Kirkwall, United Kingdom

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Cruising to Kirkwall, Orkney Islands

Upon first landing in Kirkwall, it's tempting to think this picturesque port town is sleepy and quiet. Take another look, however, and you'll quickly realise that there is an energy that ebbs and flows here. Long rambling paths make up many of its streets, pounded constantly by pilgrims on the Orkney trail in the summer. The warmer months are definitely the time to visit, with the atmosphere alive with music and excited chatter courtesy of the locals.

At the centre of it all is the magnificent St Magnus Cathedral, which takes pride of place in the middle of town. A spectacular red-bricked building of soaring turrets and sloping roofs, it's truly a sight to behold.

Nearby Earl's and Bishop's Palaces are also worth a look since they make up part of the original Old Town - itself one of the best examples in existence of an ancient Norse town.

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