Drive the full length of Loch Ness, see Cairngorms National park and the stunning Glen Coe, and pass Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument.
- Adult ages 16-59
- Child aged 3 to 15 inclusive
- Senior Seniors(s) 60yrs+ / Students
The Magic & Mystery of the Orkney Isles
This wonderful island adventure passes through the spectacular coastal scenery of Moray and Cromarty, followed by a memorable trip to the mysterious and magical Orkney Isles. Experience the incredible Orkney scenery on this unforgettable tour.
- Moray and Cromarty: Firths’ breathtaking beauty
- St Magnus Cathedral: The Italian Chapel and Churchill Barriers
Over the sea to the Orkney Isles…
On your first day, you head north from Inverness, passing the spectacular coastal scenery of the Moray and Cromarty Firths. Then you board the ferry for a memorable trip to the mysterious and magical Orkney Isles. Keep an eye out for dolphins, seals, and other marine wildlife on this hour-long crossing to St Margaret’s Hope – your gateway to Orkney. Orkney is so far north that in the summer the sun does not set until 10:30 pm, meaning that you’ll have plenty of time to explore the island. There are over 90 islands in this group, of which only 20 are inhabited. You will be staying on the largest: the Mainland.
Explore stunning flora and fauna…
Once you arrive, you can take in the stunning scenery and start exploring. Orkney has many native wildlife species, including the rare tiny purple primula scotica flower, and puffins! Orkney also has many species that are unique to the islands, due to its geographical isolation. It is also home to the UK’s oldest natural woodland! Its unusual geography is due to the island being fashioned by glacial erosion. This year, Orkney has been voted the best place to live in the UK!
Discover remnants of the Second World War…
Aside from its stunning natural beauty, Orkney plays host to many cultural and historic icons. You’ll visit the beautiful Italian Chapel, which was built by Italian prisoners of war during the Second World War. These prisoners later became paid workers when Italy joined the allies, and the church was constructed to give the Italians a proper place of worship. From the same era, you’ll also see the famous Churchill Barriers – causeways that were constructed to protect the British naval fleet from submarines.
Exploring the ancient history of the Isles…
From your base in Kirkwall, you’ll spend the whole of day two exploring the islands. Kirkwall is the island’s largest town: picturesque with narrow main streets, it is home to several fine old houses, and the ruins of the Bishop’s Palace and the Earl’s Palace. Despite being so far north, this town has a population of 6500 people. This is an excellent opportunity to independently explore Kirkwall and see an authentic Scottish Island town. Kirkwall is also home to Highland Park Distillery, which is the most northerly distillery in the UK!
Visit Europe’s best-preserved Neolithic village…
This is a land full of ancient history and you’ll be able to take in prehistoric marvels such as the Maeshowe chambered cairn from the Neolithic era. You can also visit the world-famous Neolithic village of Skara Brae. It is composed of eight houses and is Europe’s most complete Neolithic village. It is also one of the best-preserved monuments in western Europe, despite being discovered after a storm in 1850! You will go on to see the brooding stone circles of Stenness and the Ring o’Brodgar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site also from the Neolithic era.
Dive into the history of St Magnus Cathedral…
The day will finish with a visit to beautiful Britain’s most northerly cathedral, St Magnus Cathedral, which boasts stunning Romanesque architecture. It was founded as the final resting place for the relics of St Magnus, known as Magnus the Martyr, was the Earl of Orkney in the 12th Century. He was related to the kings of Norway, which is understandable given the Cathedral’s location! In fact, at the time he died, the Orkney islands were part of Norway!
Explore the dramatic northern Scottish coastline…
Your final day begins with a leisurely morning in Kirkwall, which boasts many craft and gift shops to enjoy. Take time to explore the beautiful working harbour and ancient streets. In the late morning, we will say goodbye to Orkney and join the ferry ride back to the mainland. Your expert guide will ensure you get the best out of your journey back to Inverness, exploring the dramatic coastline.
Visit John O’Groats…
Your first stop of the day will be John O’Groats, the only place where you can view both the east and west coasts of the UK simultaneously. It’s an excellent opportunity for a photo stop as well!
Experience Dunrobin castle…
We will then be able to visit Dunrobin Castle, the most northern of Scotland’s great houses and the largest in the Northern Highlands. It is also Britain’s oldest continuously inhabited stately home, more recently owned by the Dukes of Sutherland. Explore the vibrant formal gardens and discover why this Scottish Castle looks like a French chateau. You will then head back towards your departure city, Inverness, where you say goodbye to your tour group.
Q. How does our accommodation booking service work?
We can book your accommodation for you, or you can choose to book your own, as long as it is centrally located at the overnight stop location. Your driver-guide will drop you off and pick you up from the accommodation and you will pay direct to your hosts.
Q. How much will the accommodation cost?
Accommodation is not included in the tour price, below is an estimate of the costs per bed or room night.
- Hostel: Shared rooms from £18 to £28 per single bed per night
- Bed & Breakfast: From £80 – £110 per room per night
- Bed & Breakfast Ensuite: From £110 – £150 per room per night
- Hotel: From £150+ per room per night
- Ensuite: This means you will have your own private bathroom/toilet/shower
All accommodation costs depend on availability and season – so it may be more or less than estimated above. Also, please be advised that many smaller accommodation providers only accept cash payments, and do not accept debit/credit cards as method of payment.
Q. If I wish to book my own accommodation is there anything I need to know?
Once you’ve booked your accommodation, you’ll need to contact us at [email protected]
highlandexperience.com and let us know where you have booked to stay. Please, only reserve accommodation within the overnight towns that your tour stops in. If you’re unsure, please check with us first.
- No matter when you visit, the weather in Scotland can be “changeable”, to say the least. We suggest that you bring suitable clothing for all conditions, including a waterproof jacket (it has been known to rain in Scotland), sunglasses and plenty of layers.
- Ensure you bring shoes suitable for short walks, on rough or uneven terrain.
- Although most attractions & eating establishments we visit accept card payments, we would also recommend bringing cash with you.
- Don’t forget a camera to snap the fantastic memories you’ll make on tour with us!
- Please limit your luggage to 1 x small/medium piece per person (no more than 15kg), along with 1 x small handbag or daypack.