Orkney Islands Escape Independent Holiday
- Orkney’s Magnificent World Heritage
- Warm Island Hospitality
- Breath-taking Landscapes & Coastal Panoramas
- Discover Seven Magical Isles
- Explore Orkney’s Rich Tapestry of Archaeology, History, Wildlife, Culture, Folklore and Spirituality
More detailed information on each day of this holiday can be found in the expandable tabs below.
Travel to Orkney on-board cruise ferry and check into your comfortable Kirkwall accommodation for five nights.
Meet your driver-guide and depart on your journey through the rich archaeological landscape of Orkney’s West Mainland. Travel along historic Scapa Flow, one of the largest natural harbours in the world and the British Navy's main base during World War I and World War II.
Then, step off the beaten path at Unstan Tomb, a unique Neolithic hybrid cairn incorporating both a burial chamber and stalls, and allow your imagination to soar as you are transported 5,000 years back in time. Continue with visits to the remarkable World Heritage sites of Orkney’s Neolithic Heartland, including Maeshowe, a Neolithic chambered tomb considered one of the finest architectural achievements of prehistoric Europe; the imposing Standing Stones of Stenness, one of the earliest stone circles in Britain, dating back to 3,000 BC; the ceremonial Ring of Brodgar, a magnificent circle of originally more than sixty stones erected over 4,500 years ago; and Skara Brae, truly awe-inspiring and the best-preserved prehistoric village in northern Europe.
For your evening meal, we will reserve a table at a delightful restaurant where you will have the opportunity to sample a true Taste of Orkney. Enjoy our delicious local cuisine, including Orkney’s renowned cheese, beef, lamb, fish and seafood as well as fresh produce, delectable ice cream, and award-winning whisky.
Board the morning ferry departing Kirkwall for its journey along the old Viking sea route to the North Isle of Westray. Receive a warm welcome from your driver-guide upon arrival and take a break for refreshments before departing on your leisurely exploration of the Queen o’ the Orkney Isles.
Enjoy breath-taking seascapes at Noup Head R.S.P.B. nature reserve where the dramatic cliffs, teeming with breeding seabirds, extend for five miles. This reserve is home to Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Fulmars and Kittiwakes. Also discover Noup Head Lighthouse, constructed by David A. Stevenson in 1898 to warn ships off the North Shoal.
Next, stop at the fascinating 16th century Noltland Castle, built by Gilbert Balfour who was appointed Sheriff of Orkney by Mary Queen of Scots. Continue on to Aikerness Craigs, a brilliant location to capture photos of the spectacular cliff scenery and to find the rare Primula Scotica in May and July. Finish your day at the ruined St. Mary's Church, one of the two remaining Middle Ages kirks on the island; and finally Quoygrew, a multi-period rural settlement spanning the Norse, medieval and post-medieval ages.
Board the morning ferry and sail across the Eynhallow Sound to the mysterious Island of Rousay, known as the “Egypt of the North”.
Upon arrival, receive a warm welcome from your driver-guide who will introduce you to the island’s archaeological treasures, including Taversoe Tuick, a rare two-storey chambered tomb dating back to the Stone Age. For those physically able to, tours are made of Midhowe stalled cairn* or the “Great Ship of Death”, the largest known tomb of its kind; and Midhowe Broch*, the remains of a fortified tower and surrounding buildings, dating from 2nd century BC.
* Please note that there is an approximately 1/4 mile descent to/ascent from these sites. Appropriate footwear is required and this excursion is not suitable for guests with reduced mobility. A suitable alternative will be provided if necessary.
Finish the day with a visit to the seal colony at Saviskaill Bay as well as Trumland House's lovely Victorian gardens which have been restored as part of the ongoing renovation of the historic estate.
Meet your driver-guide for your discovery of the delights of Orkney’s South Isles and East Mainland. Begin with a leisurely drive through the scenic landscape of the East Mainland to Mull Head R.S.P.B. nature reserve and enjoy a short walk to the Gloup, a dramatic sea cave.
Travel along historic Scapa Flow, one of the largest natural harbours in the world and the British Navy’s main base during World War I and World War II. Cross the first of the four Churchill Barriers, a series of causeways linking five Orkney Islands together, to the tiny island of Lambholm where you visit the exquisite Italian Chapel. Built by Italian prisoners during World War II, it stands today as a symbol of peace and is one of Orkney's most beloved treasures.
Next, stop in at the Orkney Wine Company and sample their delicious wines made from traditional Scottish recipes with fruit, flowers and vegetables, many of which are grown locally. Continue across the remaining three Churchill Barriers, flanked by the wrecks of the World War I merchant blocks-hips, to the picturesque village of St Margaret's Hope on the Island of South Ronaldsay. Take time to visit the Smiddy Museum and discover the village blacksmith's role in rural communities or to find stunning local arts and crafts at the Workshop & Loft Gallery.
Visit Honeysgeo Beach for views of the seal colony before returning to Kirkwall.
Your Orkney & Shetland Independent Holiday Includes:
- Return cruise ferry sailings to Orkney
- Hotel accommodation with private facilities for 5 nights on Orkney Mainland
- Driver-guided small group tours of:
- Orkney’s West Mainland
- Orkney Island of Westray
- Orkney Island of Rousay
- Orkney’s South Isles & East Mainland
- Admission to sites as outlined
- Inter-island ferry sailings
- Land transfers as outlined
- 5 breakfasts including full Scottish and continental options
- 2 light lunches
- 1 refreshment
- Holiday Concierge Service
- CO2 Offset for travel within the UK (non-refundable)
Excludes meals other than those specified, items of a personal nature, travel insurance, and gratuities.
Single supplement from £518
- Prices quoted are per person and are a guide only. Please contact us for the exact price of your chosen departure date.
- This holiday is independent and unescorted. It is not a group departure and is subject to availability at time of booking.
- Terms & Conditions apply.
- Do you have questions?
They may be answered in our Independent Holidays Frequently Asked Questions.