Orkney & Shetland Islands Escape Independent Holiday

A 6 Day Independent Holiday departing on Tuesdays from Aberdeen.

Holiday Highlights:

  • Orkney’s Magnificent World Heritage
  • Shetland’s Remarkable Archaeology and World-Class Wildlife
  • Warm Island Hospitality
  • Breath-taking Landscapes & Coastal Panoramas
  • Discover Seven Magical Isles
  • Cruise the North Sea
  • Uncover the Ancient Ties that Bind these Islands of Contrast

More detailed information on each day of this holiday can be found in the expandable tabs below.

Travel to Orkney on-board a cruise ferry and check into your comfortable accommodation for two nights.

Meet your Orkney 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 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.

Then, 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 block-ships, 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.

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.

Meet your driver-guide again and depart on your journey through the rich archaeological landscape of Orkney’s West Mainland.

Travel along historic Scapa Flow again and then step off the beaten path at Unstan Tomb, a unique Neolithic hybrid cairn incorporating both a burial chamber and stalls. Allow your imagination to soar as you are transported 5,000 years back in time by your guide.

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.

Later, transfer to the ferry terminal, Kirkwall and embark on the overnight sailing to Lerwick, Shetland. Check into your comfortable cabin for the journey.

Arrive in Lerwick, receive a warm welcome from your Shetland driver-guide and depart for your tour of Shetland’s scenic South Mainland, including a walk across the sand tombolo to the famous St. Ninian’s Isle for a visit to the medieval chapel where the ancient treasure was found.

Continue to the fascinating Croft House Museum to learn about 19th century life on the island. Then, discover the first lighthouse in Shetland at spectacular Sumburgh Head, established by Robert Stevenson in 1821, and walk along the imposing cliffs of Sumburgh Head R.S.P.B. Nature Reserve, home to thousands of seabirds in the summer, including a thriving puffin colony.

Finally, stop at Jarlshof, described as one of the most remarkable archaeological sites ever excavated in the British Isles, and explore the ancient settlements spanning the late Bronze Age through to the Middle Ages.

Return to Lerwick in the late afternoon and check into your comfortable accommodation for the night.

Shetland Wildlife Cruise (14th May to 12 September)

Embark on a spectacular morning wildlife cruise around the Islands of Bressay and Noss with an expert guide. Spot razorbills, guillemots, puffins, gannets and much more at the Noss National Nature Reserve, explore cliffs and caves, and watch for seals, whales, dolphins and otters. View awesome aquatic life, including starfish, crabs, sea urchins, soft corals and jellyfish, with an underwater camera which has been tethered to a mini submarine.

Please Note: This excursion operates weather permitting. On certain occasions we reserve the right to instead arrange a guided walking tour of Lerwick, subject to availability of local guide.

Spend an afternoon in Lerwick at your leisure.

Suggestion: Explore Lerwick, Shetland’s Viking capital. Discover the 18th century Lodberries, historic buildings along Old Lerwick’s harbour front; Fort Charlotte, an 18th century artillery fortress; and the fantastic new Shetland Museum and Archives which will captivate you with the story of Shetland.

Later, transfer to the ferry terminal and embark on the overnight sailing to Aberdeen. Check into a comfortable cabin for the journey.

Arrive in Aberdeen on the overnight ferry. Enjoy breakfast on board before disembarking at Aberdeen Harbour.

Your Orkney & Shetland Independent Holiday Includes:

  • Cruise ferry sailings including 2 overnights in cabin with private facilities
  • Hotel accommodation with private facilities for 2 nights on Orkney Mainland
  • Hotel accommodation with private facilities for 1 night in Shetland
  • Driver-guided small group tours of:
    • Orkney’s West Mainland
    • Orkney’s South Isles & East Mainland
    • Shetland’s South Mainland
  • Shetland Wildlife Cruise
  • Admission to sites as outlined
  • Land transfers
  • Meals:
    • 5 breakfasts including full Scottish and continental options
  • 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.

2021 Prices

From £1,125

Single supplement from £481