The A963 has always served as a link road in Kirkwall, connecting up all of the other A roads. However, whilst it originally ran from central Kirkwall south towards the ferry pier at Scapa (without quite reaching it), it has now been rerouted around Orkney's capital to form a sort of bypass to the city centre.
It starts on the A965 at Ayre Mills Roundabout to the west of Kirkwall, and heads south along Pickaquoy Road, in a semi-industrial area also home to the local supermarkets, which curves around to the south of the Peedie Sea. The 'other' start is a little further east, at Kiln Corner Roundabout where the A965 and B9054 both terminate. This spur (formerly the main line) heads south past the end of the A960 and A962 to meet the other arm of the A963 at a mini roundabout.
Continuing south, the route follows the largely residential New Scapa Road past the hospital to a new roundabout with tyhe B9148. This is the former route of the A963 down to Scapa, but the road now swings eastwards along the Holm Branch Road to terminate at a T-junction meeting with the A961 a little further along.