Orkney Discovery - 3 day tour
3 day / 2 night tour
The captivating Orkney Islands boast ancient treasures and a colourful Viking legacy. On this tour, you will have the chance to visit two of the most famous prehistoric sites - the stone-age village of Skara Brae and the burial chamber of Maeshowe. Learn the naval history of Scapa Flow and see the intricate workmanship of the Italian Chapel. There is so much to discover on this memorable 3-day tour.
Price range: £340 - £450
Northern Highlands - see the rolling countryside, stunning seascapes and historic fishing villages which hug the coast as we head for the Far North
Italian Chapel - visit this moving legacy from World War II
Skara Brae - step back 5,000 years to explore this prehistoric village
Kirkwall - enjoy a two-night stay in the bustling capital of the Orkney Islands
Ring of Brodgar - explore the magical stones that make up this impressive circle
Movie locations - Venus Peter, The Silver Darlings and Winter Solstice
Guest house accommodation included
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Inverness - Scapa Flow - Kirkwall (Orkney Islands)
We bid farewell to Inverness and make our way northwards through the Black Isle then over the Cromarty and Dornoch Firths.
Look out for the resident seals when we reach Loch Fleet Nature Reserve.
We continue our drive along the northeast Highland coastline, travelling into some of Scotland's most dramatic scenery. This attractive route is known as the North Coast 500 and contains some of Europe's oldest landscapes.
At Gills Bay, we board the ferry for the short crossing of the Pentland Firth to the historic Orkney islands.
On our arrival, it is a short drive to the famous Italian Chapel, where few will fail to be moved by the dedicated workmanship of the Italian prisoners of war who crafted this place of worship from a humble Nissen hut.
Their story and many others will be told as we view Scapa Flow, the scene of momentous events during both World Wars.
The Viking stronghold of Kirkwall is our home for the next 2 nights.
Overnight: Kirkwall (2 nights)
Day 2 - Exploring the Orkney Islands
Orkney is home to many outstanding historical treasures, including a group of Neolithic monuments that are of such importance that they have been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Our itinerary starts with a visit to Maeshowe, a magnificent tomb built almost 5,000 years ago. Using massive stones, its construction was indeed a feat of engineering. During your tour, look out for the Viking graffiti, which daters from the 12th Century.
The Ring of Brodgar is a stone circle that once comprised of 60 megaliths. Today with 27 stones still standing, some over 5 metres tall, it takes little imagination to visualise the extent of this historic monument.
Uncovered by a storm in 1850, Skara Brae is one of the best-preserved groups of Stone Age houses in Western Europe. On our visit, see the stone furniture, hearths and drains that present such a remarkable insight into Neolithic life.
The day will finish with a visit to the impressive St Magnus Cathedral, one of Europe’s outstanding architectural achievements and over 800 years old.
Day 3 - Kirkwall - Helmsdale - Inverness
This morning, we have a relaxed start with free time to shop for a last-minute souvenir before heading for the ferry.
It's a 60-minute crossing of the Pentland Firth, and during the journey, we may well pass whirlpools and eddies, depending on the tides and winds. One such whirlpool just north of Stroma is the Swelkie which, according to Viking legend, is caused by a sea witch turning the mill wheels to grind the salt to keep the sea salty.
On our arrival on the mainland, we travel through the fishing villages that hug this storm-swept coastline. These attractive communities are a reminder of the importance of the Herring fishing industry during the 19th Century.
As we travel through Helmsdale, which sits at the mouth of the River Helmsdale, one of the best Salmon fishing rivers in Scotland, you'll hear some of the heart-breaking stories that are connected with the Highland Clearances.
On the outskirts of Golspie, we will stop at magnificent Dunrobin Castle, the home of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland.
You'll have the chance to visit the castle to see some of the 189 rooms which house a collection of paintings, silver and furniture. There will also be the opportunity to take a walk in the formal gardens, the venue for the popular falconry display.
From Golspie, we cross the Dornoch, Cromarty and Moray firths once more and make our way back to Inverness, where our tour ends.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect on this Signature Multi-Day Tour
For the discerning traveller a Signature Multi-day Tour offers amazing value for money, comfortable accommodation, well-paced sightseeing and luxury travel.
All of this combines to create the definitive Scottish experience.
Each tour is hosted by a professional driver/guide, who has been chosen for their extensive knowledge as well as their driving skills. And being locals you are sure to get that extra insight too.
If you should have any problems during your stay, they’ll go out of their way to help.
You will want to see as much as possible, but you don’t want to be rushed. Our tours are carefully planned to strike the right balance, and as well as comfortable mini/midicoach travel many feature memorable railway or ferry journeys.
Having somewhere pleasant to stay after an exciting day of discovery is an important part of your holiday experience. Comfortable guest house accommodation with en-suite bathrooms, tv and other amenities is included in the price of all tours.
On many tours you can choose to upgrade to hotel accommodation, at extra cost, if you wish.
A tasty Scottish breakfast is included each morning of your stay.
What options are available on this tour and what is the cost?
To give you complete choice admission fees are not included in the cost of this tour. The tour itinerary has been carefully designed to provide sufficient time for you to visit these attractions:
If you click on the links above they will provide you with more information on each attraction including current admission prices. In some cases a special discount is offered to tour passengers, your driver/guide will provide details if this applies.
Please note that credit/debit cards are not always accepted so it is recommended that you carry sufficient cash with you should you want to make a visit.
Tell me about my accommodation and which type of room should I choose?
The cost of accommodation in a comfortable guest house/B&B is included in the cost of your tour.
The guesthouses and B&Bs are family run and offer comfortable accommodation in bedrooms that have en-suite bathrooms, tv, tea/coffee making facilities and other amenities. Bedding, towels and basic toiletries are provided.
Some guesthouses and B&Bs offer enhanced facilities such as a resident’s lounge where you can relax with other guests.
Accommodation is spread throughout the communities that we stay in and the guesthouses/B&Bs are seldom more than a 10/15 minute walk from the town or village centre.
The coach will drop you off at or close to your accommodation each night and will pick you up in the morning, after breakfast.
Can I reserve specific seats on the coach?
Seating on this tour is on a first come, first served basis and cannot be pre-booked.
If you are travelling as part of a group please make sure that all members of the party arrive at the departure point together.
What meals are included ?
A full Scottish breakfast is included from day 2 onwards.
This hearty meal can consist of fruit juice; a choice of cereal; bakery basket; cooked items such as eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomato and, maybe, a taste of haggis! plus tea or coffee. Vegetarian and vegan options are always available.
Lunch and dinner are not included in the price.
During the touring day there will be a stop where you can enjoy lunch in a local pub or restaurant. Your driver/guide will be happy to suggest a conveniently located restaurant where you can enjoy good food for dinner.
- 2 nights guest house or hotel accommodation
- Location: Kirkwall, Orkney Islands (2)
- Scottish/Continental breakfast (2)
- Transportation by luxury air-conditioned mini/midicoach
- Ferry to the Orkney Islands
- Live commentary in English
- Services of an experienced driver/guide
- Service charges and taxes
- Admission charges
- Meals, snacks or items of a personal nature
- Gratuity to your driver/guide
From Platform 7
Inverness Bus Station
Inverness IV1 1LT
Check-in: 08:45 hrs
Tour Departs: 09:00 hrs
Tour Returns: 18:30 hrs
Concession discount applies to adults aged 60 years and above; students and children aged 3 to 15 years inclusive.
We’re really sorry but children aged under 3 years cannot travel on this tour.
Photo-ID may be requested to confirm discount entitlement.
Book by paying a 20% deposit. Make date changes or get a full refund with 8 days notice before travel. Click here for more information.
The price of this tour includes guest house accommodation with en-suite bathroom. You can up-grade to hotel accommodation at extra cost during the booking process.
One medium sized suitcase/bag per person (maximum weight: 15 kilos)
In order to give you maximum flexibility admission fees are not included in the cost of this tour.
Please see the FAQ section for more information on this tour.
Blogs and Guides - discover insider tips and ideas
Customer Reviews Overall Rating:
Rating:(5 /5) 14 Sep 2015
We packed a lot into a few days. Some I could have skipped, but I understand that not everyone on a tour has the same enthusiasms. Our driver and guide was seemingly inexhaustible and very good natured. It was a terrific way to see the Orkneys. So glad I went with the tour rather than driving myself. I would highly recommend it.Heather from Prescott, Canada
Rating:(5 /5) 05 Aug 2015
Cameron was unfailingly cheerful and patient, as well as informative. I enjoyed the tour very much. Another time I would choose accommodation that included a restaurant, or was closer to town. At the end of a very long day with lots of walking, and in the rain, didn't enjoy having to walk ten or fifteen minutes to find a restaurant.Heather from Prescott, Canada
Rating:(5 /5) 04 Mar 2015
We really enjoyed the tour. The weather was great - what we expected for the time of the year- misty! The tour guides were great and knew their stuff, and were great company. They went out of their way to show us a couple of things that weren't on the itinerary. Enjoyable and great value for money.Cheryl from Denistone, Australia