Orlando was a contemporary success, both critically and financially, and guaranteed the Woolfs' financial stability. It was generally viewed not just as high literature, but as a gossipy novel about Sackville-West. However, the New York Times review of the book acknowledged the importance of the work as an experiment into new forms of literature.
The work has been the subject of numerous scholarly writings, including detailed treatment in multiple works on Virginia Woolf.[a] An "annotated" edition has been published to facilitate critical reading of the text.
The novel's title has also come to stand in some senses for women's writing generally, as one of the most famous works by a woman author that directly treats the subject of gender.[b] For example, a project at the University of Cambridge on the history of women's writing in the British Isles was named after the book.[c]
A literary critique of Orlando on an onomastic and psychological basis was conducted by the Historian and Italianist Alessio Bologna in his book: Alessio Bologna, L'Orlando ariostesco in Virginia Woolf, in Id., Studi di letteratura "popolare" e onomastica tra Quattro e Cinquecento, Pisa, ETS 2007, pp. 75-85 ("Nominatio. Collana di Studi Onomastici").
The skating party on the Thames was featured in Simple Gifts, a Christmas collection of six animated shorts shown on PBS in 1977.
The 1981 film Freak Orlando, by German artist, writer, and director Ulrike Ottinger, is an adaption of the story, blending it with aspects of Tod Browning's 1931 seminal scifi/ horror film, Freaks.
The novel has been adapted for theatre and film. In 1989 the American director Robert Wilson, and writer Darryl Pinckney collaborated on a theatrical production. A British film adaptation was released in 1992, starring Tilda Swinton as Orlando and Quentin Crisp as Queen Elizabeth I.
A second theatre adaptation of Orlando, by Sarah Ruhl, was first presented by the Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston, Illinois in 1998. It was presented by The Actors' Gang Theater in Los Angeles in 2003. The play premiered Off-Broadway in New York in 2010. It subsequently premiered for the Sydney Theatre Company in Australia at the Sydney Opera House starring Jacqueline McKenzie in the title role.
Orlando appears as a character in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume III: Century.
On November 5, 2019, the BBC News listed Orlando on its list of the 100 most influential novels.