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Orkney Islands
Orkney Islands

Orkney Islands

The Basics

The Orkney Isles showcase a side of Scotland few visitors ever get to see. Travelers can visit on guided day trips from John O’Groats, which typically include boat travel to Burwick and transport via the Churchill Barriers, a network of causeways that link the Orkney Mainland (the biggest island in the archipelago) to four other smaller islands to the south. Travelers can also see the islands as part of multi-day tours from Edinburgh that cover highlights of the Scottish Highlands too. Most guided Orkney tours will include a stop at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Skara Brae, a prehistoric stone settlement that’s older than the Egyptian pyramids, and the Lamb Holm Italian Chapel, which was constructed by Italian prisoners of war during World War II.

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Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
star-4.5
$110.00 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Had a fantastic time,...
Had a fantastic time, made all the better with our bus driver Darren, was so knowledgeable about the local history and very entertaining ( especially with his jokes) would recommend this trip to anyone.
Margaret_R, Sep 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in Scrabster

star-5
A perfect day out
Diane_H, Sep 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
Loved the knowledge of the driver, Stewart. Favourite part was The Italian Cathedral. Orkney is a beautiful place, extremely clean and very friendly
star-5
Orkney maxi day trip
Sally_B, Sep 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
Driver was very good and informative, saw lots Pleased we did the trip Coach clean and comfy We had enough time at each stop for us to see what we needed to
star-4
Road trip to Orkney
Mary, Sep 2021
5-Day Orkney & Scotland's Northern Coast Small-Group Tour from Edinburgh
Tour and Guide, Keith were excellent. Only reason one star was kept back was accommodation. Hotel in Inverness was of a good standard, but we were locked out, the key not working and no-one answered the emergency number. A customer had to let us in. Hotel in Kirkwall was very good. Hotel in Ullapool was very tired with black mould on the bathroom tiles, broken toilet seat and broken bath panel. Not what we would expect. All in all the trip was very good and we could not fault the actual trip.
star-5
The timings were very...
Laura_H, Sep 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
The timings were very accurate, the trip went exactly 💯 to itinerary. Our driver was brilliant with information and his knowledge of the islands history and historical detail. He was extremely pleasant, we enjoyed his banter.
star-5
A great trip- well worth the money
Jenny_K, Aug 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
A great day and well worth the money. Our guide, Stuart was incredible. He made the trip for us. He was knowledgeable and easily kept us engaged for the whole day. It’s a long day but if you get a guide like Stuart it will be enjoyable and you will come away feeling like you have a much better understanding of the Orkney islands and the history there.
star-5
Great day out
Nicola_B, Sep 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
Stuart was an exceptional guide - really fascinating to listen to. Loved his insight into life on the islands and great to see local celebrity pigs! Plus all the history of which Orkney is absolutely full
star-5
Interesting day trip
Shirley_G, Sep 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
Very informative driver/tour guide (Darren). Enjoyed Kirkwall not so much Stromness. Enjoyed hearing about and seeing the historical sites.
star-5
Brilliant
Wayne_B, Sep 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
Day tip to orkney was amazing.stuart the coach driver was a wealth of knowledge. Highly recomended. Take warm clothes for the ferry crossing.
star-5
This tour was just wonderful, nine...
Nanny of the Wetwipes, Sep 2014
3-Day Orkney Islands Tour from Inverness
This tour was just wonderful, nine of us on the mini van. Mark the guide was most knowledgeable and helpful. I would recommend this tour to anyone wanting to visit the Orkneys. We elected to stay at a hotel and it was good, very clean and wonderful food.
star-5
Great way to see Orkney
stuart_m, Jul 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
We had a fantastic visit to the Orkney Islands, our tour guide Stuart was fantastic and full of local knowledge. It was very well organised and would thoroughly recommend.
star-5
Orkney and Beyond
Gloria_Bryce, Oct 2021
5-Day Orkney & Scotland's Northern Coast Small-Group Tour from Edinburgh
We had an outstanding trip to Orkney and Northern Scotland with Robbie Tours. Our guide and driver, Jodie, has excellent knowledge of the area and a more than thorough understanding of Scottish history. She kept us informed and entertained with stories and legends as well as injecting much humour along the way. She was very helpful in suggesting places to eat in all the cities and towns that we visited. She was very conscious of keeping the tour punctual but giving us plenty of time to explore all the stops on the tour. We highly recommend this tour.
star-5
Easy to organise, good...
Graham_S, Sep 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
Easy to organise, good price, comfortable transport, knowledgeable guide/driver and humorous, see all the highlights, reccomended food stops.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Guided day tours from John O’Groats generally last upwards of 10 hours.

  • Bring layers that provide protection from the archipelago’s near-constant wind.

  • Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

  • Keep an eye out for the island’s incredible fauna and flora, including the delicate and rare Scottish primrose.

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How to Get There

Direct flights to Kirkwall run from the Scottish mainland cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Inverness. NorthLink Ferries operate services from Scrabster to Stromness on Mainland Orkney (90 minutes), and from Aberdeen to Kirkwall on Mainland Orkney (six hours). Pentland Ferries run a route from Gills Bay to St. Margaret's Hope on South Ronaldsay (one hour). From May to September, John O’Groats Ferries carry passengers between John O’Groats and Burwick on South Ronaldsay (40 minutes).

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When to Get There

No matter what time of the year, solitude and serenity can be found on the Orkneys. Because of the warming influence of the Gulf Stream, the islands are rarely subject to extreme weather, though the biting wind can make it feel colder than it is. Summer is the best time to go, as longer daylight hours facilitate exploration.

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Sightseeing on the Orkney Islands

The Orkney Islands are jam-packed with attractions. In addition to the Stone Age temple complex known as the Ness of Brodgar and the Viking-era graffiti in the Neolithic Maeshowe tomb, visitors can survey sunken warships while scuba diving around the Scapa Flow, admire the 1,136-foot-tall (346-meter) cliffs on the island of Hoy, and stroll the boulder-strewn Rackwick Beach.

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