5 – 6 Day Orkney, Shetland and Highlands Tour from Edinburgh

5 (or 6) Day Orkney, Shetland and Highlands Tour

from Edinburgh
5 – 6 Day Orkney, Shetland and Highlands Tour from Edinburgh

A stunning five (or six) day Northern Isles adventure from Edinburgh through the Highlands and Orkney to Shetland.

Day 1 - Departing from Edinburgh we travel north over the Firth of Forth towards the Central Highlands. We explore the beautiful village of Dunkeld and its historic ruined cathedral before our drive northwards takes us to the Cairngorms National Park. Arriving near Inverness by the mid-afternoon, we can either visit Culloden Battlefield and the Clava Cairns or Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness before our overnight stop.

Day 2 - Our longest day as we depart from Inverness on 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 the 5000 year old village settlement of Skara Brae and the nearby Neolithic standing stones of the Ring of Brodgar. After an evening meal in Kirkwall we catch the late ferry (11pm) from Kirkwall for an overnight sailing to Lerwick in the Shetland Islands.

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. 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. 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 ancient ruins of Dunnottar Castle near Stonehaven. The early afternoon takes us south to the Kingdom of Fife where we explore the historic town of St Andrews before our arrival into Edinburgh in the late afternoon and the end of our Northern Isles adventure!

Tour option - Add an extra day on Orkney
The standard tour is ideal for those that may have already visited Orkney – with a half day on the Orkney mainland during our travels north to Shetland. However, for those looking for more time in Orkney (and there is lots to explore) we can add an additional day on Orkney to discover more of its stunning neolithic treasures. With this option there would be an overnight stay in Kirkwall. Tour option surcharge – £500 per tour.

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)

5 Day – May to September:    £3350

+ £75 per person ferry tickets

Tour Information

Depart Edinburgh
Return Edinburgh

The 5 Day tour is available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday start days from Edinburgh.
The 6 Day tour is available on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday start days from Edinburgh.

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 all taxes and a driver/guide (John Alasdair Macdonald) but exclude your accommodation costs, standard ferry tickets (shown above), overnight ferry cabin costs (details below), entrance fees and meals.

Accommodation Options
We recommend that you book accommodation in Inverness (Day 1) and Lerwick (Day 3) to make the most of your trip. For the 6 Day tour an additional night's accommodation will be required in Kirkwall on Orkney. 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 £115 and £145 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.

Please note that your standard ferry tickets and overnight ferry cabin costs will be added to the tour price and booked by The Hebridean Explorer in advance when booking the standard ferry tickets.

We recommend booking this tour as early as possible as the limited ferry cabins and vehicle spaces fill up quickly in advance for travel to Shetland over the summer months.

Tour Itinerary
The tour itinerary is based on experience, previous clients feedback and timings. However, we have a little flexibility and the tour itinerary can be adapted (in advance) to suit specific requests if possible. Should you extend the tour to six days, the additional day on Orkney can be tailored to specific requests. Please let us know any requests through the 'Extra Information' section when completing a Tour Enquiry Form or email directly to info@thehebrideanexplorer.com.

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.

Off Season Touring
Generally we only offer this tour between May and September when ferry sailings are least likely to be disrupted by weather. However, should you be interested in travel from October to April and have a flexible schedule that can adapt to possible ferry delays or cancellations and itinerary changes then please contact us and we can discuss tour options.