Our ‘Orkney Highlights Tour’ takes you on a journey through time, giving you a real sense of life ‘on the edge’, from experiencing how our Neolithic ancestors lived and survived over 5000 years ago, through the ‘invasion’ of the Vikings, documented in the 13th Century Orkneyinga Sagas and how they still influence Orkney’s culture today to the global importance played by Scapa Flow during two World Wars, the moving stories of which tell of innovation and tragedy and are forever preserved in the fabric of our amazing Islands and their people.
Orkney Highlights Tour
Tours start in Kirkwall and head west, hugging the coastline of Scapa Flow where you will hear about the Royal Oak Tragedy, learn about the ‘Scuttling’ of the German fleet in 1919 and how Scapa Flow remains economically important for Orkney today.
On to ‘Yesnaby’, to view our stunning Atlantic coastline with stunning cliffs, geology, wildlife and fauna and where you may, if you’re lucky find the rare ‘Primula Scotica’. On a clear day you may also catch a glimpse of ‘The Old Man of Hoy’ and Britain’s highest vertical cliffs.
Step back 5000 years now as we enter the ‘Heart of Neolithic Orkney’ and our UNESCO World Heritage Sites, home to some of the best-preserved Neolithic structures in the world. You will visit Skara Brae, a world-renowned Neolithic village dating to 3100bc, buried and preserved in sand for thousands of years before being uncovered by a storm in 1850. You will be amazed at the condition of the houses that make up this completely original village with stone furniture, beds and implements exactly as they were left. A nearby modern visitor centre and replica Neolithic house adds to the experience and enables you to fully immerse yourself in our Neolithic history.
Your Neolithic experience continues as we take a short drive to our next stop where you will be guided around two stunning henge monuments, the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness, set in a natural amphitheatre and amongst the oldest in Europe.
We now travel south, passing other Neolithic sites and learning about our Viking heritage and Wartime history. We will take in panoramic views of Scapa Flow and visit the World War 2 sea defences, the ‘Churchill Barriers’, an incredible engineering achievement, built by Italian prisoners of war in response to the tragic sinking of HMS Royal Oak in 1939. We then visit and marvel at the splendour of the ‘Italian Chapel’, where you will not fail to be moved by this masterpiece built and beautifully decorated by the Italian prisoners and affectionately named ‘The Miracle of Camp 60’.
Then back to our Capital City and Royal Burgh of Kirkwall from where we will visit the stunning red and yellow sandstone St Magnus Cathedral. Known as ‘The light of the North’ and built in the 12th Century, this magnificent monument honouring our Viking Earl, St Magnus has been beautifully preserved and is still in use today.
It will then be time for us to bid you all farewell. We can either return you to the Travel Centre where we started the tour, to your ship or you can take a leisurely stroll through the historic streets of Kirkwall and enjoy the unique abundance of shops and businesses selling local food, drink, garments and of course stunning jewellery.
The tour and the services of a professional driver-guide.
Meals, drinks and refreshments, apart from chilled bottled water, are not included in your ticket price. We believe in giving you the choice to suit your budget. Alternatively feel free to bring your own packed lunch for day tours.
With the luxury of a Bespoke Tour, we can include coffee and/or lunch stops in your itinerary, but this would be at your own cost.
We operate Bespoke tours and our Corporate service all year round.
Our Highlights Tours are only available on specific days from May to September. Please check the availability calendar.
Please contact us directly if you have an unusual or complicated agenda, we will try to accommodate your request if we can.
You will be met by the Driver/Guide from the pickup point at The Travel Centre, West Castle St, Kirkwall, KW15 1GU. Details are available on the following link: https://www.bing.com/local?lid=YN1029x11914293144776059141&id=YN1029x11914293144776059141&q=Visit+Scotland&name=Visit+Scotland&cp=58.98310470581055%7e-2.96174693107605&ppois=58.98310470581055_-2.96174693107605_Visit+Scotland
Yes. We offer personal pick-ups for all our Bespoke tours. If you require to change your pick-up point after booking please contact us directly and we will be happy to help you.
Our ‘Highlights Tour’ is offered on a book now, per seat basis and on dates where Cruise Ships are visiting Orkney. These tours are not exclusive to Cruise Ship passengers and can be booked online up 1 hour before the tour.
Yes, Bespoke Tours can be arranged on any day where the calendar shows availability, including ‘Highlights Tours’ dates (where no ‘Highlights Tour’ bookings have been taken). As we offer the ‘Highlights Tour’ on a per seat basis, please contact us for latest availability.
Sorry, no. All seats are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please be assured that all seats have ample leg room and visibility.
We want you to enjoy the very best Orkney has to offer and we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the bus as often as we can. We ensure this with a mixture of photo stops and comfort breaks.
The weather in Orkney is changeable, even in summer. Please wear sensible footwear as the ground we visit is often uneven and may be slippery. Layering of clothes is recommended and another sensible precaution is to carry light waterproof clothing. If prepared, you will have a great time, no matter the weather.
We do not offer refunds due to bad weather.
Highlights tour: limited to one small rucksack or bag per person.
Bespoke and Corporate: additional luggage can be facilitated by prior arrangement. Please advise at time of booking.
Unfortunately our vehicle is not equipped for wheelchair users who require to remain seated in their wheelchair when boarding, alighting from or travelling in the vehicle. Our vehicle is equipped with wide side access doors, can accommodate a folding wheelchair and may be accessible for wheelchair users who, with minimal assistance are able to transfer themselves to and from a vehicle seat. If you are a wheelchair user, have limited mobility or require assistance in any way, please contact us prior to booking to discuss.
GoOrkney maintains insurance meeting all statutory requirements, we strongly recommend that passengers hold comprehensive and suitable travel, medical and cancellation insurance to cover their period of travel.