5 Day Orkney and Shetland Tour from Inverness

5 Day Orkney and Shetland Tour

from Inverness
5 Day Orkney and Shetland Tour from Inverness

A stunning 5 day private tour from Inverness through the Highlands to the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland.

Day 1 – Departing Inverness with a morning drive to the far North of Scotland and our ferry port of Scrabster, near Thurso. The drive north covers wonderful coastal scenery and normally takes around 3-4 hours including photo stops and a brief visit to the historic town of Dornoch. Our 1½ hour ferry journey includes a great view of the Old Man of Hoy before our arrival in Orkney where we visit Skara Brae, a 5000 year old Neolithic village settlement. This is one of the highlights of the tour before our arrival in Kirkwall for our overnight stop.

Day 2 – A full day on the Orkney mainland that includes a visit to Maeshowe one of the best Neolithic chambered tombs in Europe. We then explore the Neolithic standing stones of Stenness, the magnificent stone circle at the Ring of Brodgar and the 2000 year old Broch of Gurness, along with lunch at the Orkney Brewery. After visiting the Italian Chapel, the Churchill Barriers and Scapa Flow, the late afternoon is spent in Kirkwall enjoying the stunning 12th century St Magnus Cathedral along with the ruins of the Bishop’s and Earl’s palaces. After an evening meal in Kirkwall we catch the late ferry (11pm) from Kirkwall for an overnight sailing to Lerwick in Shetland.

Day 3 – After a leisurely breakfast on the ferry we depart Lerwick to spend the day exploring the south mainland of Shetland. Sumburgh Head is our first stop - a stunning viewpoint and a haven for seabirds. Next is Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse settlement which spans over four thousand years. After lunch at the Sumburgh Hotel, the afternoon takes us on a beautiful coastal drive to the breath-taking St Ninian's Isle where you can hike across the sands to the island. Returning north we end the day at the two thousand year old Clickimin Broch before our overnight stay in Lerwick.

Day 4 – Departing from Lerwick we head towards the north Shetland mainland. Arriving at Eshaness we take time to savour the dramatic cliffs and sea stacks that the fantastic coastal landscape of Shetland presents to us from this headland. After lunch at Busta House Hotel, the afternoon takes us to the ruins of Scalloway Castle before we return to Lerwick. Here we explore the Shetland Museum and Fort Charlotte before ending our time in Shetland with a meander through Lerwick town and harbour. In the late afternoon we board the ferry from Lerwick for an overnight sailing to Aberdeen on the Scottish mainland.

Day 5 – Arriving into Aberdeen harbour in the early morning, we enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the ferry before heading south to explore the historic ruins of Dunnottar Castle. Next we drive east towards to Elgin to expore the stunning seven hundred year old ruins of Elgin Cathedral and the Pictish standing stones of the area. The late afternoon takes us back to Inverness, but not before we enjoy a tour and tasting at Benromach malt whisky distillery. Alternatively (instead of Benromach), we can end the day with a visit to the four thousand year old burial cairns and standing stones at Clava, along with a guided walk of Culloden Battlefield.

What to expect on an Orkney and Shetland Tour...

I can promise our tour will include all the wonderful views shown above... but maybe not the weather – we are the land of four seasons in one day!

Private Tour Price (per tour)

May to September:    £3800

(Off-season tours from October to April)

Tour Information

Depart Inverness
Return Inverness
(5 Days)

This tour is available on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday start days from Inverness.

Tours are exclusively for your private group only (up to 3 persons) and prices are per tour. We only offer private tours and do not combine individuals or separate groups – if your group size is less than 3 the advertised tour price still applies. Prices include standard ferry tickets, all taxes and a driver/guide (John Alasdair Macdonald) but exclude your accommodation costs, overnight ferry cabin costs (details below), entrance fees and meals.

Accommodation Options
We recommend that you book accommodation in Kirkwall (Day 1) and Lerwick (Day 3) to make the most of your trip. Whilst we do not book accommodation for you we are happy to help with advice on where to stay and eat. The tour quote will include a list of accommodation recommendations and suggestions for overnight locations.

During this tour we will take two overnight ferry sailings where you can book overnight en-suite cabins. Prices depend on your cabin choice (for example, a twin outer cabin is between £120 and £155 per cabin depending on class). The tour quote will include full details of the cabin options and their current prices. More information about the cabin choices can be found on the Northlink Ferries Website.

Tour Option

Visit the North Islands of Shetland (1 extra day)
During our time on Shetland we add an additional day and overnight stay in Lerwick and travel off the Shetland mainland to visit the north islands of Yell and Unst (the northern most inhabited island in Scotland). The remaining two days on Shetland cover the standard itinerary listed above. Tour option surcharge – £650 per tour (includes inter–islands ferry tickets).

Please request this option through the 'Extra Information' section when completing a Tour Enquiry Form for the standard tour.

Tour Itinerary
The tour itinerary is based on experience, previous clients feedback and timings. However, we have some flexibility and the tour itinerary can be adapted (in advance) to suit specific requests if possible. Please let us know any requests through the 'Extra Information' section when completing a Tour Enquiry Form.

Ferry Sailings
Ferry sailings are generally reliable in the summer months, but delays can occasionally occur. While we cannot be responsible for any extra accommodation, food or other costs that clients may incur due to ferry delays and cancellations, we will make every effort to adapt the tour to minimise disruption. Please note that no refunds will be given for tour and itinerary changes due to ferry changes and cancellations.

Advance Booking
As this tour requires five consecutive tour days we recommend you book this tour as far in advance as possible to ensure the widest choice of tour availability.

Availability Notes
2022 –– No availability from May to September except tour starting 29th August or 19th September.
2023 –– No availability in late-May, early-June, late-July or late-August.