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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
$98.32 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Worth a go
Value for money, humourous tour guide, important places are covered, itinerary is appropriately timed
Jiann_L, Jun 2022

Recent reviews from experiences in Scrabster

star-5
Orkney is beautiful
Doreen_M, Jun 2022
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
The Italian Chapel. It was beautiful. Orkney Island was lovely and clean. The trip was very interesting..
star-5
Fabulous one day tour of main Orkney sights
Scottie, Jun 2022
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
Skara brae and standing stones. Orkney is charming and the tour was well run with excellent and witty tour guide - Darren .
star-5
All the Prehistory was...
cdwilkinson, Jun 2022
5-Day Orkney & Scotland's Northern Coast Small-Group Tour from Edinburgh
All the Prehistory was fascinating ! Fabulous tour; food, guide, lodging, company, comfortable seating,
star-5
Well worth visit
Carl_H, Jun 2022
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
It was all very interesting but The Ring of Brodga and the Italian Chapel are stand outs. The history of the islands was interesting along with stories and himour made the trip. The guide (Rob) was friendly and funny.
star-5
Long Ago and Far Away
JoAnne_A, Jun 2022
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
Going back in time is amazing. Our tour guide, Daren was the best. He was knowledgeable,as well as informative. The amount of free time was a bonus perk.
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
Well organised....
Eddy_D, Jun 2022
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
Well organised. Everything on time! Skara Brae and The Ring of Brodgar are places you have to See! Very good guide!
star-5
A very worthwhile trip even after four or five times
Joe_T, Jun 2022
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
The visits to Skata Brae and the Italian Chapel for two reasons. First the old village is very interesting and much more interesting than watching it in TV. The Italian Chapel I liked the first time I saw it and it is still incredible even after the vandalism. The whole trip was very interesting.
star-5
The most interesting tour we had
Nancy_L, Jun 2022
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
Beautiful vistas and Skara Brae site. Kevin was a great guide and took very good care of the group. We were on schedule due to good organization. This company provides good value
star-4
A brief glimpse of Orkney
Anthea_W, Jun 2022
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
The tour gives a brief glimpse of the islands, which for us was unfortunately not long enough . Orkney has wonderful history, difficult to take it all in in one day. But well worth doing. The tour is well organised, ferry crossing and coach pick up all straight forward.
star-4
A good day out
SusanAnn_H, May 2022
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
Skara Brae, Kirkwall and Stromness. The standing stones were ok, but have done with more time in Skara Brae and Stromness. The day was a little bit too long, but it was obviously controlled by the ferry times.
star-5
Non-stop Orkney.
Ian_M, May 2022
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
Skara Brae. Stromness. The Scoop. Matt, the bus driver was excellent, informative and very entertaining
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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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