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Orkney Islands
Orkney Islands

Orkney Islands

star-5
386 Reviews

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
$112.54 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Fab day
Great day out and Stuart was a wealth of information and funny with it. I would wholeheartedly recommend
Joanne_A, Sep 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in Scrabster

star-5
Orkney maxi day trip
Sally_B, Sep 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
Driver was very good and informative, saw lots Pleased we did the trip Coach clean and comfy We had enough time at each stop for us to see what we needed to
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-4
Good trip
Hayley_R, Sep 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
Good trip covering all the basics. Need to include the cost of Skara Brae Village in trip as nothing optional to do and then don’t need as long there. Great commentary from local with great sense of Scottish humour.
star-5
A great trip- well worth the money
Jenny_K, Aug 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
A great day and well worth the money. Our guide, Stuart was incredible. He made the trip for us. He was knowledgeable and easily kept us engaged for the whole day. It’s a long day but if you get a guide like Stuart it will be enjoyable and you will come away feeling like you have a much better understanding of the Orkney islands and the history there.
star-5
Fab day
Joanne_A, Sep 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
Great day out and Stuart was a wealth of information and funny with it. I would wholeheartedly recommend
star-5
Jam packed tour with a knowledgeable guide
Louisa_D, Sep 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
Fantastic tour featuring the most stunning locations on Orkney. Our tour guide Stuart was incredibly knowledgeable and definitely made the experience even more enjoyable. Has made me want to return again and spend a few days exploring the history of the islands.
star-5
Great way to see Orkney
stuart_m, Jul 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
We had a fantastic visit to the Orkney Islands, our tour guide Stuart was fantastic and full of local knowledge. It was very well organised and would thoroughly recommend.
star-5
Highly recomended.
kav19r, Oct 2019
5-Day Orkney & Scotland's Northern Coast Small-Group Tour from Edinburgh
This tour was run by Rabbie's Tours and the attention to details was fantastic. Our driver and guide, Iain Murray, made it an exceptional trip - Iain was a font of information and brought the countryside and places alive with his stories, historical information, humour and consideration. There was never a dull moment and his obvious love of the area made it a special trip. The accommodation was clean and the hosts were welcoming. The small number of the group also helped make it easy and fun. This is a trip absolutely worth doing.
star-5
Orkney maxi trip from John o Groats
Rachael_G, Sep 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
A great day from start to finish, well organised plenty of parking at John o Groats. The coach driver Stewart was funny and knowledgeable. Experienced a lot of Orkney in a single day good taster would love to come back.
star-4
Good trip-not enough hours in the day-a good taster
Peter_B, Sep 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
All places visited were memorable and enjoyable but we felt that there should be a lot less time in Stromness and more time in Skara Brad as we did not feel that the time given was enough to appreciate and learn about the site and justify the entrance fee.
star-5
What an amazing day out!!
Kia_S, Sep 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
What a wonderful trip!!! Had an amazing day, seeing the Islands and all the sites. The tour guide was exceptional, funny and so knowledgeable. Learnt so much and enjoyed all the history (the Ring of Brodgar was a personal highlight and Skara Brae was also amazing). Would 100% recommend it.
star-5
Great day on Orkney
Daniel_R, Aug 2021
Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats
All very impressive particularly enjoyed Scara Brae the driver was very knowledgeable and made the visit come alive

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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