Welcome to the Orkneys

Mystery shrouds the Orkneys, a small archipelago located off the far north coast of Scotland. Offering some of Europe’s most prized prehistoric remains, plenty of WWII intrigue, a rich Viking heritage and proud Celtic craft tradition make the Orkneys a fascinating journey of discovery. Nature lovers seek the dramatic coast line, some of the freshest and tastiest seafood in the British Isles and the adorable puffin. Along the way we’ll journey on a traditional steam locomotive, visit Scottish castles, seek the Loch Ness monster and explore Edinburgh.

Tour Highlights

  • Explore picturesque Edinburgh and sample their gin
  • Discover the dramatic landscapes and wildlife of the Orkneys in Autumn
  • Embrace the fresh air and rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands
  • Visit some of the most fascinating Neolithic remains in Europe
  • Enjoy a traditional journey on a steam locomotive in the Cairngorms
  • Dates & Prices

    If you are travelling from outside of the UK, please .

    September 17 - September 24, 2017 (8 days)

    Standard Blind Price: £1199 Contact us for availability

    Discounted Sighted Price: £699 Contact us for availability

    The prices shown below are for non-UK travellers and do not include return flights and transfers. If you are travelling from within the UK, please .

    Standard Blind Price: 1199 1199 Contact us for availability

    Discounted Sighted Price: 699 699 Contact us for availability

    Need flights? Click here

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    5000 year old neolithic house remains of Scara Brae
  • Panoramic image of the historic buildings and ornaments of Edinburgh under a clear blue sky

    What's Included

    • 3 & 4 star accommodation
    • All breakfasts
    • 5 dinners
    • Specified excursions
    • Services of local guides
    • Services of a Traveleyes tour manager
  • Excursions

    • Edinburgh walking tour
    • Blair Castle tour
    • Scapa Flow & Italian Chapel visit
    • Neolithic Orkneys guided tour
    • Kirkwall visit
    • Shapinsay Island visit (optional)
    • Edinburgh Gin Distillery tour (optional)
    Viewing the calm blue waters of Loch Ness with the ruins of Urqhart Castle in the foreground

Below is the itinerary for the holiday. Please click each day for more information.

Sunday 17th September

Arrive in Edinburgh and check into our central hotel near Edinburgh Waverley railway station. The afternoon will be yours to enjoy at leisure in Scotland’s capital.

Overnight in Edinburgh.

Monday 18th September

Today we’ll enjoy a walking tour around Edinburgh, hearing tales about the history and intrigue of this national treasure. In the shadow of Arthurs Seat and crowned by Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh is one of Britain’s most beautiful cities. We’ll admire these wonderful sites whilst walking through the Royal Mile.

This afternoon will be free for you to explore at your leisure, you may wish to visit the National Museum of Scotland, the botanical gardens or head to Leith and board the Queen’s beloved Royal Yacht Britannia.

You may wish to join our indulgent optional tour to the Edinburgh Gin Distillery. Describing itself as a hidden wonderland of gin and a playground for the palate, the distillery invites you for an intimate tour of the distillery and exhibition, learning how gin is produced. Then, we’ll have a tutored-tasting of the original Edinburgh Gin as well as one of their famous infusions. Included in the tour is a small bottle of gin to take away for later.

Breakfast included. Overnight in Edinburgh.

Tuesday 19th September

Our grand journey commences as we board our motor coach and head north this morning. Our first visit will be Blair Castle, this grand Scottish estate is the ancestral home to Clan Murray and seat of their chief, the Duke of Atholl. Our tour will be led by a guide who will show us the grand suites and halls of the castle. From the armouries to jewellery, family heirlooms and life below stairs, the castle provides a great impression of Scottish life and history.

We’ll then continue further into Cairngorms National Park, Britain’s largest national park encompassing wild mountain landscapes of heather, tall trees and rare wildlife.

Overnight in Cairngorms National Park. Breakfast and dinner included.

Wednesday 20th September

We continue our journey north this morning with a short break in the charming Highland town of Tain along the way. We shall then reach Gills Bay for an afternoon ferry crossing to St Margaret’s Hope, located on the largest island of the Orkneys, named the Mainland. From here we shall enjoy spectacular views of the Scapa Flow, bridged by the Churchill Barriers to repel German U-boats in WWII. We shall also visit the Italian Chapel, a wonderful piece of Italy constructed by Italian POWs who lived and worked on these islands during WWII.

We’ll continue driving across the Mainland to the small port town of Stromness where we’ll check into our hotel for the next three nights. We’ll take dinner together in our hotel this evening.

Breakfast and dinner included. Overnight in Stromness.

Thursday 21st September

Discover the wonders of the Neolithic Orkneys today with a visit to homes more ancient than the Great Pyramid of Giza and Stone Henge. We’ll visit Skara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar, the Standing Stones of Stennes and the Broch of Gurness. These sites range from ceremonial standing stones of which we can only guess the purpose, to 5000 years old homes which are so well preserved, you can imagine living there yourself. These Neolithic treasures are some of the oldest historical artefacts in the world and a rare glimpse into the life and struggles of some of our earliest ancestors. We’ll also visit Skaill House – the quintessential Orkneys Mansion for a visit. Along the way our tour will also cover some of the island’s most dramatic scenery and keep our fingers crossed for an encounter with the island’s adorable puffins.

During our tour we shall also visit a relic from WWII, the Ness Battery, which once defended the Orkneys and the Royal Navy that was stationed here from enemy attack. The site is much more than a large gun and our guided visit will tell the dramatic importance of the Orkneys during Britain’s finest hour.

Breakfast and dinner included. Overnight in Stromness.

Friday 22nd September

Today our coach shall transfer us between Stromness and Kirkwall, the Orkney’s capital. An atmospheric market town, Kirkwall sits in a wide bay and is crowned by its huge cathedral. Considered as an excellent example of an ancient Norse town, there are many craft and gift shops along the narrow wynds (lanes) offering local wares, you may also wish to explore St Magnus Cathedral and the local museum or sample ale in a distillery.

A short ferry journey across the bay operates throughout the day offering the opportunity to explore the neighbouring island of Shapinsay where you can enjoy a pleasant walk on one of the Orkney’s most peaceful islands.

Breakfast and dinner included. Overnight in Stromness.

Saturday 23rd September

Waking up in the Orkneys we shall journey by ferry from Stromness to Scrabster on the Scottish mainland. We’ll follow Scotland’s gorgeous northern coast, stopping at Smoo Cave along the way before continueing south along coastal roads on the western coast. We’ll take our time to admire the sheer beauty of the Scottish Highlands on our way to the coastal town of Ullapool where we shall check into our hotel and enjoy dinner together this evening.

Breakfast and dinner included. Overnight in Ullapool.

Sunday 24th September

We shall journey inland today, leaving the West coast behind as we return to Edinburgh. Along the way, we’ll have a brief stop in Drumnadrochit which is famous for being home to one of the world’s most famous mysteries, the Loch Ness Monster. Our grand tour of Scotland will then conclude in Edinburgh in the mid afternoon at Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station

Breakfast included.