Orkney in a Day - 1 day tour
Orkney in a Day
One day tour
The Orkney Islands is home to many outstanding historic treasures and on this absorbing tour, you'll have the chance to visit ancient Neolithic sites including Skara Brae, Maeshowe and the evocative Ring of Brodgar. Discover Scapa Flow, the scene of momentous events in both World Wars and explore mighty St Magnus Cathedral, one of the finest in Europe. On the mainland, you'll travel along the North Coast 500 route famed for its stunning coastal views!
Price range: £109 - £129
Northern Highlands - enjoy stunning mountain views and sweeping seascapes
Italian Chapel - visit this ornate chapel constructed by Italian prisoners-of-war
Skara Brae - step back 5,000 years to discover all about Neolithic life at this well-preserved settlement of prehistoric dwellings
Ring of Brodgar - explore this magnificent circle of monoliths, one of the most significant in the United Kingdom
Kirkwall - discover how the Vikings shaped this bustling town and see magnificent St Magnus Cathedral, founded in 1137
Movie locations - Venus Peter, The Silver Darlings and The Spy in Black
Full Tour Itinerary
It’s an early start today, but it’s going to be worth it with a wonderful day of exploration planned. We start the journey by joining the famed North Coast 500, Scotland’s very own Route 66. As we travel north, you’ll experience some of Europe’s most spectacular coastal scenery.
At Gills Bay, we board the ferry for the short crossing of the Pentland Firth. On arrival in the ancient Orkney Islands, we start our exploration by discovering the naval history of Scapa Flow. Using the Churchill Barriers, a series of causeways linking the islands, we stop on Lambholm to visit the moving Italian Chapel. Italian prisoners of war constructed this ornate chapel from two simple Nissen huts during World War 2.
We spend free time in Kirkwall, the largest community in Orkney, to discover its Viking heritage. Why not take time to visit impressive St Magnus Cathedral and the Bishop’s & Earl’s Palaces? Alternatively, explore the many studio shops where you can see artists and craftspeople at work. It’s an excellent opportunity to pick up a unique souvenir of your visit to these Northern Isles.
This afternoon we discover Orkney’s ancient history. First, we travel to the Standing Stones of Stenness, which may be the oldest stone circle in the UK. Dating back over 5,000 years, only four of the stones remain standing, but it still makes for an impressive sight. Next, we stop at the Ring of Brodgar, a great circle of standing stones dramatically situated overlooking two lochs. It’s one of the best-preserved stone circles in the UK and provides hints of forgotten ritual and belief.
A real highlight is our visit to the well-preserved remains of Skara Brae, an ancient settlement overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It’s incredible to think that this community was thriving before the building of the pyramids! During your visit, you’ll see houses complete with their stone furniture, presenting a fascinating insight into the daily lives of Neolithic people.
There is free time in Stromness, a charming old seaport that is steeped in history before boarding the ferry for the return crossing to the mainland. Have your cameras at the ready as the ferry sails past the “Old Man of Hoy”, an impressive sea-stack that is one of the tallest in Britain. On arrival in Scrabster, we rejoin the coach and head southwards. There will be a break en-route before arriving in Inverness around 21:30 hrs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect on this Signature Day Tour?
Travelling on a Signature one-day tour is a great way to discover the best of Scotland from your city centre base of Edinburgh, Glasgow or Inverness. During your day of discovery we’ll introduce you to many aspects of our country: spectacular scenery, history, folklore, nature and much, much more. Luxury travel is provided by air-conditioned mini or midi coaches and each tour is led by an experienced driver/guide who will provide a live commentary in English. There are stops planned at the key sights as well as for meals and comfort breaks. Please note that tours to some destinations, particularly to Loch Ness, can be faster paced so the number and duration of stops may be limited.
Will there be stops for meals and are they included in the price of the tour?
Meals are not included in the tour price, but we will make stops where you can get refreshments and something to eat. If you wish, you can bring a packed lunch or pick up lunch items at a previous stop. Vegetarian food is widely available.
What should I wear?
Wear layers as the temperature on the loch can vary. We recommend bringing a rain jacket, just in case!
Will there be a tour commentary?
Each tour is led by an experienced driver/guide who will provide an informative and entertaining commentary in English. You’ll hear tales of the Clans, bloody battles and the famous characters that have shaped the history of Scotland. You will learn too of the landscape that surrounds you and of the nature that makes Scotland so special. Be ready to have a laugh as well - you’re bound to be told some really corny jokes!
Can I reserve specific seats on the coach?
Seats cannot be pre-booked however your driver/guide will normally implement a seat rotation system which will allow all passengers the opportunity of experiencing spectacular views from different seats on the minicoach.
- Transport by luxury air-conditioned midicoach
- Live commentary in English
- Ferry to the Orkney Islands
- 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: 05:15 hrs
Tour Departs: 05:30 hrs
Tour Returns: 21:30 hrs
There are no senior or student discounts available on this tour.
We’re really sorry, but children aged under 6 years cannot travel on this tour.
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.