reasonable in price and the quality was great! Beware of the pastry shops and the very low prices, unless you don't have a sweet tooth or your self-discipline is strong.

I will end it there, but believe me, I could go on and on...it was simply heaven, and we can't wait to return....thanks so much Carole and Hamish...you truly make good causes!

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled with family
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4  Thank nammyohorengekyo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 26, 2010

Lovely, comfortable newly refurbished rooms - ideal for a peaceful night's sleep. The Skerries bistro is excellent with lots of local fish that's often come straight out of the sea. The hostess Carole makes you feel really welcome - her partner Hamish catches the fish (and crabs and lobster) and runs fantastic boat-trips out to the nearby islands on a decommisioned lifeboat to see seals, puffins and a multitude of other birds.. Great for a get-away-from-it-all break and in a wonderfully peaceful, secluded and inspiring location.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank AJCG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Banks of Orkney

Address: Cleat Road, KW17 2RW, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Orkney Islands > South Ronaldsay
Amenities:
Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Specialty Lodging in South Ronaldsay
Price Range: $20 - $35 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Banks of Orkney 3*
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Two stone cottages and converted barn with sea views across the Pentland Firth and Mainland Scotland. Each property has been refurbished to a high standard. Properties are let on a self catering basis. Great location for walking, wildlife including seals and birds. ... more   less 

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