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Orkney, Shetland and The Caledonian Sleeper

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3.8 stars(41 reviews)
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Discover the Scottish islands' charms in the most romantic way

7 days From £1,545 per person

2022 Tour code: SOS22

About the tour

Uncover atmospheric castles, charming fishing ports, ancient archaeological sites and captivating wildlife in Orkney and Shetland, bookending our holiday with overnight rail journeys aboard the Caledonian Sleeper Train.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London and the Caledonian Sleeper Train

We meet at London Euston to board the Caledonian Sleeper Train for our overnight journey to Scotland. An experience which harks back to a bygone era of rail travel, we're treated to a magical journey, travelling through undulating countryside while enjoying the relaxed comfort of our bunk cabins.

Day 2 - Aberdeen

After breakfast on board, we disembark in Aberdeen for a walking tour of the harbour, home to a charming selection of historic fishermen's cottages and the genteel district of Old Aberdeen. Here we'll see the 15th-century St Machar's Cathedral and the historic stone mansions that line leafy lanes. Afterwards, we board a ferry for an overnight crossing to Shetland - Britain's northernmost outpost. Closer to Bergen, Norway, than Edinburgh, the landscapes here have a unique Norse influence.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Lerwick and Hillswick

We arrive into Lerwick, the capital of the Shetlands Isles, where we meet our guide for the day. Our first visit is to Scalloway, the ancient capital of the Shetlands. Here, we discover the brooding ruins of Scalloway Castle, which date back to 1599. Next, we head to the coast for a unique encounter with Shetland's world-famous ponies, learning about their history and enjoying a meet and greet against a spectacular coastal backdrop. We continue by coach to the picturesque village of Brae for a fish and chip lunch at an award-winning local restaurant. Afterwards, we travel north, taking in incredible views of the volcanic Cliffs of Eshaness.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 - The wildlife of the Shetlands

We explore the pre-historic Norse settlement of Jarlshof today, seeing some of Europe's oldest signs of life, which date from around 2500 BC, before continuing to Sumburgh Head, a protected nature reserve notable for its steep cliffs, lighthouse and seabird population. It's possible to spot puffins, guillemots and even razorbills here. Next, we admire the dramatic landscapes surrounding the villages of Gulberwick and Cunningsburgh ahead of returning to Lerwick, where there's free time ahead of our ferry journey to the remote Orkney Islands.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Discovering the history of the Orkneys

Our day begins with a special talk from Nick Card, an expert on the Neolithic history of the Orkney Isles. Afterwards, we set out on a tour through the heart of Neolithic Orkney, visiting four different monuments; the Standing Stones of Stenness, the Ring of Brodgar, the chambered tomb of Maeshowe and Skara Brae - also known as the 'Scottish Pompeii'. Our final stop is the highly ornate Italian Chapel on Lamb Holm. After a day of exploration, we take the overnight ferry and travel back to mainland Scotland.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 – Dunrobin Castle and Inverness

Arriving in Scrabster early this morning, we transfer to Dunrobin Castle, a fairytale stately home reminiscent of a French château with its white stone exterior, striking turrets and grounds inspired by the gardens of Versailles. There's free time to explore before we continue to Dornoch, a former royal burgh occupying a tranquil position on the coast. Here, you could visit the impressive cathedral, founded in 1224, or take a stroll along the golden sandy beach. Later, we transfer to Edinburgh via Inverness, where we board the Caledonian Sleeper Train to London Euston.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 7 – London

Disembarking in London after our overnight journey, our holiday draws to a close and you're free to make your way home.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

St Magnus Bay Hotel, Hillswick

St Magnus Bay Hotel, Hillswick

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Standing Stones Hotel, Stromness

Standing Stones Hotel, Stromness

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Train

Caledonian Sleeper

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Upgrades

UK Rail Connections

Reviews

3.8 stars3.8 / 5 · 41 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (11)
  2. 4 stars
    (16)
  3. 3 stars
    (9)
  4. 2 stars
    (4)
  5. 1 star
    (1)

Stuart Gammon

5 stars

Submitted 23/Jun

An excellent tour, with excellent guides, food and accommodation (apart from the Caledonian Sleeper). Great tour guides bringing to life ancient and more recent history, plus a visit to see and walk Shetland ponies. The only let down was the Caledonian Sleeper which was cramped and ye bunk beds were definitely not suitable for anyone with limited mobility; microwaved breakfast left a lot to be desired.

Collected by Trustpilot

A Hart

4 stars

Submitted 19/Jun

Disappointed with the Caledonian Sleeper, not as good an experience as expected. Otherwise the rest of the tour was well organised to show the beauty of Shetland and Orkney. The itinerary was interesting and surpassed my expectation.

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Karen Bowman

4 stars

Submitted 18/Jun

Very interesting and informative trip with an excellent tour leader and guides. A very well worked out itinerary. The only criticism is the Caledonian Sleeper especially the east coast service. The train was so noisy and the ride so jerky that many fellow passengers got little or not sleep. The cooked breakfast was virtually inedible. That is the only reason I awarded this tour 4 stars. Without the Caledonian Sleeper it would have been worthy of 5 stars.

Collected by Trustpilot

Roger Crowden

5 stars

Submitted 5/Jun

Fantastic holiday, fantastic tour guide, just The Magnus Bay hotel that wasn’t as good

Collected by Trustpilot

V Sowden

5 stars

Submitted 4/Jun

No no no no no

Collected by Trustpilot

John

5 stars

Submitted 28/May

Great journey, interesting guides: so much to see. But avid Frankie’s Fish and Chip lunch - part of the package but revolting food. Otherwise everything very good.

Collected by Trustpilot

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Orkney, Shetland and The Caledonian Sleeper

Discover the Scottish islands' charms in the most romantic way

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