Orkney Odyssey - 3 day tour
3 day/2 night tour
Our journey north takes in Loch Fleet, Carn Liath and Helmsdale. From your base in Kirkwall, visit the Italian Chapel and gaze across Scapa Flow. Take a trip back in time and explore the Neolithic delights of Skara Brae and the Stones of Stenness. Visit John O’Groats and explore some of the north east’s most charming fishing villages.
Price range: £275-£375
Cairn Liath - step back to the Iron Age to visit this impressive broch overlooking the North Sea
Italian Chapel - visit this moving place of worship crafted by Italian prisoners-of-war during World War II
Maes Howe - explore this Neolithic tomb to discover the skill and beliefs of the early Orkney people
Kirkwall - relax and enjoy a two night stay in this historic harbour town
Dunrobin Castle - capture the view of this impressive fairy-tale castle
Movie locations - Venus Peter, Silver Darlings and Winter Solstice
Guest house accommodation included
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Inverness - Golspie - Kirkwall
From Inverness, we make our way north, crossing the Cromarty Firth. The ancient Royal Burgh of Tain is the first landmark we pass, complete with Glenmorangie distillery. We arrive at Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve, where we can relax surrounded by native wildlife.
Our next stop is in the planned village of Golspie for morning coffee, before we press a short way to the famous Iron Age broch at Carn Liath. Gazing outwards to the North Sea, the ruins paint an impressive picture of a once-bustling settlement.
Our history lesson continues as we head north to the fishing port of Helmsdale. Here, we’ll pause at the moving Emigrants statue and learn more about the Highland Clearances that saw so many Highlanders forced from their homes.
At Gills Bay it’s all aboard the ferry to our home for the next two nights – the stunning islands of Orkney. Once landed, a visit to the famous Italian Chapel is a must. Transformed from a basic Nissen hut by POWs during World War II, its craftsmanship is both astonishing and moving.
Another poignant reminder of war ends our day, as we gaze across the magnificent seascape of Scapa Flow, before retiring to the Viking stronghold of Kirkwall.
Overnight: Kirkwall (2 nights)
Day 2 - Exploring the Orkney Islands
A hearty breakfast is required for the day ahead, as we prepare to explore the archipelago’s rich history and discover its many hidden treasures.
Suitably prepared, our first call is the Stone Age settlement at Skara Brae. These amazing Neolihthic homes lay undisturbed for centuries until a storm revealed their presence in 1850. Today, the hearths and furniture remain clearly preserved, giving us a fascinating window into Orkney’s past.
Another reminder of the islands’ heritage comes at the peaceful Maeshowe cairn, where we will pause to admire its stunning chambered tomb. Built almost 5,000 years ago, it’s worth the visit alone to see the 12th century Norse graffiti on its walls.
Even older are the Stones of Stenness, which provide the next stop on our island odyssey. Each standing proudly 6m tall, the four rugged monoliths were once part of a circle that’s now been lost to time and the elements.
Returning to the welcoming lights of Kirkwall, there’s still time for a stroll around the harbour before dinner.
Day 3 - Kirkwall - Dunrobin Castle - Inverness
We say farewell to the magical Orkneys as we board the ferry once more. Flocks of colourful seabirds accompany us past neighbouring islands as we make the 60-minute journey across the Pentland Firth.
Once back on the mainland, our journey swings north to the very tip of Scotland itself – John O’Groats. Once the must-have photos are completed, a delicious lunch awaits in this famous village.
From here, the only way is south, so we dutifully meander down through the charming fishing port of Wick. If Scotland’s famously temperamental elements allow, we’ll also drop in at Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, where the dramatic ruins of two historic forts cling to the clifftops.
Beautiful scenery also awaits us at our next stop, as we admire the view in sleepy Dunbeath. It’s a short walk to the harbour, where we say hello to Kenn and the Salmon, the statue erected in honour of renowned village writer Neil M. Gunn.
The fairytale towers of Dunrobin Castle await us next as we alight at the ancestral seat of the Sutherland clan. After this, there’s still time to pause and admire the charms of Golspie once again before we return to Inverness over the Dornoch, Cromarty and Moray Firths.
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. 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 are the optional extras on this tour and how much do they cost?
The tour fare includes transportation by luxury mini or midicoach and the services of a professional driver/guide. Admission to the attractions featured on this tour is optional so you can choose to visit or not depending on your interests. The tour itinerary will allow time for you to enjoy visits to:
The links above will give you more information on these attractions as well as current prices. On some tours discounted prices are available to tour passengers - your driver/guide will provide more information if this applies. Not all attractions accept payment by credit or debit card so you should carry sufficient cash should you be planning 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.
How much luggage can I bring?
Luggage space on the tour is restricted so the amount of luggage that you can bring is limited to 1 bag per person that weights no more than 15kg and has maximum dimensions of 55 x 40 x 20cm. Luggage larger than this will only be carried if space is available.
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.
- 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 6
Inverness Bus Station
Inverness IV1 1LT
Check-in: 07:45 hrs
Tour Departs: 08:00 hrs
Tour Returns: 19:30 hrs
Concession discounts apply to adults aged 60 years and above; students and children aged 5 to 15 years inclusive.
We’re really sorry but children aged under 5 years cannot travel on this tour.
Photo-ID may be requested to confirm discount entitlement.
The price of this tour includes guest house accommodation with en-suite bathroom.
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.