Kirkwall
Sightseeing Tours

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Our most recommended Kirkwall Sightseeing Tours

From John O'Groats: Orkney Islands Day Trip

1. From John O'Groats: Orkney Islands Day Trip

Start the tour by boarding the ferry at John O'Groats. Take the 40-minute ferry crossing, keeping a lookout for marine wildlife including puffins and orcas on the way. When you arrive on Orkney, board a luxury coach which will be waiting for you to begin your tour of the island. As you set off, enjoy the commentary from a local guide. First, see the Churchill Barriers built during the First World War. Stop in Kirkwall which is Orkney's capital city and discover St Magnus Cathedral, shops, the museum, and the scenic harbor.  Continue along the northern coast of Scapa Flow and admire the beautiful views of the Hoy hills. Then, arrive in Stromness, one of Britain's most picturesque towns. Stroll through the winding street, visit the museum, and find plenty of places to eat lunch.  Next, set off for the neolithic village of Skara Brae, established in around 2,500 BC and which has been hidden under sand dunes, perfectly preserved for thousands of years. Follow the route onwards along a narrow tongue of land between the lochs of Harray and Stenness, making a stop at the mystical Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness. Finally, board the return ferry, and make a stop at the Italian Chapel which is beautifully decorated inside 2 Nissen huts. Return to John O'Groats with incredible memories of your excursion.

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From Inverness: 3-Day Orkney Explorer

2. From Inverness: 3-Day Orkney Explorer

Day 1: Explore Orkney’s ancient capital, Kirkwall After an early start leaving Inverness at 08:00, travel north through the Black Isle, past the imposing Dunrobin Castle, before crossing the Pentland Firth to the Orkney Isles. Stay in Kirkwall, the modern day capital of Orkney for 2 nights. Here, you can visit Kirkwall's magnificent Viking cathedral and its historic winding streets. Day 2: Follow in the footsteps of the Vikings as you travel through Orkney Today is your chance to explore the modern and ancient wonders of this fantastic island; a land of contrasts, where fertile green pastures are fringed by shores of golden sands washed by waters of the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Highlights include a visit to Skara Brae, the mystical prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar, the standing stones of Stenness and Maeshowe, where in the 12th-century the Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic inscriptions. Day 3: Travel through the history soaked regions of Caithness and Sutherland Have your last chance to grab some gifts for friends and family, and visit the local cathedral in Kirkwall. And after a ferry back to the mainland, travel through the history soaked regions of Caithness and Sutherland. Find out about the highland clearances, a world-changing period in Scotland’s dark history, and get a glimpse of some of Scotland’s most remote fishing villages. The tour will arrive back in Inverness early evening at approximitely 19:00.

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From Edinburgh: Orkney, Skye and the Far North 8 Day Tour

3. From Edinburgh: Orkney, Skye and the Far North 8 Day Tour

On day 1, travel through the Trossachs to Oban. This wide-ranging Highland and Islands tour starts by heading west through the beautiful scenery of Loch, Lomond and the Trossachs National Park to Kilmartin Glen. Here, you’ll be able to explore Scotland’s ancient past. With over 5,000 years of history laid out before you, you’ll be able to walk in the footsteps of the first Scots at Dunadd Hill Fort and the Temple Wood Stone Circle. Then stay overnight in Oban. On day 2, enjoy a day of high hills and history. It takes you through the haunting landscape of Glen Coe, past Ben Nevis - Britain’s tallest peak, and and stop Fort William. Taste the best seafood at Mallaig and cross over the sea to the Isle of Skye on the ferry for your second night. Stay overnight in Kyleakin. On day 3, enjoy a whole day to explore Skye’s beautiful landscape. Here the mountains and beaches beckon, so lose yourself amongst the spectacular scenery of the Cuillin Mountains, the slanting hills of Quiraing and the incredible Trotternish peninsula. Stay overnight in Kyleakin. On day 4, discover castles and mountains and then head to Loch Ness. Once you leave Skye the first stop is a visit to the idyllic Eilean Donan Castle. You then drive past the spectacular Torridon Mountains and through the stunning scenery of Glen Affric. Here you can stroll up to a beautiful waterfall, surrounded by ancient Caledonian forest. Then it’s on to your bed, near the fabled shores of Loch Ness. Enjoy an overnight stay in Drumnadrochit. On day 5, head over the sea to the Orkney Isles. Travel north via Inverness and the spectacular coastal scenery of the Moray and Cromarty Firths. Then board the ferry for the memorable trip to the mysterious and magical Orkney Isles. Once you arrive, you can take in the stunning scenery and start exploring. Visit the beautiful Italian Chapel, which was built by Italian prisoners of war. You’ll also see the famous Churchill Barriers – causeways that were constructed to protect the British naval fleet from submarines. Stay overnight in Kirkwall. On day 6, explore the ancient history of the Isles. From your base in Kirkwall, which boasts many craft and gift shops to enjoy, you’ll spend the whole of day six exploring the islands. This is a land full of ancient history and you’ll be able to take in prehistoric marvels such as the Maeshowe chambered cairn, the world-famous Neolithic village of Skara Brae and the brooding stone circles of Stenness and the Ring o’Brodgar. The day will finish with a visit to the beautiful St Magnus Cathedral. Stay overnight in Kirkwall. On day 7, head home via Inverness, Culloden and the Cairngorms. The last day starts with a ferry ride back to the mainland. Then you’ll get the chance to take in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands before staying overnight in Inverness. On day 8, as you head home, you’ll be able to visit the battlefield of Culloden, the site of the defeat of the Jacobite forces. You’ll also pass the stunning Cairngorm mountains and explore the picturesque town of Pitlochry.

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From Edinburgh: Orkney and The Far North 5-Day Tour

4. From Edinburgh: Orkney and The Far North 5-Day Tour

The 5-day tour from Edinburgh takes you on a discovery of the Scottish Highlands and the Orkney Islands. Heading north from Scotland’s capital city, you can admire the breathtaking scenery of the Scottish Highlands and explore the history of the Orkney Islands. On day 1, travel north to Loch Ness. The spectacular tour starts by heading west through the beautiful scenery of Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. The route then takes you through the haunting landscape of Glen Coe, the scene of the terrible massacre of the MacDonald Clan, and on through Fort William and the Great Glen to arrive at the fabled shores of Loch Ness. Stay overnight at Drumnadrochit. On day 2, head north via Inverness and the spectacular coastal scenery of the Moray and Cromarty Firths. Then, board the ferry for a memorable trip to the mysterious and magical Orkney Islands. Once you arrive, take in the stunning scenery and start exploring. Visit the beautiful Italian Chapel, which was built by Italian prisoners of war, as well as the famous Churchill Barriers – causeways that were constructed to protect the British naval fleet from submarines. Stay overnight at Kirkwall. On day 3, explore the ancient history of the islands. From your base in Kirkwall, which boasts many craft and gift shops to explore, spend the whole day exploring the islands. This is a land full of ancient history and you will be able to take in prehistoric marvels such as the Maeshowe chambered cairn, the world-famous Neolithic village of Skara Brae, and the brooding stone circles of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar. The day will finish with a visit to the beautiful St Magnus Cathedral. Stay overnight at Kirkwall. On day 4, return via Inverness, Culloden, and the Cairngorms. The last day starts with a ferry ride back to the mainland. Then you will get the chance to take in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands. Stay overnight in Inverness. On day 5, head back to Edinburgh. On the way, visit the battlefield of Culloden, the site of the defeat of the Jacobite forces. You will also pass the stunning Cairngorm Mountains and explore the picturesque town of Pitlochry.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Kirkwall

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What people are saying about Kirkwall

Fab trip, fab scenery and attractions and even fab weather on the main day. But what made it even more enjoyable was Kev, our driver and guide, who maintained a truly warm and pleasant ambience throughout with his good humour and patience, wit and wisdom. Kev is a veritable fount of knowledge and he delivers it with such a light touch that you never feel it's TMI. His personal anecdotes and local folklore add a further dimension to what is a truly spectacular and memorable trip. Thanks Rabbie's and Kev.

A very well organised trip , in a comfortable coach and with a very well informed driver, passionate about his home island, who kept us passengers engaged with his facts, figures and explanations. We visited the key places expected with good time slots to get a flavour of the history and life of the island. The boat trip across can be a little rough, but our day it was perfect. Possible sighting of cetacea was not to be for us sadly.

This tour is good value, the bus driver/tour guide was very friendly, helpful and informative. The Orkney Islands have an interesting history, the Neolithic Villge was spectacular.

Great crossing on the ferry,then the bus trip took us around the islands with the driver being a very good driver as well as tour guide, all in all a very enjoyable day.

Great trip, coach driver really informative and friendly. Very organised and plenty of time at places of interest. Amazing views. Highly recommend.