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Kirkwall Secures Scotland's Most Beautiful High Street Title 2019

It was announced today that Kirkwall has won the Most Beautiful High Street in Scotland award for 2019.

Duncan McLean, Chair of Kirkwall BID, who entered the town for the award, said he was delighted Orkney’s capital had received the prize. ‘Kirkwall’s win is well-deserved. We have a high street which is not only beautiful, but is also a hub for culture, entertainment and recreation as well as shopping.’

After a shortlisting process based on BID’s submission, there was an online vote open to the public. It was at this stage that Kirkwall emerged victorious over second place Lerwick. The other finalists were Ayr, Innerleithen, Lanark, Linlithgow, Milngavie and Rothesay. The project is organized by Scotland’s Town Partnership and Keep Scotland Beautiful. Entries were judged on factors including horticultural achievement, environmental responsibility, and community participation.

From the beautiful St Magnus Cathedral, museums and other historical sites, to a wide range of locally owned independent retailers and food and drink outlets, Kirkwall has something for everyone. Recent improvements to the road layout and to key buildings, funded by the Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative, also helped win the award. Along with the hanging baskets provided by local businesses and the Kirkwall & St Ola Community Council, Kirkwall BID keeps the heart in Kirkwall by providing benches, planters, bunting and of course the fabulous array of winter lights around the town

Meeting the criteria of the judges, the large use of electrical vehicles and the charging points around Kirkwall were seen as a big win. The sense of community around Kirkwall’s high street is strengthened year on year with BID events such as the Halloween Parade, the Easter Egg Hunt and this year’s popular Big BID Day out which featured a full-size vintage Victorian Carousel free to the public all weekend. These events aim to bring people into Kirkwall, to eat, drink, shop and socialise. Kirkwall BID continue to develop and promote ideas for the town.

Kirkwall BID Manager, Kelly Kirkness said she was very proud to work for her home town. ‘Working with Kirkwall BID is a varied and exciting role. Often when I’m out around the town meeting BID Members I snap a few photos on my phone, as you’re never far from a photo opportunity. I feel so lucky to be doing a job I’m passionate about in such a beautiful place.’

The next event in Kirkwall is the Festive Day Out this Sunday, 1st December, which also sees the launch of the new Kirkwall Gift Card scheme. More information is available online and on social media.


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This project was part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Orkney Leader 2007-13 Programme.