Undiscovered Orkney

5 Days

From £895pp

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  • Spectacular sea cliffs of Noup Head, Westray
  • Views of the Old Man of Hoy as we sail to Scrabster
  • Orkney’s Naval history in Scapa Flow and the Lyness Naval Base
  • The UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Maeshowe, Stones of Stenness and Skara Brae
  • A dram of the finest whisky at Highland Park Distillery

Ten thousand years of human history, set in unfathomably ancient landscapes, and wild expanses populated just as much by wonderful wildlife as by people — welcome to Undiscovered Orkney.

The Northern Isle of Orkney boasts ten millennia of history — and that’s just the bit we know about. Ancient brochs, remarkably intact, are lapped by crystalline seas in a startling contrast; Neolithic chambered graves are dug into lush ground; ruined Medieval castles are an almost ghostly presence on the landscape, and monumental henges preside over sparkling lochs.

As for more recent happenings, there’s the scuttling of the German fleet at Scapa Flow, commemorated at the solemn Lyness Naval Base, and the squat stone Martello tower at Hackness. But for all the history that has been packed into this archipelago, there is just as much excitement to be gained from Orkney’s more recent endeavours. We head to Highland Park Distillery for a sneak peek at the production of one of Scotland’s most beloved exports. The perfect opportunity, we think, to see if you agree with their beautifully honeyed Single Malt being christened three-times ‘Best Spirit in the World’.

From the moment we set foot on Orkney, its plentiful charms are apparent — but look a little closer, and you never know what you might find...

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Day 1

We depart by coach from our local departure points and travel north, stopping en route for refreshments. We continue to Scrabster in time to catch the evening Serco Northlink ferry to Stromness where dinner will be served in the restaurant on board the ‘Hamnavoe’.  On arrival in Orkney we will transfer the short distance to Kirkwall where accommodation has been arranged at the comfortable Kirkwall Hotel, overlooking the harbour.

Day 2

We depart for the island of Westray, the ‘Queen of the Orkney Isles’ this morning — sailing along the old Viking sea route. We visit The Scaun Natural Arch at Westray’s northernmost point, where we should see sea birds such as the Shag, Black Guillemot and Fulmar.  After a visit to the unique Quoygrew 10th century Norse site, we will visit the Kirk of St Mary in Pierowall Village. Finally we visit Westray Heritage Centre, and Noltland Castle, one of the most unusual castles in Scotland and testament to a troubled period of Scottish history. 

We return by ferry to Kirkwall where dinner will be served at our hotel in the evening.

Day 3

We depart for the island of Hoy this morning. We view the Dwarfie Stone, the only prehistoric rock-cut chambered tomb in Britain, dating from c.3000 BC. A few miles further on we reach Rackwick Bay, a fine beach on a constantly changing seascape.

We also learn about the more recent past at the Lyness Naval Base and Interpretation Centre, which houses an important records from both World Wars. In the afternoon we visit to the stone-built Martello Tower at Hackness; and pay a brief visit to the Naval Cemetery, a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made here in war.

We return to Kirkwall, where we dine this evening.

Day 4

Today we enjoy an all day excursion on mainland Orkney: visiting the many archaeological sites including Maeshowe, the finest chambered tomb in Western Europe; Skara Brae, with its new visitor centre depicting the history of this world famous monument; and the Standing Stones of Stenness, lying to the north side of the Orphir Hills. We also visit Stromness, with its very long waterfront. Later we will enjoy a taste of one of the finest whiskies in the world, at the Highland Park Distillery, which uses the same traditional methods of production as it did 200 years ago. 

Dinner will be served at the hotel in the evening.

Day 5

After breakfast we check out of our hotel and transfer to Stromness to catch the morning ferry to Scrabster.  On arrival in Scrabster we return to our original pick up points.

What's Included

  • 4 nights at the Kirkwall Hotel – dinner, bed & breakfast
  • All coaching and ferry transfers
  • Visits to Westray, The Scaun Natural Arch, Quoygrew, the Island of Hoy, Maeshowe and Skara Brae
  • Services of a professional tour manager

Supplements per person

  • Single supplement: £140.00
  • Insurance: £21.00 (under 65); £42.00 (65–74); £63.00 (75–90)
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Departures

Please note all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.
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Departure points and times

Depart Return
Glasgow
(Millennium Hotel)
0715 2045
Edinburgh
(Marriott Hotel)
0830 1930
Dunfermline
(Outside Fife College)
0900 1900
Kinross
(Moto Services, M90)
0915 1845
Perth
(Canal Street)
0930 1830
Inverness
(Inverness Hotel)
1430 1530
Subject to minimum numbers, the following pick-up will be served by feeder coach or taxi
(to/from Perth)
Dundee
(Outside Discovery Point)
0845 1915
Subject to minimum numbers, the following pick-up will be served by feeder coach or taxi
(to/from Inverness)
Aberdeen
(Skene Street)
1130 1830

Please note all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.