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Kirkwall Named Scotland’s Most Beautiful High Street

Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands has been named Scotland’s Most Beautiful High Street having topped a poll of the general public. 

Having received 21% of nearly 5,000 votes, Kirkwall faced off stiff competition from Island town neighbour, Lerwick, who secured 18% of the vote and East Dunbartonshire town, Milgavnie, who came in a close third on 15% of votes cast.

The national competition for Scotland’s Most Beautiful High Street is run by two of Scotland’s most well known organisations for place and the environment – Scotland’s Towns Partnership, the national body for towns in Scotland, and Keep Scotland Beautiful, the environmental charity which campaigns to keep Scotland green, clean and sustainable. 

The online vote took place over a four week period through the Scotland’s Towns Partnership website.

The other shortlisted towns included: Ayr, Innerleithen, Linlithgow, Lanark, and Rothesay.

Speaking about the results, the Chair of the Kirkwall Business Improvement District, Duncan McLean, who made the submission on behalf of the town, said:

“We at Kirkwall BID are delighted that our town has won this very special award. It recognises both the beauty of the town’s historic centre, and the efforts of local individuals, public bodies and voluntary organisations to make the town a wonderful place to live, work and socialise.

“Most importantly, it was the support of our community that won this award, and to know that the people of Kirkwall love and are proud of their town is the best reward of all.”

Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, said:

“This competition is all about recognising the work and effort of local people to make their high streets the best they can be. It’s not just an award for a high street, it’s an award for the people who occupy them. I’ve seen first hand just some of the innovation and forward thinking used in Kirkwall and it is a real demonstration of what can be achieved with creativity and determination.

“I want to warmly congratulate Kirkwall, and all of the worthy towns who were shortlisted. It’s no secret that our high streets have been under pressure for the past few years, but this competition gives us hope for the future. When people come together and take ownership of their places, great things can happen and big challenges can be overcome.”

Katie Murray, Communities and Place Manager at Keep Scotland Beautiful, commented: 

“I would like to offer my congratulations to Kirkwall for being selected as Scotland’s most beautiful high street. This is a fantastic example of how, by working in partnership, significant improvements can be brought forward to improve the town centre experience for residents and visitors alike. 

“Every participant in the competition deserves recognition for the benefits that they are delivering across Scotland – helping everyone to enjoy cleaner, greener and more beautiful communities.”


  1. For media inquiries, contact Gareth Brown, / 07907 520 571
  2. For more information about the Scotland’s Most Beautiful High Street competition, visit: