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Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats

star-4.5206 Reviews
John o' Groats, United Kingdom
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up to 24 hours in advance
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icon11 hours  (Approx.)
iconOffered in: English


Escape the mainland for a full-day tour of the far-flung Orkney Islands from John O’Groats. Journey by ferry across the Pentland Firth to the wind-swept Orkney archipelago, bursting with postcard-perfect natural vistas and mystical landmarks. With a local guide, cruise along the Churchill Barriers to visit villages steeped in Viking mystery like 5,000-year-old Skara Brae and landmarks like the Lamb Holm Italian Chapel and St. Magnus Cathedral.
  • Day trip from John O’Groats to the Orkney Islands
  • Cross the Churchill Barriers
  • Ferry boat ride across Pentland Firth
  • Watch for seals and whales
  • Visit the villages of Stromness and Skara Brae
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Ferry crossing
English speaking guide
Transport by coach
Optional gratuities
Hotel pickup and drop off
Food and drinks, unless specified
Entrance fees to Skara Brae
Entrance fees to Italian chapel

Departure Point

Unnamed Road, John o' Groats, Wick KW1 4YR, UK

Departure Time

8:30 AM

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
Your trip through the Orkney Islands begins in John O'Groats Harbor, where you set off by ferry in the morning across the blustery Pentland Firth to port in Burwick. After your cruise, transfer to a comfortable coach for a guided tour of remarkable local attractions.

Savor unspoiled scenery as you travel along the Churchill Barriers (the extensive island causeway system). Hug the Scapa Flow (meaning ‘bay of the long isthmus’ in Old Norse), where you may spot swooping seabirds, bobbing seals and whales. Stop in Stromness, the last port of all before the Americas, and Kirkwall to see the lovely St. Magnus Cathedral—nearly a millennia old! 

Soak up mysterious Viking history as you visit ancient monuments including prehistoric standing stones, tombs and the more than 5,000-year-old village of Skara Brae. Cap your day with a stop at the famous Italian Chapel, built during WWII by Italian prisoners of war. Admire the beauty and ingenuity of the chapel, made of only basic raw materials, then re-board your coach for the ride back to port.

Your tour concludes back at John o’Groats Harbor in the evening.
Stop At:  
John O'Groats Ferries
Depart from John O'Groats on the ferry. Shortest sea crossing, only 40 mins to Orkney Islands. Look out for wildlife on the way even orcas if you are lucky and puffins. Luxury coach awaits you on Orkney. Enjoy a guided tour of the islands.
Duration: 40 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Skara Brae
An amazing 5000 year old stoneage village older than the pyramids part of Orkney's World Heritage Site. Only discovered 150 years ago. Entry payable by card at site.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Not Included
Stop At:  
The Italian Chapel
See the beautiful Italian Chapel, built by Italian prisoners of war using basic materials.
Duration: 15 minutes
Admission Ticket Not Included
Stop At:  
Saint Magnus Cathedral
Visit the town of Kirkwall with its magnificent Cathedral. See also shops, harbour and museum.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Ring of Brodgar
See the mystical Ring of Brodgar, an impressive stone circle.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Pass By:  
Standing Stones of Stenness
Small group of standing stones.
Pass By:  
Scapa Flow
Drive round Scapa Flow, home to the Grand Fleet during the wars. See the block ships as you cross the Churchill Barriers.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 40 travelers
  • OPERATED BY John O'Groats Ferries

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the maximum group size during Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats?
A:This activity will have a maximum of 40 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats.

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Traveler Tips

  • "There are plenty of stops along the way too, sobit breaks up the day." See review


206 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 206 reviews
Awesome trip
, Jun 2021
Skara Brea was the highlight of the trip. First of all big thank you to our driver/guide Stuart, he was the best. He was talking with passion about the Orkney, people living there and always had a joke or two... Skara Brae was the highlight of the trip, but the timeframe was one big no.. It was only hour to see the ruins, which is not enough to do it... Way too much free time was given at the beginning of the trip at Kirkwall... Almost 1.5 hour to see cathedral and few streets.. Hour would be just enough... After all it was really good day...
A cracking at out
, Nov 2019
Excellent value and a sound introduction to Orkney. Well organised and very informative and friendly driver. pleasant ferry crossing. All in all well worth it.
Busy Day
, Sep 2019
The driver courier was full of information he obviously enjoys his job and showing visitors around his home. A great day out from start to finish,
Great Day on Orkney
Allison L
, Sep 2019
We did the Maxi Tour, with Stuart as our tour guide. He was a great guide. With this tour you get to see all the main highlights on Orkney. Stuart keeps gives you all the history and keeps it fun and interesting. We had a great day. Highly recommend.
, Sep 2019
Knowledgeable and enjoyable driver/tour leader. Wish there had been a short (5-10 minute) stop at an overview point for Scapa Flow for photo.
day trip
Janice W
, Aug 2019
Well organised trip. Happy with tour. Guide, spoke a lot about himself, but was informative, and pleasant.
Learned so much
, Aug 2019
Driver was knowledgeable, patient, friendly and on time. Good sense of humor coupled with fascinating insights as to what we were seeing.
Excellent day out
, Aug 2019
Very interesting day out. Saw most of what Orkney has to offer. Very relaxing. Very informative. Very friendly knowledgeable guide - Richard.
Day trip to Orkney
, Aug 2019
Great value for money and excellent way to see the main sights when you have limited time on the Island. Stuart the coach driver was fabulous enthusiastic and friendly and very knowledgeable. Only downside would be that I would have preferred less time in Stromness after having had an adequate stop in Kirkwall. I would have preferred extra time at the other attractions Standing stones, Scara Brae. All in all a truly wonderful trip, the history of the Island is so interesting
An amazing day trip with a great bus driver
, Aug 2019
I opted for this trip as I was travelling with my two children and we loved it. The ferry crossing was a little rough but I was fine as soon as my feet hit from ground. If you’re an English Heritage member, do not buy the Skara Brae ticket as EH gets you in. It was a magical day and the sun even shone for us. There was lots of driving but the coach driver we had (Andrew) as amazing and so informative and clued up on the history. There are plenty of stops along the way too, sobit breaks up the day. Mew went in a Sunday and the bigger towns were quiet as no cruise ships were in, but happy with a tea room!
icon Response from Host , Aug 2019
A magical day! That's really great to hear. Thanks very much for your review. Good advice too about entry to Skara Brae. If you have English or Welsh Heritage you get free entry (50% for membership of less than 1 year). Likewise it's free entry with Historic Scotland membership or Explorer Passes. For those without such membership or passes we would really urge to buy an entry ticket in advance - either at our Ferry Office or on-board the Ferry - Just ask and we will be more than happy to do this. This will really help you on site as there is express entry for those with pre- purchased tickets.

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