Two Day Orkney Tour from Inverness
Despite their remote location, and the fact that the Orkney Islands have a population of only 20,000, the area has an overwhelming number of unique historical attractions, combined with a landscape, culture, dialect, food and climate that are completely unique. If you take one piece of advice from WOW Scotland let it be this; visit the magical wonder that is Orkney!
Combine the plethora of historical sites (including the Stones of Stenness, Maeshowe, the Ring of Brodgar, the Broch of Gurness, Churchill Barriers, Hoxa Battery and the Italian Chapel) with red sandstone cliffs, sea stacks, the quaint towns of Kirkwall and Stromness, distilleries, galleries and highly recommended restaurants and cafes..and you will have enough to fill your tour, no matter how long you plan to stay!
As with all WOW tours, the itinerary below gives you a flavour of what is possible, but please feel free to speak to us about customising the itinerary, free-of-charge.
Highland Park distillery
Price for two day tour (approx. 8-10 hours per day)
Tour price from £700 (plus ferry fees of £150)
- This is a private tour for up to seven people
- For groups of eight or more please contact us for pricing and availability
- Pick-up and drop-off is available from any accomodation in the Inverness area (other areas are available on request but a surcharge may apply)
- This tour can be fully customised to your requirements
- We recommend a 9am start in the summer months, but are happy to accomodate your requests for an earlier or later departure time (this will be dependent on the ferry schedule)
- Accommodation, entrance fees and lunch are not included in the tour price
- This tour is available year-round but some attractions are only open in the summer; outwith these times alternatives will be offered
Tour Itinerary – Day 1
On day one we will leave Inverness at 9am to drive up to the far North of Scotland (the journey takes approximately three hours). En-route we will pass through varied landscapes and many places of interest including the Cromary and Dornoch Firth (look out for seals), the historic towns of Dornoch and Golspie, and Dunrobin Castle. The ferry takes us on the short hop over to Orkney, where we will arrive, at the quaint village of St Margaret’s Hope on the island of South Ronaldsay, at around 2.30pm.
Continuing our journey north we will travel over the ingenious WW2 Churchill Barriers, stopping on the island of Lamb Holm at the Italian Chapel – built by Italian POWs during WW2, this fabulous church is constructed out of two Nissen huts and one can’t help but be impressed by the ingenuity of its parishioners.
We will continue our drive up to the Orkney “mainland”, where we may well stop for a peek at the Gloup – a dramatic collapsed sea cave – before taking a walk round the impressive cliffs at Deerhead, which lead to the ancient chapel at the Brough of Deerness.
We will then drive on up to the island’s main town, Kirkwall, where we will spend the evening. There are plenty restaurants and bars to keep you entertained, serving great local produce including local seafood, beef, beer and whisky.
Tour Itinerary – Day 2
The next morning starts with a wander around Kirkwall to view its attractions, including St Magnus Cathedral, the Earl’s Palace and the Bishop’s Palace. We will head up to the world-renowned Standing Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar – two of Britain’s best preserved prehistoric monuments, which were built around 4,500-5,400 years ago. From there, we will continue on to Maeshowe – the finest chambered tomb in north-west Europe. Finally, to complete our tour of the “Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site” we head to the jewel in its crown; Skara Brae is the best preserved group of prehistoric houses in Western Europe, and was only discovered during a storm in 1850 (it is over 5000 years old!)
Depending on how time goes there are a plethora of other things that we can see and do including taking a coastal walk to the sea stack at Yesnaby, visiting the Broch of Gurness, taking a trip up Wideford Hill to see the Wideford Cairn, taking a tour round Highland Park Distillery or visiting the fishermens’ huts and some fantastic rock formations on the North of the Island.
It will then be time to head to Stromness, a quaint little village which is well worth a walk around for its cutesy shops, galleries and traditional streets (unless you are a WW2 enthusiast, in which case you might want to skip the shops to take a peek behind the village at the Ness Head battery).
We will then take the ferry back to the Scottish mainland at around 4pm (tip; be sure to stay awake on the ferry and look out for the Old Man of Hoy; an impressive sea stack which you get a great view of from the port side of the boat).
When the ferry docks we will hot foot it back to Inverness, returning at around 9pm.
You will see a lot on this trip, but it really is a bit of a whistle stop tour of Orkney! If you have more time, we would recommend speaking to us about a three or four day tour, which allows you to enjoy a less hectic pace, perhaps enjoying a few coastal walks and and getting off the beaten track to admire some of the less-visited historical sites (of which there are many!).