An Archaeologist’s View of Orkney and Shetland

6 days

From £1,435.50 £1,695

Activity Level:


The islands of Orkney and Shetland are littered with archaeological remains.  People first came here over 5000 years ago and many of their remains survive.  New archaeological sites are discovered every year.  Some, such as Skara Brae, were buried under sand, only to be exposed by a winter storm thousands of years later; Skara Brae presents a fascinating glimpse of stone age life from the beds with their little shelves and cubby holes, to the remains of jewellery and medicine. Research is ongoing here and elsewhere excavation by archaeologists continues to uncover new information.  The islands are therefore of enormous interest to anyone who enjoys first-hand contact with ancient settlements and buildings, and the people who once lived here. 

During our time on Shetland we will visit the uninhabited island of Mousa with its 2000 year old full size broch; the prehistoric and Norse settlement of JarlshofSt Ninian’s Isle with its 6th century church and the ruined castle of Scalloway.  We then travel to Orkney where we visit the Italian Chapel; Maeshowe, the finest chambered tomb in Western Europe and Skara Brae & Skaill House.  En route to Aberdeen, we will also stop for a photo opportunity at the dramatic ruins of Dunnottar Castle.

We will stay on both Orkney and Shetland, allowing more time to appreciate the special charm of these islands. We sail with Serco Northlink Ferries on their modern, purpose-built vessels, the Hrossey and the Hjaltland, from Aberdeen overnight to Lerwick. We then have two full days to tour Shetland, staying overnight at the historic Busta House Hotel in Brae. After rejoining the ship for an evening sailing to Kirkwall, we have a further two full days touring Orkney, before our short crossing back to the mainland.

NC500: Please note that this itinerary features part of the North Coast 500, the highly scenic coastal route which begins and ends in Inverness.

Please note that space at the Busta House Hotel is limited however we can provide alternative accommodation at the nearby Brae Hotel. Dinner will still be served at the Busta House Hotel and transfers will be provided 

Up-grade to an outside cabin and enjoy sea views from the comfort of your cabin.
Outside Cabin Supplement: £55pp.

Tour highlights:

  • Mousa Broch – the best preserved Iron Age tower in existence
  • The multi-period settlement of Jarlshof
  • Neolithic Orkney – a UNESCO World Heritage Centre
  • The Churchill Barriers and Italian Chapel, poignant reminders of more recent history

Departure Routes

Location Depart Return
Bus stop on North Hanover Street, opposite Queens Street Station
10.45 21.45
Outside Reception at the Marriott Hotel, Glasgow Road
12.00 20.45
Halbeath Park & Ride, Jct 3, M90
12.30 20.15
Moto Services on M90
13.30 20.00
Broxden Park & Ride, A93
14.00 19.30
Outside Discovery Point
14.30 n/a
Bus stop off the A90, near McDonalds
14.50 n/a
Market Square
16.30 n/a
Aberdeen (Northlink)
Northlink Ferry Terminal
17.00 Inverness 15.30

Please note that all timings are approximate and subject to change. Final timings and pick-up points will be confirmed with your joining instructions approximately 10 days prior to departure.

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£1,435.50 (including offers)


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Deposit: £125 Single supplement: £425

Broch of Mousa
Tour dates & prices

Included in your cost:

  • Accommodation
  • Services of an archaeological expert as tour manager
  • Comfortable coach travel throughout
  • Meals - as per the itinerary
  • Ferry crossings
Tour Departure Tour ID Departure date Return Date Guided by Price Deposit Single supplement Offer Availability
22 April 2024 BOSA240422 22 April 2024 (Monday) 27 April 2024 (Saturday) £1,695
(ex. flights)
£125 £425 £1,435.50
save £259.50
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24 June 2024 BOSA240624 24 June 2024 (Monday) 29 June 2024 (Saturday) £1,795
(ex. flights)
£125 £425 £1,525.50
save £269.50
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