Whale bone
Whale bone

Sail away to lands steeped in history, wildlife and stunning scenery, far from the jostling crowds to the haunting beauty of the Orkney and Shetland Isles. Many people have landed there before you - some as early as 3000 BC. Most famous of all were the Vikings, but they were not alone and all around you will find historical treasures. Both islands, but particularly Shetland, in summer have virtually no darkness and the beauty of this ‘Simmer Dim’, as it is called locally, has to be seen to be realised. Both Orkney and Shetland have their own identity, Orkney being very green and fertile while Shetland has a more rugged cliff and sea loch scenery. Both however share a colourful history of Picts, Norsemen, ancient antiquities, buried treasure and seafaring legends, bound up with an independent spirit that makes them quite different from the rest of Scotland.

We sail with Serco Northlink Ferries and their modern, purpose-built vessels, the Hrossey and the Hjaltland, from Aberdeen overnight to Lerwick. We then have two full days to tour Shetland. 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.

What's included?

  • Accommodation
  • Services of a professional tour manager
  • Meals - as per the itinerary
  • Comfortable coach travel throughout
  • Ferry crossings

Led by...

Sue Pomeroy Tour Manager

Having studied horticulture in places ranging from New Zealand to Chile, Sue now lives in the north-west Highlands. Her personal garden is open to the public and it has featured in Country Life and Gardeners’ World. Previously, she worked at Inverewe Garden for 14 years as a propagator.

Today's Price

Deposit: $150 Single supplement: $565

Tour highlights:

  • Spectacular sea cliffs at Eshaness
  • Multitudes of seabirds at Sumburgh Head (May-July)
  • 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

Tour details

Dates September 14 2020 - September 19 2020
Duration 6 days
Today's Price
Deposit: $150 Single supplement: $565 Balance due by June 22 2020
Activity Level
Tour code BOSH200914

Departure Points

Location Depart Return
Outside the Millennium Hotel
11.45 21.15
Outside Marriott Hotel Glasgow Road
13.00 20.00
Halbeath Park & Ride, Jct 3, M90
13.30 19.30
Moto Services on M90
14.30 18.30
Broxden Park & Ride, A93
15.00 18.00
Outside Discovery Point
15.30 (does not return to Dundee)
Northlink Ferry Terminal
17.00 (does not return to Aberdeen)
Inverness N/a 15.30

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.

Call for availability

September 14 2020: Itinerary

We depart from our designated departure points and travel to Aberdeen where we board the Serco Northlink Ferry (Hrossey or Hjaltland) overnight to Lerwick (departs 19.00hrs)

Once on board we shall check-in to our comfortable, twin-berth cabins which all have en-suite facilities. The ship has a delightful restaurant, where dinner is served this evening, together with a bar and lounges where you can relax. There is also a well-stocked gift shop for souvenir shopping or essential items.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Northlink Sea Ferry

Our ship is due to arrive in Lerwick at 07.30hrs. After breakfast on board (available from 07.15hrs) we will leave the ship and commence our tour of Shetland. Our first stop is in Scalloway, the former capital of Shetland, where we visit the ruined castle built in 1600 by the infamous Earl Patrick Stewart. We then continue north towards the spectacular cliffs of Eshaness, look out for the ‘Otters Crossing’ sign at the narrow isthmus known as Mavis Grind, where it is said to be possible to throw a stone from the North Sea to the Atlantic.

Following our visit here we transfer to our comfortable hotel and enjoy dinner here this evening. 

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Busta House Hotel, Shetland

Today we will start with a visit to the outstanding Prehistoric and Norse Settlement of Jarlshof, with over 3 acres of remains, spanning 3000 years since the days of the Stone Age, including oval shaped bronze age houses, iron age broch and wheel houses, Viking long houses and medieval farmhouses. From there we travel to the southern tip of mainland Shetland, Sumburgh Head, where the North Sea on the east meets the Atlantic Ocean on the west. Here we visit the RSPB Reserve, which is home to thousands of seabirds, including puffins, guillemots and razorbills.

In the afternoon we travel through small communities such as Gulberwick and Cunningsburgh before we explore the island’s capital town of Lerwick, where we have some free time and an opportunity to visit the state of the art Shetland Museum for more detail on this special set of islands. We will re-join our ship, which sails at 17.30 hours for Orkney. Dinner is served on board.

On arrival in Orkney (expected 23.00hrs) we will transfer the short distance to Kirkwall to our accommodation.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Kirkwall Hotel, Orkney

After breakfast today we have an all day excursion of mainland Orkney visiting the many archaeological sites including the, great stone circles of Brodgar and Stenness. lying to the north side of the Orphir Hills. To this day the monuments’ age remains uncertain, however they are generally thought to have been erected between 2500BC & 2000BC. We continue to Maeshowe, the finest chambered tomb in Western Europe. Built before 2700 B.C. Maeshowe was raided by Vikings in the 12th Century. It houses the largest collection of runic inscriptions to be found in any one place in the world. A visit to Skara Brae is also included, with its new visitors centre depicting the history of this world famous monument.


Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Kirkwall Hotel, Orkney

Today we will have some free time to explore Kirkwall and its environs at leisure. Places of interest include St. Magnus Cathedral, one of Europe’s greatest architectural masterpieces, its red and yellow sandstone still vibrant after 861 years, and the adjacent Bishop’s Palace. Spend some time shopping and enjoy lunch (not included).

In the afternoon we will depart on a tour of the south end of mainland Orkney, crossing the Churchill Barriers which were built after the sinking of the HMS Royal Oak in October 1939. The causeways are built of 5 and 10 ton concrete blocks and have good roads on the top connecting Burray and South Ronaldsay to the Orkney mainland. We also stop off at the beautiful Italian Chapel, built on the site of a former prisoner of war camp. Several hundred Italians, captured during the North African campaign of World War II were sent here to work on the Causeways and converted two huts into a chapel. The marvellous paintings in the interior were done by Domenico Chiocchetti, one of the prisoners who returned several times to restore and repaint parts of the building.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Kirkwall Hotel, Orkney

After breakfast we check out of the hotel and transfer to St Margaret’s Hope to catch the Pentland Ferries late morning sailing to Gills Bay. We will then return to our original pick up points by early/late evening.

(please note Aberdeen and Dundee are not available as drop-off points).

Meals include: Breakfast

September 14 2020: Additional Info

September 14 2020: Accommodation

All accommodation on board NorthLink Ferries ships have been built with your comfort in mind. Cabins are modern, clean and fully equipped with en-suite washbasin, toilet and shower facilities. All cabins are now equipped with an individual temperature control and tea & coffee-making facilities.

Overlooking the shore of Busta Voe, on mainland Shetland, Busta House is a lovely old building with en suite bedrooms, large garden and superb local food.

Between the village of Brae and the island of Muckle Roe, Busta House is close to the geographical centre of Shetland - a good base for exploring the islands.

Try the fresh local food on offer. There is a choice of wine and some 160 malt whiskies. Enjoy free Wi-Fi in all public areas and a few of the bedrooms. All other bedrooms have modem connections and there is a computer at reception for you to use if you need.

Built in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, there is no lift at Busta House, so expect steps.

Looking out across the harbour of the Orkney Islands’ largest town, The Kirkwall Hotel features a high-quality restaurant and bar along with stylish en suite rooms. A short walk from the town’s main shopping area, this family-run hotel provides free Wi-Fi and free parking.

Each room at The Kirkwall Hotel has en suite bathroom facilities with shower or bath, hairdryer and complimentary toiletries. All rooms have a flat-screen TV, telephone and tea and coffee facilities.

A freshly cooked breakfast includes local butchers’ sausages, haggis, black pudding, free-range eggs and locally baked bread. The Harbour View Restaurant serves extensive menus showcasing the local produce of the island, and Skippers Bar provides a relaxed setting to enjoy Orkney ales or whiskies by the waterside.

September 14 2020: Enquiries

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