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Orkney & The Far North

From £365 per adult

Departure days

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May — September

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Pre-History, Stunning Scenery & Island Life - This spectacular Highlands and Islands tour heads west through the beautiful scenery of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, Glen Coe, Fort William, Loch Ness then on to Orkney.

Day 1

North to Loch Ness…

Our grand tour of the Highlands and the Islands starts by heading west through the beautiful scenery of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Full of stunning lochs and mountains, it is easy to understand why this area is often described as ‘The Highlands in Miniature.’  Your driver guide will explain the rich history of the area and also the background of the well known song named after Loch Lomond itself.

 

Visit beautiful Glen Coe…

The route then takes you through the haunting landscape of Glen Coe (scene of the terrible massacre of the MacDonald Clan). Glen Coe is also seen often in films and Television - Bond fans will recognise the glen from ‘Skyfall’ and the glen also features in the opening credits of ‘Outlander.’ The tour continues through Fort William, well known for being the site of the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. You will then move on to Fort Augustus via the Great Glen, Scotland’s greatest fault line which divides the country in two. There will be plenty of opportunities to photograph the best of Scotland and experience great beauty, discover ancient myths and legends and learn all you can on this first day of your tour. Please note this part of the tour is fairly flexible, and your knowledgeable driver-guide will use their experience to design the perfect itinerary to suit the weather and requirements of the group.

 

Experience Loch Ness by night…

In the evening you will arrive at the fabled shores of Loch Ness, where you can enjoy an evening boat cruise* run by Cruise Loch Ness where you can do a bit of monster hunting!   We will then head to Fort Augustus to spend the night.

 

Overnight: Fort Augustus

 

Day 2

Over the sea to the Orkney Isles…

On day two, you head north via Inverness and the spectacular coastal scenery of the Moray and Cromarty Firths. Then you board the ferry for a memorable trip to the mysterious and magical Orkney Isles. There are over 70 islands in this group, of which only 20 are inhabited. You will be staying on the largest: the Mainland.

 

Explore remnants of the Second World War…

We will delve into the cultural and historical past of Orkney by visiting the stunning Italian Chapel which was built by Italian prisoners of war during World War 2. These prisoners later became paid workers when Italy joined the allies, and the church was constructed to give the Italians a proper place of worship. Your guide will then show you the famous Churchill Barriers – built as a defence mechanism to protect the naval fleet housed at Scapa Flow.

 

Overnight: Kirkwall

 

Day 3

Exploring the ancient history of the Isles…

You will have the opportunity to spend day two exploring the island. Kirkwall itself, the largest town on the island, is picturesque with narrow main streets, home to several fine old houses and also to the ruins of the Bishop’s Palace and the Earl’s Palace. Despite its northerly location, this town has a population of 8500 people. This day gives you the chance to independently explore Kirkwall and see an authentic Scottish Island town. Kirkwall is also home to Highland Park Distillery, which is the most northerly distillery in the UK!

 

Visit Europe’s best-preserved Neolithic village…

Orkney is full of history ready to be rediscovered and on day two, you’ll be able to take in prehistoric marvels such as the Maeshowe chambered cairn from the Neolithic era or visit the world-famous Neolithic village of Skara Brae, Europe’s most complete Neolithic Village. The stone circles of Stenness and the Ring o’Brodgar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is also a viewpoint available to you whilst visiting these mystical islands.

 

Dive into the history of St Magnus Cathedral…

Why not visit Britain’s most northerly cathedral, the beautiful St Magnus Cathedral. It was founded as the final resting place for the relics of St Magnus or Magnus the Martyr, who was the Earl of Orkney in the 12th Century. He was related to the kings of Norway, which is understandable given the Cathedral’s location!

 

Overnight: Kirkwall

 

Day 4

Explore the dramatic northern Scottish coastline…

You will have a leisurely morning in Kirkwall, which boasts many craft and gift shops to enjoy. Take time to explore the beautiful working harbour and ancient streets. In the late morning, we will say goodbye to Orkney and join the ferry ride back to the mainland. Your expert guide will ensure you get the best out of your journey to Inverness, exploring the dramatic coastline.

 

Visit John O’ Groats…

Your first stop of the day will be John O Groats, the only place where you can view both the east and west coasts of the UK simultaneously. It’s an excellent opportunity for a photo stop as well!

 

Experience Dunrobin Castle…

We

will then be able to visit the jewel in the Highland crown, Dunrobin Castle, the most northern of Scotland’s great houses and the largest in the Northern Highlands. It is also Britain’s oldest continuously inhabited stately home, more recently owned by the Dukes of Sutherland. Explore the vibrant formal gardens and discover why this Scottish Castle looks like a French chateau.

 

Visit the capital of the Highlands, Inverness, by night…

Your overnight stop will be Inverness, the capital of the Highlands. This ancient cathedral city has no shortage of things to view; full of cathedrals, churches, and cobbled streets.

 

Overnight: Inverness

 

Day 5

Home via Culloden and the Cairngorms…

As you head home, you’ll be able to visit the battlefield of Culloden*, the site of the defeat of the Jacobite forces. Learn more about this turbulent moment of Scottish history which shapes the way the country ran for centuries. You’ll also pass the stunning Cairngorm Mountains, which serve as both a summer retreat and centre for winter sports. The Cairngorm National Park is also the largest national park in Scotland, and proves a popular destination for tourists and locals alike due to its proximity to major cities- Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

 

Stop in picturesque Pitlochry…

We will then travel south and explore the picturesque town of Pitlochry, full of independent shops, cafes, and restaurants. It also boasts great mountain and Lochside views. It is then only a short drive to Edinburgh where you leave the tour and say goodbye to your group.


Departure days:

Every Second Thursday (May - September)


Departs/Returns:

Check-in 8:15am/ Departs 8:30am/ Returns 19:00pm



Meeting point:

1 Parliament Sq, Royal Mile, EH1 1RE

Contact details

Highland Experience Tours
1 Parliament Square
Edinburgh
Scotland
EH1 1RE
Starting
Edinburgh Edinburgh - City Centre
Length
5
Days
Transport
Minibus
Type
Medium Group (17-30)
Languages
English
Themes
Adventure Geology History Island Hopping Landscapes Photography

COVID-19 facilities

  • COVID-19 measures in place
  • Deep cleaning between visitors
  • Face mask essential (not provided)
  • Temperature checks for visitors

Tour prices

From

  • £365 Per Adult
  • £355 Per child
  • £355 Concession

Attractions

Tour company information

Highland Experience Tours

Your Scotland experience starts here. From monsters and mountains, chapels and chieftains to castles and whisky, we want to give you the most authentic Scottish experience possible. From the comfort of our luxury bespoke vehicles to our legendary, fully qualified guides, we can’t wait to show you our country. We consider ourselves extremely lucky to have a job doing something we really enjoy; everyone at Highland Experience shares a passion for travel and helping other people discover Scotland’s Highlands. Our love for real, sustainable and unique tour experiences makes us who we are.

Opening times

Monday - 7am - 10pm
Tuesday - 7am - 10pm
Wednesday - 7am -10pm
Thursday - 7am - 10pm
Friday - 7am - 10pm
Saturday - 7am - 10pm
Sunday - 7am - 8pm

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