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Discover Your Backyard - Rockworks Chalets, Orkney

Updated: Oct 15, 2023

**Disclosure: We were guests for three nights at Rockworks Chalets. Regardless of this, please be advised that all opinions expressed in this blog post are genuine and authentically our own.**

Our last blog post left off in Wick, Scotland, and after two nights in this former Viking settlement, we continued pushing northward in order to gain a better understanding of what travel looks like nowadays in bonnie Scotland.

With no restriction on travel within this area of Scotland and no limit on travel distance, we arrived to Pentland Ferries terminal on Gills Bay at 9:00am. We were greeted and checked in by a very pleasant attendant who provided us a boarding pass, we then queued, drove onboard ‘MV Alfred,’ and in a blink of an eye (one hour, to be exact), we arrived to St. Margaret’s Hope in Orkney. It was smooth sailing.

Rockworks Chalets – Perfect Home Away From Home

Soon after we disembarked, we began our long-awaited research of Orkney for our self-guided tours by following our itinerary. There was no time to waste as the weather was surprisingly cooperative, at least more so than expected. Our three-day Orcadian adventure had begun, and it would get even better once we saw what was in store for us lodging-wise.

Just 7 miles from Orkney’s main town, Kirkwall, Rockworks Chalets sit on the coastline within the quiet, picturesque village of St Mary’s, Holm. Barry and I decided to book a self-catering chalet for three nights for various reasons. First, by having our car, we had the freedom to mobilize throughout the island. We wanted something central to all our research destinations including Pentland Ferries’ terminal at St. Margaret’s Hope, 4 miles away from St. Mary’s, as this is where the ferry docked. Second, we knew there were five newly refurbished self-catering properties at Rockworks Chalets, so everything would be clean and homey. Finally, we were attracted to its peaceful location with a tranquil view over St. Mary’s Bay. Intuitively, we felt this was a great starting point.

Once we arrived onsite at the unpresuming, small pebble-dashed bungalows, we were immediately welcomed by Laura, the manager, who took the time to speak and get to know us. She was very gracious and helpful which set the perfect tone to our stay in chalet #4. Prior to going into the chalet, there was a hand gel sanitizer dispenser on the exterior of the front door. Upon entrance to our home-away-from-home, the chalet had a peaceful energy that was accentuated by the light and natural oak furniture giving it a classic yet modern finish. I loved the airy, clean, and relaxing vibe in the open space, but most importantly, it was well within the Covid legislation thus making me feel really safe and at ease with the family.

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Everything felt and looked brand new. There was a welcome pack with essential information regarding our stay, including the free Wi-Fi password. There was plenty of space for the three of us along with plenty of storage for food and it had a well-equipped kitchen. The living room had a comfortable couch that was perfect to veg on after a long day of island trotting along with a 40” Freeview Smart TV. There were two fairly spacious bedrooms, one with a double bed, and the other with two twin beds. Storage-wise, there were no closets other than a small wall mounted clothes rail in each room, but overall, it was a relatively small detail that we managed to work around.

Both bedrooms shared a large bathroom with a modern shower cubicle (no bathtub included) located off the hallway. Parking-wise, there were individual car spaces outside each chalet. Overall, there was good access with generous parking, and there were laundry rooms with coin-operated washing machines and tumble dryers for each pair of chalets. Due to Covid-19, the washrooms were closed, but the manager stressed for us to contact her if we needed to have access to one.

Throughout our chat, Laura mentioned that five out of the nine Rockworks Chalets, formerly known as the Commodore Chalets, went through a refurbishment phase which are now ready for booking (chalet #4 being one of the five) with a minimum stay of 3 nights. Out of the five newly refurbished chalets, three of them have two bedrooms and the remaining two have one bedroom, which we got to check out. In regard to the pending chalets to be refurbished, all four can be booked with a discount. Besides, the nine self-catering units, there are also self-contained bedroom units with twin or double rooms available, but we did not get the opportunity to visit any of them.

Location-wise, the chalets are in a perfect and peaceful part of the island. They are on the south coast of Orkney Mainland, away from any the hustle and bustle. Besides the serene tranquility and silence experienced at all hours of the day, chalet #4 has a beautiful view over St. Mary’s Bay, the Churchill Barriers and onwards to the iconic Italian Chapel. My favorite time of the day was waking up prior to sunrise, preparing my hot cup of coffee in the spotless kitchen and sitting outside all cozied up on the backdoor steps watching the island slowly wake up.

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Although easy to get to, the chalets are very quiet and relaxing. They are comfortable, and as a self-catering 3-day research base, the chalet proved to be perfect. As previously mentioned, Rockworks Chalets are located in St. Mary’s, a small village in the parish of Holm on Orkney Mainland with a local shop/Post Office and a small play park for younger children. Anyone coming to Orkney by plane or ferry would certainly find these chalets a conveniently central location as they are located on the main bus route between St. Margaret’s Hope and Stromness, via Kirkwall (hourly service), and they are 6 miles from Kirkwall’s airport. We were not bothered with the fact that there are no local facilities such as bars or restaurants nearby for we loved the freedom and flexibility of self-catering. For us that meant either stopping in Kirkwall on our way back from a long day out and buying that what we craved for dinner or eating out wherever we desired.

Rockworks Chalets – A Little Treasure

Orkney is a fantastic place to relax and unwind regardless of what type of adventure you may have in mind when planning your visit there. Barry, Ythan George and I explored many of the islands’ delights, and undoubtedly, Rockworks Chalets was the perfect base for exploring Orkney. Our three-day home-away-from-home was so cozy that our toddler son was sad to leave ‘his casita’ (his house). All in all, it was an excellent trip and one to remember for a long time to come.

*Interested in staying at the Rockworks Chalets? For more information visit Facebook at Ready to book? Check out:

Remember, take the challenge, discover what is in your backyard, whether you live in Scotland, in the other parts of the British Isles or even Europe, venture into the fairy tale land of Bonnie Scotland.

Related Blog Posts

If you are interested in finding out more about the Orkney Islands, please view the Tailor-Made Itineraries posts below:

Comment below and let me know what was your favourite Orkney attraction.

Don’t forget that Tailor-Made Itineraries delights in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting Orkney appeals to you, reach out to me by email. I would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating the wonderful sights of Orkney, or indeed, a general tour of Scotland itself.

Tailor-Made Itineraries posts every two weeks, and you can subscribe to the latest blog and newsletter here. Until then, happy reading and safe travels.


Tailor-Made Itineraries creates one-of-a-kind bespoke self-guided travel itineraries for adventurous and curious travellers.

These self-guided tours deliver a personalised and exciting holiday experience that takes the effort out of trip planning.


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